Phoenix in our rear-view mirror.

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Gardens in bloom at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

After our stay at Usery Mountain Regional Park, we headed to the west side of Phoenix to another Maricopa County Park, White Tank Mountain. Before leaving Usery Mountain, we made a day trip up into the Superstition Mountains to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  It was as lovely as our friends had mentioned.

There are a series of individual gardens here, including desert, legumes, cactus, butterfly and hummingbirds, a rose garden, succulents, and so many more.  Tucked into the valley below a formation called Magma Ridge, the arboretum is a peaceful and inspiriting place.

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Usery Mountain Regional Park – Tonto National Monument. Day 7 and 8.

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Another spectacular Arizona sunset here at Usery Mountain.

Day 7.  February 16.  Today was a joyful day of reunion. I went to the airport to pick up both Peter and his son Davis. Peter looked rested and sported a winter “cowboy” tan (just face and hands) from the sunny and bright time in Montana.  Davis looked happy to be in sunny Arizona after the snow and cold of New Hampshire.

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Usery Mountain Regional Park, Arizona – Day 4, 5, & 6

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The colorful chuparosa are in bloom here in the Sonoran desert.

Day 4.  February 13.   A coyote sauntered through the backyard this morning.  I had heard a pack howling a couple of nights ago, so I knew they were in the neighborhood. The desert is always full of surprises.  Today, I took a walk along the Nature Trail and discovered some new kinds of cacti. Some of the cactus are budding, and not yet flowering, so there were not as many hummingbirds as we have seen in the past when we have been in the Sonoran Desert in March. The chuparosa, also called hummingbird bush, was new to me and its beautiful red, tubular flowers are eye-catching along the trail.

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Usery Mountain Regional Park, Arizona – Day 1, 2, & 3

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This is the Sonoran Desert, with its beautiful saguaro cactus, seen here at sunset against Usery Mountain from our “backyard”.

February 9.  We arrived at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa, Arizona after a drive of 155 miles.  This officially completes our drive from Estero, Florida. The final totals:  Drove 2,689 miles and used 234 gallons of gas in the 12 nights on the road.  Plus, we discovered we still like each other and haven’t lost the “gypsy” in us after three months of staying put.

 

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