It’s May 3, 2016. This is my 22nd trip around the sun, and what a perfect birthday week it has been.
We arrived back in Golden, CO yesterday and I believe our souls are full and humble. Supai, AZ is like nothing else in this country. I have plenty of pictures to show but honestly, it does no where near the justice of what we saw with our own eyes.
My feet are blistered, face is burnt, and muscles are weak. Oh, but it was so worth it. The trek was 10 miles total; from the top of the Grand Canyon to our campground. But between those two, you will find multiple, turquoise-blue waterfalls, the Havasupai tribe, stray dogs begging for snacks, and herds of horses trekking up and down the canyon.
We left our hotel before sunrise, the closest hotel to the edge of the canyon is an hour and a half away and we wanted to start our hike early. We got to the top of the canyon at sunrise and started our trek down! It was a surprisingly nice hike that went fast, 8 miles later we arrived at Supai, the village where you check in (and the only place in the U.S. where they still get mail by Pony Express!). Literally the only way to get to this place is by horse, hiking, or helicopter. By the time we were at the village, our body was starting to feel the 30lb packs on us, and knowing how close we were, our bodies were aching. The village was adorable, all sand/dirt roads, stray dogs, horses everywhere, and villagers roaming about. I would say 99% of the villagers were very generous and kind, but you could tell some of them were tired of all these tourists in their home 🙂 Understandable. We now had 2 more miles to hike until we reached our campground. Water was starting to be noticeable along our path, gorgeous blue creeks surrounded by deep-green leaves, it was breathtaking already.
Our group was definitely slowing down our pace, we were getting antsy to see the different falls, but man, were we gettin’ tired. Luckily, on the way to our campground, we got to see 3 different major waterfalls.
There were Fifty Foot Falls, Little Navajo, and the infamous Havasu Falls. All breathtaking, but we knew in order to enjoy the water we had to set up camp and get rid of those ridiculously heavy packs. So we made it to the campground, found the perfect site between two creek-beds, and set up. We had a tent & two hammocks for lounging. Luckily, a couple days before we left for AZ, we packed the tent (originally planned on sleeping in the hammocks), and thank goodness we did because we had a lot of rain showers while we were there. I loved the campground setup, you could pretty much choose anywhere to set your tent, picnic tables everywhere, cute tiny bridges to cross to different sites, beauty everywhere.
We arrived at our camp at around 10:30am, and since it was going to be the best day with weather, we utilized the day. Checking out all the falls we passed, dipping our feet in, soaking up the sun. It was perfect weather, the water was a bit chilly since it was in the mid 70s, but nevertheless, we enjoyed it. Our meals consisted of freeze-dried food we added boiling water to, surprisingly, it was pretty good. We suggest Mountain House brand of rice & chicken. It tasted amazing! Their eggs were pretty good too, just not as flavorful.
The next day was pretty gloomy to start. Rain showers on and off, but nothing too heavy so we set out on another trek to the last two waterfalls of the area. That’s another 2 miles of hiking. The first was Mooney Falls. We were a little surprised with this one, you had to scale down the waterfall (you start from above it) through caves, steep, wet ladders, and metal rails. Let’s just say this was the scariest part of the trip. It was unexpected, and with it being rainy already, the mist from the waterfall, and the steepness of the wall, it was very dangerous.
But, alas! We did make it to the bottom and it was magical! It looks like Havasu Falls but even bigger! Mooney Falls: check! Now another 2 miles of hiking in the ‘jungle’ to Beaver Falls.
I honestly felt like we were in the jungle, going through forests, following the creek, then leading out to an open canyon of greenery. It was breathtaking (how many times can I use that adjective in this post? Well, it’s needed!). I couldn’t believe this oasis was in the bottom of the desert-y Grand Canyon! It took some time (and more ladders) but we eventually arrived to Beaver Falls! Reminded me of Little Navajo & Fifty Foot Falls, but it was worth the hike.
Can you believe this place really exists? Those are all the falls, and I know these pictures don’t do Havasupai justice, but I wanted to make a post for anyone interested in doing this trip. I didn’t want to make a ‘guide’ post for the trip, but anyone with questions/advice – please feel free to ask! There were many things we glad we packed – like a tent, comfortable hiking shoes, water shoes, and water bladders. And things we regretted bringing – too many clothes and chairs for our campsite.
This was by far the most mentally & physically challenging experience I’ve ever had. It requires heavy planning, preparation, and positive thinking. When the weather is not perfect, when your blisters are forming mid-hike, or the squirrels steal all your food (yes, we saw that happen), you need a positive mind to keep going and have fun. After all this hiking to the campground, to all the waterfalls, and then back up the canyon after your stay is done, you will be drained. Our hike back up the canyon was definitely the hardest part of the trip. Tears may have fallen during that last stretch up the canyon wall to the hilltop (only from me of course). I’ve never experience that type of cardio & I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. But, we did it. We made it to the top. We finished the hike. And I’ve never felt such accomplishment. There’s beauty in backpacking, its raw. You’re off the grid, you’re eating food that isn’t nearly as good at back home, and you’re sleeping outside. You’re out of your elements. But that’s why backpacking is needed for everyone, to get out of your element. It changes you, it changes your perspective, and it makes you a better person – down to your soul. I loved every single thing about this trip, and I believe the rest of the group would say the same. I hope everyone gets a chance to visit Havasupai.
until next time,