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Day Trip to Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Happy 2018! I’m a little late to the game, but the last 3-4 weeks were a doozy for me. From back problems to the flu I’ve spent little time outside enjoying the best season to live in Arizona and more time on the couch feeling sorry for myself. But then I saw that Arizona State Parks were FREE to AZ residents for Martin Luther King weekend, so I hopped to my feet, slipped on my new New Balance, and dragged my family to a place I’ve wanted to go for a long time now. Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ.

Hiking the High Trail at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

We couldn’t have picked a better weekend to visit Arizona’s oldest botanical garden. The weather was perfect, in the low 70’s, and there were so many tall shady trees and a light breeze. It was a really nice break from Phoenix desert life where there’s literally not an ounce of shade, and only an hour and 20 minutes away. My only regret; forgetting the backpack of snacks in the car.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Greenhouse

Rylie explores the cactus in the Boyce Thompson greenhouse

What can I say about this greenhouse? So dreamy. Can I get one of these in my yard? Natural light, old stone and greenery. I’m in love.

Desert color at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Barrel cactus at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Something I’ve learned along the way is that if you tell a kid they are going on an adventure, no matter how boring it is, they’ll find fun in it. You could be going to the post office to mail a letter to a great and foreign land, or going on a hike to search for the first signs of spring. We always like to search for color on our hikes, and when the Arizona winter turns to spring the colors are beautiful and plenty!

We also like to search for clean bathrooms with running water. I’m happy to report that Boyce Thompson has both.

Ayer Lake in Superior Arizona

“I’ll adventure with you today mom, but tomorrow no adventures. I’m booked.” Birthday parties take priority over family adventures, apparently. She was just using this time to “get some exercise and a good night’s sleep.”

6 year old iPhone photographer

My mini. I love that she shares my love of photography, but, could I get my phone back please? I’d share her walking tour of the place but you’d get dizzy. Literally, she spun the camera in circles to make the video dizzying.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior Arizona

 

Bridge to High Trail at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

We hiked the High Trail which wasn’t a steep incline and was a perfect first hike for my new and improved back. Rylie is a pretty experienced hiker and I’d like to say this is an easy hike for a six year old, but you definitely need to keep an eye on your kiddos. The trail itself isn’t steep but it’s narrow with occasional areas that have a drop on the side. There were also a few rocky patches that she needed a little help navigating. Once she got a good side step down she was good to go.

Javelinas at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

I’m fascinated with javelinas, but this guy started huffing and puffing at us so we were all, peace out. Plus do you see his two larger family members in the back? No thanks friends, moving on.

Relaxing at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

We took in our last rays of sun around 4:00 and then headed back to the valley with a quick dinner stop at Joe’s Farm Grill and filled our bellies with their tasty garlic fried green beans.

I can’t wait to visit Boyce Thompson again when the flowers are in bloom, hummingbirds are out and I have more snacks. Because it’s hard to have fun with a loud kid and no snacks.

After our next visit I’ll share pictures of the 1915 house we like to call the Blair Witch House, the cowboy camp we found and the children’s garden. There’s JUST. SO. MUCH. Honestly, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in!

Skate Rising – Too Cool for Phoenix Heat

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

Have you heard the news? It’s hot in Phoenix. Like, airplanes can’t fly in the sky hot. Like, plastic garbage can melting, fry an egg on the sidewalk hot.

But even with extreme heat warnings, girls from all over Phoenix are still coming out to 91 West, an indoor skatepark, for Skate Rising’s service project and FREE skateboard clinic on the third Saturday of each month!

In the past two months Skate Rising Phoenix has donated 84 lbs. of food to St. Mary’s Food Bank AND 123 hygiene kits and thank you cards to homeless veterans.

Skate Rising is Exposure Skate’s community program for girls between the ages of 4 and 18 years old which teaches compassion through service and empowerment through skateboarding. Always a FREE event, Skate Rising takes place the second Saturday of each month in Encinitas, California, and the third Saturday of each month in Peoria, AZ.

These girls may be small, but they are making a BIG difference in their community, learning valuable lessons, and they’re having fun doing it with friends.

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

Shortly after a news segment aired on the needs of St. Mary’s Food Bank, Skate Rising announced that their May event would support them with a food drive. Thirty girls came out to skateboard with food donations in hand, making it Phoenix’s biggest event yet!

There was delicious food sponsored by Flower Child, Raffles, MyIntent Bracelet making with Ivivva, and Kelsey from Alive Fitness and Wellness talked to the girls about doing all things with intention.

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

After the event a few girls came together to make the delivery to the food bank. Not only was it a great experience seeing where all the food is stored, the kids had a blast standing on the giant scale they weight the donations on, taking photos popping out of boxes, and they even let us take a quick skate run down their loading dock!

As we rolled into June the temperatures soared to nearly 122 degrees. IT WAS HOT! The hottest it’s been since I moved to Phoenix. People all over the valley were dragging their feet, the air was heavy and getting in your car seemed like the worst possible idea.

Still, supportive parents and passionate kids came out to skate, create thank you cards for the veterans and donate personal care products for the US Veterans Initiative.

It was a small but fun event that ended in a game of limbo! There was food from Holi Kid’s Meals, raffles, and of course a whole lot of skating.

Photo: Trisha Gulbin, Still Rad

With a whole lot of help from the community and from Backpacks 4 Kidz, Skate Rising provided 123 hygiene kits for homeless and transitioning veterans in Phoenix.

A few days later, two car-loads of hygiene kits and two very eager girls paid a visit to the veterans and took a tour of their facility which was once a hotel but now provides free and affordable housing to homeless veterans. Here they can also find financial advice, job placement services, mental health counseling, and preparation for independent living.

The next Skate Rising event in Phoenix is happening on July 15. My Grey Matterz will be sharing skateboard safety tips and the event will benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital. For complete event details visit exposureskate.org or follow Skate Rising on Facebook and Instagram.