With but a few days left before I made the move from Tucson up to my dorm room and new “home” of Flagstaff, I was most certainly on a time crunch. There was so much to do and so many people to see that finding time for anything seemed nothing short of impossible. In the attempt to keep myself sane, every night I would go out on a walk or run in the beautiful desert areas surrounding my house without regard for time or light left or tasks to be accomplished when I returned from my excursion. When I ran, I didn’t really pay attention to the little details going on around me, but when I walked, and focused on taking everything in, I noticed so many breathtaking sites and innumerable memories flooded my head.
I would sit on top of a hill in the Arizona National Golf Course and watch the sunset over the mountains and realize as all the lights came on and the stars came into view that I still needed to get home. Something I noticed in the preparation for the moving process is how much more you appreciate things that you had before taken for granted when you know that you are about to lose them. Before I had enjoyed numerous sunsets, walks up Sabino Canyon and hours exploring the hidden corners of Tucson and hadn’t really thought much of it. It was standard and I suddenly realized that these would no longer be staples of my life. Then I remembered all of the fantastic things that Flagstaff has to offer and how I would be experiencing the diversity that Arizona offers and my excitement was restored.
The most amazing thing about Arizona, as I have come to discover over years in Tucson, summers in the White Mountains and now going on a month in Flagstaff, is its diversity. Every corner of the state holds a new climate, different vegetation and varied wildlife. You can go from looking at Indian artifacts in Tucson to shopping the stores of Phoenix to hiking the trails surrounding Flagstaff in only a few hours. The options are limitless and if you negate the fact that we lack a beach, Arizona has it all. I love when people come to visit and are astounded that we don’t get around on horses and all wear cowboy boots. They expect things like cactus and horses but are always taken aback by our advanced technology, elegant spas, country clubs, and abundance of pine forest. In being so dynamic, we provide an option for every taste.
This diversity is demonstrated beautifully by my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. We are a desert region and surrounded by mountains. In the summer, every pool is full of laughing children and protective parents with nights spent in movie theaters and eating dinner on outside decks. In addition, the Catalina Mountain Range is about a 45-minute drive to the top where Tucsonans go to escape the heat and enjoy picnics and hikes. Then in the winter you can partake in the snow that is dumped on the surrounding mountains, go to the zoo, or hike the trails in Sabino Canyon. You can actually do the last two things year-round but they are more enjoyable in the winter because the temperature isn’t ninety degrees by eight o’clock in the morning. I like to think of Tucson as containing all the wonderful parts of Arizona in one city and I know this because I have had the honor of traveling all over this wonderful state. I would spend most of my summers in the White Mountains assisting my uncle at his dog training camp. Numerous weekends were spent in Douglas and Bisbee visiting where my dad grew up. Saturday mornings would involve trips down to Benson or Sedona for breakfast with my best friend and her parents. Every February my choir would travel up to Flagstaff for Northern Arizona University’s Jazz and Madrigal Festival. It seems that no other state in the country has as many diverse activities as Arizona does.
I’ve had the pleasure of finding hidden meadows and canyon ridges, riding on horseback through open fields and running through corn fields and scaring up crows enjoying a snack. I’ve discovered that the best breakfast food can be found at the locally owned places, which I try to frequent as much as possible. I have no desire to repeat myself over and over but there really is nothing like an Arizona sunset and sunrise from the rim of the Grand Canyon. In addition, whether it is from my perch on the golf course or looking out the window of my dorm room, I am enchanted with the amazing state of Arizona that I was fortunate enough to have been raised in.