Arizona is VERY diverse. Politics is an example. In the north, around Flagstaff, liberal politics are the norm. The same is true in the south, around Tucson, while most, but definitely not all of the middle of the state embraces conservative values. So much for that.
Most areas of the state enjoy a view of the mountains. It’s difficult to find a location where one cannot see peaks in the distance, if not up close. For that reason, there are areas in the south that are cooler than places farther north. Even though Tucson has quite a few cacti, it is cooler than the Phoenix area farther north, sometimes broadly referred to as “The Valley”. Speaking of valleys, let’s not forget The Grand Canyon. Red rock formations can be found in many areas of the state, including IN and around some cities. The varieties of cacti are huge (60 species) and they exist to some extent over a large swath of the state. I would mention the names, but most, other than Saguaro, would be unfamiliar to many readers. Varieties of evergreens are everywhere, including the world’s largest Ponderosa Pine forest.
As one might expect with such varied terrain, sports opportunities are numerous as well. We have tall mountains (Humphreys Peak is 12,633 ft.) and the lowest point is along the Colorado River in the southwest, at about 70 ft. Name an outdoor sport and it is possible, from snow skiing to dune buggy racing. I have driven my Jeep off-road in many places around the state (seems like a sport to me). I included a couple of photos in an article in this series, on off-road driving.
I could go on and on providing examples of Arizona’s diversity and not even begin to touch many important points. The people are an example: Native Americans, Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, Asians, young and old, folks relocated from all over, to this land filled with wonderful sights, and of course tourists from EVERYWHERE. I suppose this is beginning to sound like a tourist advertisement of some sort, but the truth is that it’s difficult to not sound like a promotional piece while describing Arizona.
The wildlife is incredible. In and around our small town, there are an unbelievable number of different creatures. We have cattle and horse ranches. In our neighborhood I have seen thousands of small lizards over the years, a good thing because they eat insects and we have plenty, some Coyotes, Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls, Roadrunners, Vultures/Buzzards, Red Tailed Hawks and ALL the more common birds that one might expect (my favorites being Quail and Hummingbirds). We have also seen endangered Mexican Gray Wolves, Javelinas (like a wild boar), and although I haven’t seen one, Mountain Lions in the nearby mountains.
One day my wife, in a somewhat panicked state, pointed out a snake that looked a lot like a poisonous Coral Snake on our kitchen counter. Yeah, REALLY! How the hell a snake got in the house, let alone on the counter, I have no idea. I looked it up and found it was just a harmless look-alike, but nevertheless a shock for us. We let it go outside. Due to climate change and pollution, we don’t see as many bats and toads as we used to.
We also have tarantulas, SOME varieties of which are not especially scary. Our son picked one up one day and held it for a minute or two - no problem. I would not suggest picking up a Scorpion or Centipede though. Bunnies, Jackrabbits, squirrels, and moles are everywhere.
Arizona is surrounded by (starting in the south and going clockwise) Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado (the corners touch) and New Mexico. So Arizona ranges from low to high altitude, from desert to evergreen forest; from completely rural to densely packed cities; from liberal to conservative; and you will find all kinds of wildlife in very surprising places.
The Navaho Reservation in the northeastern part of Arizona and also occupying parts of Utah and New Mexico, is larger than West Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island or the territory of Puerto Rico. It is almost as large as the last five of these listed states added together (New Hampshire through Rhode Island). The Navaho Nation deserves to be considered as a separate and important entity for reasons other than just it’s expansive size. For more information on the Navaho Nation, please see the link listed in the Resources below.
The climate where I live, a little northwest of the center of the state, is generally mild: Winters not too cold, summers not as hot as some other areas, spring is nice but windy, and so fall is my favorite.
RESOURCES - Check these websites for more information on Arizona: