Just outside Payson, AZ lies Camp Tontozona. Owned by ASU, it used to be the Sun Devils' summer football camp (until this summer, when the new practice bubble/facility was opened up).
Camp Tontozona was special because it gave the team a chance to bond and break away from the 115 degree days in the Phoenix sun. Payson is historically cooler, and this Saturday will be a high of 90. The Devils will be making a one day, one night trip to the old practice grounds to simulate the travel of a road game.
On Saturday, ASU is scheduled to scrimmage among the pines that have framed their fall workouts for nearly five decades. The plan: Up one day, back the next and come Sunday morning.
Arizona State's website has a small explanation of what "Camp T" is all about.
Cresting over the hill on Highway 260 just outside of Payson, AZ, Camp T offers beautiful scenery, bountiful hiking trails and unrivaled natural beauty; creating a colorful and harmonious getaway to renew your spirit any time of the year. Whether you're seeking family fun, a romantic weekend, an outdoor adventure or simply some quiet time, a spectacular experience awaits you. Camp T offers comfortable lodging, meeting facilities and warm hospitality.
Apparently, it is a great place for the outdoorsy type. Not, however, a great place for a bunch of football players who enjoy the amenities of the civilized world. But in the end, the practices held up there had to have been a great bonding experience, and most likely held less distractions (no girls, no computers).
In the end, the Devils are losing a storied tradition. The introduction video where Sparky walks from Payson to Tempe may have to be altered, sadly.
We will let the results of the season judge this for us. If we head to the Rose Bowl, Camp Tontozona is good as gone in the minds of every Sun Devil fan. If Rudy comes down with tennis elbow and we go 6-6, watch out.