2021 Superior to Holbrook – A Southwest Odyssey

Dear Maia and Isaac,

Today, I missed Maizzy. I know it was her time and all of that, but today we went places that she and I went to together before I had other dogs. I felt like her spirit was with us as we headed to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior. When I was looking at the map to figure the trip out, I saw the Tonto National Monument in the Sonora Desert and thought that would be a great adventure. I was looking for a motel close and realized the Arboretum was not too far.

Agave in bloom today

Maizzy and I first happened on the Arboretum on a day when we had just escaped some Phoenix traffic jam (2015, I think) and the sign caught my eye. That was in March – spring break was earlier for me those years. I remember the big plant sale – I filled my hatchback (I don’t have that much room left) and most of those plants are alive and well. I also remember walking Maizzy around in her pack because it was warm.

Maizzy visiting the Arboretum in 2016 – our first visit here

Today was warmer and Sazi was the one in the carrier. The terriers, Kachina and Moki, were content to explore the pathways. Moki had a blast rolling in the dirt until he was gritty.

Moki, Kachina and Sazi at Boyce Thompson Arboretum today

They have every desert habitat in the world represented at the Arboretum. It is fun to see all the different plants. Some were still in bloom, others had obviously just bloomed. When Maizzy and I went it was lit up with blooms in March.

Prickly Pear cactus in bloom today

We wandered through the habitats for an hour or so. Then, I bought a couple desert plants before we left. I was glad we stopped – I would come back, again, if we are in the neighborhood.

Yellow Prickly Pear bloom

Then, we headed back up the Colorado Plateau through the Salt River Valley – one of my favorite AZ drives. The switchbacks use to scare me – now they are just cool.

Salt River Canyon

It is a little chilling to me that it was the day after we drove that drive that I got noravirus in 2019. I was sooo sick in that hotel. I can’t believe I tried to go to Petrified Forest. I tried to get out of the car and walk the dogs and only made it like 5 feet before I had to sit down. I took 1 picture – all I wanted to do is get to the motel in the next town and sleep. That was sad to me because the Petrified Forest is a special place that has been a frequent stop on our road trips. The year before, 2018, there was a horrible windstorm the day we were there. We did all the stops but something about 50 MPH winds . . .

Salt River Canyon

I still remember the first time Maizzy and I stopped there – a woman asked me why I brought my pig to a national park. LOL – poor Maizzy could look like a pig in her more chubby days. We always stopped for ice cream at the visitors center. I hope it is open tomorrow. I can take Kachina, Sazi and Moki for a treat. Another day of Maizzy memories lies ahead.

Salt River Canyon

Love, GMH

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