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Project 602 - A Return to Havasupai Falls
Project 602
(The ramblings of a madman)
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A Return to Havasupai Falls
Posted - Jul 14th, 2014 8:13pm
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I remember a few years ago talking about the trip to Havasupai with my wife Tara.  The conversation went something like: 'No way in hell!'.

So it was with some surprise and with utter gratitude to our friend Veronica who really provided the final push, that last week I found myself driving once again to the edge of the Grand Canyon to make the long hike down to Havasupai Falls.

To her credit, Tara has been preparing for this both physically and mentally since about March.  We've been going on longer and longer hikes, buying supplies, and reading up on the trip since I had apparently forgotten much of what I learned to get there the first time.

We decided to stay the night before in Peach Springs at the Supai Lodge.  Long story short - big mistake.  Between the stench of lysol, the constant trains, and the early morning game of "dodge the elk" on the drive to the hilltop, we arrived pretty wiped out.  Fortunately we were in good company.  McCoy, Verionica, Hunter, Cupp, and our latest addition PJ were all just getting up when we got there ~5am.

I know Tara was tired and nervous, but she really handled the trip down well.  Its a long hike and if you haven't been before, its really hard to know what to expect.  Havasupai Falls is not like any other place I've been.  Theres no roads, no cars, mail comes in on a mule, and while they have a helicopter, it doesn't always run and theres a 10 mile hike between you and the nearest air-conditioner.  Pretty rough when its 100 degrees out every afternoon.

It was every bit as beautiful as I remembered though, and getting to share that with my wife was one of the best experiences of my life.  Sure - I didn't sleep for crap for a week, and yes it was hot and humid every single night.  It was worth it though - just to get to swim with her in the falls and hike down the river together.  Its so remote, and unhindered by so much as a guardrail that it feels like your the first person to find this place.  Every hipsters dream ;)

We found a wonderful campsite just north of Mooney Falls and were joined by Scott, Julie, her dad Rudy and their friend Kelly.  It was a wonderful group and for four days we explored, swam, ate, and hiked until we basically collapsed each night.  It rained a little which was fun, and we were warned of a flash flood which wasn't so fun - we had to haul ass back up Mooney falls only to find out hours later that it was just a little muddy water to come.

I don't know if this will be our only/last trip there.  I can't imagine getting Tara to hike down Mooney falls again but I suppose I couldn't imagine being there a few years ago.  I'm just really glad that we made it there and back again and that I finally got to share it with her.

Thanks to everyone for making it such a wonderful journey - lots of pics below and I'll hopefully post a few videos from McCoys new GoPro soon.  Oh and in case I'm reading this a few years from now: Bring extra water on the way up - at least 100oz per person.  If it wasn't for the enterprising lady in the parking lot selling ice-cold drinks we may have simply turned to sand when we finally got back to the car.
The ritual 5am group photo.  Tara started off all fresh and excited.  I was pretty exicted too - though you'll notice how small that backpack is this time :)  We begin the long hike after the initial descent.  McCoy sees his first solid proof that aliens exist. And we dodge some donkeys.  Hunter asks 'Are we there yet?' Ummm.... maybe? Wohoo - we reach the village!  Which hasn't changed much despite apparently being nearly washed away in late 2010. We exit the village and round the corner to get our first 2014 glimpse of Lower Navajo Falls.  So much greener than just a few years before! Heres a similar shot from my 2009 trip. I all but skip across the bridge to the campground and Havasupai falls.  Cold water here I come!!!  Tara and I stop for a much needed break at the top of the campgrounds overlooking Havasu falls.  We stopped for some water before setting up camp.  They've changed the spring a little bit - much easier to use now. We decided to call this home for the next few days.  Er... well some folks decided to call it a yoga studio for the next few days.  And I kinda called this my dog for the next few days.  Havasupai is actually full of critters. This is your friendly neighborhood skink. These are the rare river cats of Havasupai.  I tied an apple to some string and invented a new sport. It really wiped me out. We all hung out at camp each night. McCoy provided the musical entertainment. Julie and Kelly proved to be entertaining. As did the frogs that kept raining down on our tents from the trees above.   This is why we came though -tremendously beautiful waterfalls.  Actually its all tremendously beautiful.  This was taken on our hike down from Havasu falls to our campsite.  Brian was of course excited to jump off things.  The girls were just excited to hang out in the cool water.  Ok... Brian might have given them a few ideas. This lookout over Mooney falls was about 500 feet from our campsite.  Tara was really excited about the hike down there. As was Veronica.  Tara enters one of the caves on the way down.  This is what it looks like staring up from there. I think this is even more treacherous than before.  Notice the stretcher at the bottom - fun stuff!  The view from the bottom is worth it though.  And of course you get to cool off. We found this rope swing just below Mooney. And Hunter found this cave a little further down.  Tara and I stopped for a photo op in the cave. Then Hunter got the bad news - flash flood - time to go.  So we headed back to tent city for a nap.  The next day we hiked back up towards the village to Lower Navajo (aka Rock) falls.  Brian found more things to jump off of. Hunter joined him.  They even got Tara into the game of 'Jump off Things'.  Of course no trip is complete these days without a selfie.  Or more group photos... From Lower Navajo you can follow a path to get here - Upper Navajo Falls.  I was really surprised to see so many fish there.  Upper Navajo was full of surprises. This was my favorite moment of the trip.  Soon it was time to pack it all in and drop off our bags for the mules.  Tara was very excited to finally get back to the car.  Time for one last picture before we headed home.  See you next time Havasupai.
Comments (1)

Tara - Jul 20th, 2014 5:35pm
Best trip ever!!! Thanks for recording our memories!
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