Saturday, 22 February 2014

Groom Loop Trail & Desert Botanical Gardens

After (sadly) leaving the climbing in Red Rocks we travelled further south and spent a couple nights in Prescott, Arizona. We'd driven through here on a previous trip and liked what we saw so decided to explore a bit further by hiking the Groom Loop Trail in the Prescott National Forest. The trail is about 15 km and goes to the top of Spruce Mountain.
From the fire lookout on Spruce Mountain.
We found a really nice little restaurant, El Gato Azul, which had a long list of vegetarian tapas. The bonus was a really great jazz band playing the night we were there. I'm guessing the band members were in the 60 - 70 age range. They had cello, drums, piano and a guy playing two different types of flutes, one of which we'd never seen before. The woman playing the piano was fantastic and part way through the first set, a man took her place. We wondered what we were in for as he hobbled over to  the piano, stooped over, wearing old jeans and a ball cap on top of his curly grey dishevelled hair. Well, we were in for more of a treat as his fingers absolutely flew over the keyboard! Never judge a book by its cover!

From there we headed to Apache Junction to my dad & step-mom's place (after stopping at REI in Tempe, of course!). We went to the Desert Botanical Gardens where there was a Chihuly glass exhibit. Elaine suggested going late afternoon so that we could see the exhibit during the day and again at night. Great suggestion as the lighted displays were quite beautiful.
Crazy glass and sunshine.
My Dad and the blue starburst.
During the day.
And lit up as night was falling.
A giant tower of glass balloons.
This Teddy Bear Cholla is not one you want to cuddle up with!
Fire in the gardens!

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