Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scratching the Surface of Silver Trophy

Auburn's all time leading scorer Wes Byrum exits the field after his game winning field goal as time expired.

Having the opportunity to attend a National Championship game is a once in a lifetime opportunity most people that few people have the experience to partake in. If someone told me that four years ago that I would be a senior at Auburn University and they would go on to have one of the most remarkable seasons in college football history and win a National Championship I would have called you crazy. I was fortunate enough to be able to see Auburn and Oregon play for a National Championship in Glendale, Arizona. Everyone who attended the game had a unique experience in the hours leading up to the game, the game itself and the period once the game ended. If at some point during the game there were not chills running down your veins then I question whether you appreciate college football. While these are emotions and feelings I will never forget, my most memorable feelings and moments that just make you appreciate everything God has given us came from my time in Arizona came away from the football field.

When I first began to make travel arrangements the thought did not even cross my mind that I would soon experience what I now consider the most uniquely diverse state in our Nation. Having traveled to many places across the World I do not think I had my expectations high enough for what I was about to take in for the next few days. Phoenix is mostly flat desert but once you get into various suburbs you start to discover its beauty. Their winter is magnificent as it brings pleasantly warm days and slightly cool nights.

Phoenix sunsets provide another intangible that you learn to appreciate about the state of Arizona.

Various mountains throughout the area offer peaceful hikes with spectacular views. Leave Phoenix and head North, through the rolling mountains into Flagstaff. A college, ski town with magnificent food and down to earth people. Head an hour North to one of the seven wonders of the world the Grand Canyon.

Never have I seen such topographical changes in such a short period of time. Five-minute drives would take you from beautiful red rock to snowy mountains. The middle of January and a pleasant sixty degrees without a cloud in the sky; I could get used to this. At the same time I was only a two hour drive from a well respected ski mountain. I now know why this is such a sought after place.

A morning hike through knee deep snow followed by an afternoon hike at Cathedral Rock, which offered views you never think you will experience in your lifetime.

With all the spectacular sights and places I had the opportunity to visit one thing that really stuck out to me. People in this state are active and love the outdoors. Their active lifestyle was really surreal to witness, as it seemed living in such a magnificent place just makes them want to pursue an active lifestyle. People are simply not lazy, they are fit and love to explore, my type of people. So while there were a few drinks to be had a few hours of talking smack to the Ducks before the game and the dreamlike experience of attending a game of such magnitude I gained much more out of this trip than I would have ever thought imaginable. While most people traveled home to their respective homes soaking in a National Championship I thought about the endless possibilities the state of Arizona offers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A "before" perspective to the Arizona people might not see outside Glendale

After numerous visits out West, I have fallen in love Utah, Wyoming and Montana. These three states are truly beautiful; not only do they offer great skiing in the winter but also their summers prove to be just as spectacular with surreal fishing, hiking and mountain biking. One state that I have always wanted to trek through is Arizona. With Auburn University playing for a BCS National Championship, it has bestowed that opportunity to take in this illustrious state. While I am no doubt enthused about the opportunity to watch first hand Auburn play for a National Championship I can honestly say I am equally as enthused to do some exploring in this great state. One great thing about the West is the lack of humidity in the air. While the common perception might be to think of this as advantageous in warm weather, it actually proves equally beneficial in the cold as it actually makes the air warmer. Arizona also provides areas of vast topographical differences. Phoenix, the capital city maintains the most suitable temperatures this time a year with pleasant sixty degree averages during the day while it cools off at night but is still pleasant. Flagstaff offers a ski mountain via a small ski town feel with fine dinning options. Sedona is one of the most unique places in Arizona with typically warmer temperatures and is known for its red rocks. The Grand Canyon is a third option available it stays very cold this time of year, with highs typically ranging in the thirty’s. Thus it is a great place for people like myself who will actually be able to with stand the cold and enjoy the lesser crowds. After exploring and doing the many unique places Arizona has it almost slips my mind that there is a football game to be played. The atmosphere should be surreal, as fans from Auburn and Oregon will both represent their respective Universities. This is what I look to gain out of my time in Arizona; experience one of the most unique geographical spots in the United States, and witness my school Auburn University have one of the most dominant historical seasons in college football history and cap it off with a BCS National Championship, a senior year to remember. The only thing could that could top this trap is some fresh Utah powder. Fortunately for me that is right around the corner. What is it they say? War Damn Eagle.