So its new years eve and while we are not going out partying or anything outlandish like that, we have planned a nice quiet dinner with Tom & Kathleen Anderson, this evening in our Clam®. I had put the Clam® up for our Christmas Dinner with the Andersons about a week ago and we have had some windy and rainy days since then, in fact the wind had actually pulled one of the anchors from the ground allowing one of the sides to snap in (collapse), but after that bit of rain I was able to reset that anchor only a little deeper this time. And just like the rest on the continent we here in Arizona are experiencing cooler than average temperatures right now so I also moved our Big Buddy propane heater into the Clam® just to take the chill out of the air, so when we got together for cocktails at around four o’clock with the intention to have dinner near five o’clock it was warm and cozy.
Well one thing led to another and lets just say that dinner was a little later than planned, that was not a problem, as it was basically a one dish meal served over rice, and Miss Laurie had made lots and we filled up on a yummy dinner, enjoyed some wine, and even had a little champagne to toast in the New Year, there has also beautiful sunset that evening, but I was too comfortable to get up and take a picture. We finished our beverages and enjoyed the company till almost seven o’clock when we said good night and we headed back to our coaches. Now we had no intention of trying to seeing Midnight or the New Year until some time the next morning but we did stay up to catch up on some of the YouTube videos that we were behind on watching, before turning in for the evening just before ten o’clock. I did hear some noise from the other host volunteers returning home, but I really don’t even know what time that was.
So the New Year found its way here without any help from either Miss Laurie or myself, but we had to get up reasonably early the next morning as we had a volunteer shift in the visitor center, the Arboretum is only closed for three holidays a year and New Years Day is not one of them, in fact the actual paid staff was very limited so we were tapped to cover the admissions booth from 9 till 4, but before we had even got to the visitor center the rain had already started. Now we were just got back from seven weeks in the Mexico Baja where we had warm temperatures and no rain, and while I also understand how important any rain is here in the southwest desert, which is experiencing a twenty year drought. Then keeping in mind that the average rain fall for Superior Arizona in December is 1.38″ and in January 1.14″ is the average. In December of 2022 the arboretum received over 3″ and we have received over an inch is the last 24 hours of January, alone with a lot more rain in the forecast for the rest of this week.
The Arboretum has some 135 acres of gardens with over 6000 varieties of plants and trees, today I had a steady stream of phone calls to ask if we were open, and if it was raining here? The calls were getting almost hilarious with one of the common question being, is there thing to do indoors at the Arboretum? And other than a couple of small refurbished greenhouses, and the gift shop being enclosed, it is a 135 acre garden! The total of visitors today was a pitiful 52, but stop and consider the fact that it was cold (45°F/7°C) it rained all day, only the intensity of the rain varied through out the day, and as different areas of the Arboretum became water logged the staff were closing trails as required. So by days end the High Trail was closed, the west end of the Wallace Garden trail was closed because of Queen Creek running over the path, and by three o’clock the Silver King Wash had enough water flowing to require the closing of the Main Arboretum Trail, requiring people to access the east side of the Arboretum via the Bill Benson foot bridge, but people still were willing to pay the $19 entry fee just to see a very wet Arboretum.
Now when you stop and consider that on an average day we check in more than 60 visitors with in the first hour, 52 over eight hours becomes a very long day. Although I was able to brush up on some of the new prices for memberships, and also got a chance to review the new reciprocity agreement amongst, over three hundred other members of the horticultural society, heck it even includes some of the gardens way back in Ontario. Reciprocity was something that was a real common question at the ticket booth last year, so with the raise in membership prices as well as general admission rate, it has been added to the membership package as a benefit, and it officially started today. Amazingly enough it was not an issue in todays 52 visitors, but I’m sure it will be an issue by Thursday, which is our next shift.
The photos above were snapped around the Arboretum on Monday morning, and Queen Creek was still running strong today, in fact it may be running for a couple more days if all the forecasted rain actually gets here. The first two photos are looking at Queen Creek both east and west from on the suspension bridge, then a couple of cactus photos with the creek flowing in the back ground, and the last photo is of the walkway in the Wallace Garden and the creek flowing over it.
Wow there have been lots of changes that have taken place since we left here last May, and I will get to those as the weeks roll by. We have a different campsite this year, and as great at the view we had last year this one is even better, and we have moved further away from the laundry/washroom, which was a generator of much noise last year with the door constantly slamming every time some one entered or departed. This site our patio area is much more private than last year, as we overlooked the common area, we have met most of the other host volunteers, and it will take a while to get to know everybody, but it has been great to reconnect with the Andersons.
And I promise to get past this whinny spell and back to enjoying the outstanding views and our adventures as we progress into the New Year. And as I’m finishing up this blog, the rain has stopped, the sun is shinning, but the skies to the north still look like snow clouds, we are going to see the new Avatar movie tomorrow, as well as a visit to the nearby Costco for supplies.
Be well, stay warm, and don’t camp in a wash!