I envy the people who dedicate their lives to nature and spend their days immersed in the beauty of places such as Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Located on Hwy 60, next to the old mining town of Superior, AZ, this is a lovely way to spend the day.
Naturally, we came to see the birds. Ric, having just purchased a new lens for his camera, was anxious to give it a trial run. I, not having recovered from Sedona, wasn’t feeling quite so ambitious. Three bus loads of school children running noisily around the place made us wonder if we’d made the right choice. We played dodge the children for a bit before finding a corner of the site that was undisturbed by boisterous ten-year-olds.
The park is divided into different sections, honouring select natural habitats. We started our tour along the Australian trail where huge eucalyptus trees graced the property. Displays of Australian artifacts, including an outback shack, are scattered through the area, which seemed to be the most popular with the visiting students, so we moved on.
The cactus gardens here are beautifully done, the walkways lined with rocks, and the feel of the desert well replicated. Some of the cacti had blossomed, which attracted my lens, and the sheer variety of plants was interesting. As with most of the nature reserves we’ve visited, there were plenty of benches set up along the way to rest and enjoy the views, so Ric sat while I wandered.
At the top of a hill we found the Lake Ayer trail, a lovely, quiet spot where we could sit and contemplate the water and mountains and the few waterfowl who graced our presence.
Just beyond the lake I found a shade and an abundance of bird life. A small blue bird was rustling about in a bush when I arrived, but of course, as I hurried to set up my camera, he got away. Another little bird caught my attention and as I turned I caught sight of a small, chipmunk-like creature, likely the Harris’ antelope squirrel. It was also too quick for me.
Ric joined me and our cameras started clicking, trying to capture at least some of the prolific activity surrounding us. I did capture a great shot of the phainopepla and the cardinal, but was really not feeling well enough to do much more.
Tired and hungry, we left the arboretum early, agreeing to come back after lunch. Unfortunately, lunch did me in, so we did not manage to return.
Boyce Thompson does have a picnic area for those who want to lunch on site, and the fee for entry is $12.95 per person. There is also an extensive gift shop, and plants for sale.