Today we visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Purchased tickets in advance, brought water bottles, wore hats and masks, and socially distanced as we strolled the gardens in amazement.

Upon arrival, I had the thought to ask if the restaurant was open for lunch and was told it was and that a reservation was recommended. Reservation made, we began to explore.

We walked every trail and followed the winding paths as we soaked in the warm sunshine. There were too many types of cacti and succulents to recall. The desert and butte views were definitely a favorite, as well as, the simple ancient Indian dwellings, corral and shelters that have been recreated. The interpretative trails highlighted the species and we tried to remember the names, saguaro, barrel, golden barrel, old man, cardon, and organ to name just a few. There were several varieties of agave and aloe. We caught glimpses of pheasants, cactus wrens were abundant and Costa’s hummingbirds posed for us.

I should note here that I opted to not bring my camera and rely on my iPhone 12 for photos. The good and bad of it is that the phone is lighter, I would have taken many more photos with the camera, and the phone photo quality doesn’t compare with the camera. Next time, I’ll take the camera!

Trails and areas we walked and discovered: Wildflower Loop, Herb Garden Desert Living Trail, Discovery Loop, cactus and succulent galleries, heritage garden and the plants and people of the Sonoran Desert Trail.

Just before noon we found our way to the gift shop where I found the most adorable “fair trade” handmade cactus Christmas ornaments. Can you guess that a shift is coming from a beach to a southwest theme?

Lunch followed at Gertrude’s where the menu was different with offerings of tofu, green chili burgers, Korean chicken thighs, duck enchiladas and lamb curry. We played it safe and went with a delicious bacon cheeseburger with aioli sauce.

Afterwards we found our way back to the Sonoran Desert Nature Trail to complete the day.

It was a beautiful day… sunny and warm. Enjoy the photos, and may you stay safe and find peace this Thanksgiving.

Dorothy & Ken

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