Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Goldfield Ghost Town
Our first destination was Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park and it completely blew our mind. My expectations were based on visiting the Sahara desert in Egypt back in 2007, but that place was nothing like it with a very rich landscape and flora. Located in the Sonoran desert it is surrounded by mountains and home to a variety of lush desert gardens.
We were there during spring and the park was very vibrant and most of the wildflowers were blooming. Cactuses and succulents that we are used to seeing in small pots at home are huge and all very different. We spent a good time hiking around the park, taking our time to enjoy its beauty and great weather.
Next, we went to Goldfield Ghost Town. Back in the 1890′s, it was a real gold mining town with 1,500 residents, but quickly ran out of gold ore and found itself dying. Now it’s rebuilt as a tourist destination with an authentic-looking setting from an old western movie with a saloon, brothel, and city jail. Cowboys and city sheriff were walking around, starting fast draw gunfights. After enjoying some ice cream with a great view on the Superstition Mountains we went back to the hotel to get a quick power nap before going out for dinner.
We wanted to visit downtown Phoenix, so Derek made a dinner reservation at Cibo Urban Pizzeria. After enjoying a great dinner we went for a walk around the area, but on Saturday night the city felt completely deserted as a true ghost town, unlike Goldfield. While that felt normal for locals it was quite shocking for us. In Phoenix, people work in downtown but then go home elsewhere, so there is not much nightlife or dining scene. Returning to the differences between Philadelphia and Phoenix, it’s impossible to imagine Center City or Old City in Philadelphia that quiet on a weekend night.
That night we said goodbye to Derek and his family as next morning we were continuing the trip on our own. Next destination was Grand Canyon with a very important stop on the way.