Havasupai means people of the blue-green water, which is extremely literal and perfect. The small village comes out of no where 8 miles into the hike, and the ice-cold diet cherry Pepsi was very very welcomed. This tribe has been in this area for 800 years. Honestly, judging from all of the trash scattered, the sweatpants and t-shirts, unfriendly looks, plus Halloween decorations you would think you stumbled into a bad part of a city in the southwest. Next you see a helicopter landing on the school’s basketball court with supplies. After hiking 8 miles through the beautiful grand canyon, it was slightly ….off.
But, this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Please note that takes a lot for me to say! So, let me tell you about it and the details you may need if you decide you want to go!
My recent trip to Havasupai basically fell into my lap and was an opportunity I wasn’t about to miss out on.
I had reservations about making reservations to camp on this Indian reservation. (Jkjk, I just couldn’t resist). Actually I have just always been too lazy to look into the details about the reservation process. Lucky for me, a co-worker spent 3 weeks calling multiple times a day and was able to secure 3 nights for our group. She wanted to go back for her 7th time!!! Luckier still, I flew with her just after posting a video of the falls on Facebook and she brought it up and asked me to join. I’m tellin ya, the universe is really funny sometimes :).
The pictures speak for themselves, but it’s well worth the 8 mile hike into the Grand canyon, 4 and a half hour drive from Vegas after a redeye, lack of shower (there was a toilet), and meals cooked on a burner. It was even worth the most miserable nights sleep I’ve ever had.
I was a camping virgin before this trip. I had camped for a night here and there, but never the sort of camping where you have to pack a backpack with everything you need to live for 3 nights and take off into the wilderness. Neither had my friend Kate and 2 other flight attendants who went. Well, Kate and I decided we would just share a tent since neither of us had one. 2 people = a 2 person tent, right? Wrong. A 2 person tent should specify that it is for 2 toddlers. But, we couldn’t exactly run back to a store and grab another tent, so we made it work with our 2.5 ft of personal space (literally, the tent was 6’5″ by 5′).
It was all giggles and excitement to be having a camping sleepover with my best friend until it started raining. A light drizzle didn’t dampen our mood, but when it started really raining we realized we were in a bad scenario. Invest in a good tent, it’s a lesson we learned the hard way. I was on an inflatable sleep mat, so I was floating on the pool of water that had filled the bottom of our tiny room (slight exaggeration there). Kate was on the floor, and pretty much soaked. After 4 hours of a decent rain shower, wind, and 50 degree temp, our teeth were chattering and half the sleeping bags soaked miserable. HATE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE.
We assumed we were the only ones, but by morning light all 4 camping virgins stumbled out of our tents having barely slept and having to air out everything we had with us. Keep in mind we flew in on a red-eye and drove all night the previous night. Red eyes, under eye bags galore, and pure WTF did we do to ourselves radiating off of us. It was like a bad initiation to the camping community. The next 2 nights I slept bundled in every piece of clothing I brought in the hammock our experienced camp dad, Todd, brought. 10x better than not being able to roll over in that stupid claustrophobic ‘2 person tent’.
In all of my hours awake in the wet tent I never considered other effects of the storm, but it also caused our beautiful blue kool-aid colored water to turn to chocolate milk brown. That was also a slight damper, but it cleared up and was back to normal by the next morning. That blue contrasting against the rock and browns of the canyon is just beautiful. We found out the color actually comes from high lime content in the water.
We explored Havasu falls and an old quartz mine that is in the canyon near it (except you’re not supposed to because it’s blocked off), made it to the bottom of Mooney falls to hike/swim through area going away from the falls, and did a lot of relaxing on the top of the falls where our camp was set up.
The hike out is a bit more challenging, but even hiking up switchbacks the last 1.5 miles out of the canyon it only took me 4 hours and 15 minutes… It wasn’t nearly as bad as expected!
This was definitely an adventure, and one that I would love to do again. I’m ready to be a legit camping outdoorswoman now and go on another trip… just as soon as I get a tent ;).
If you are interested in going to Havasupai, it was a little over $100 each for 3 nights. It’s a fee of $35pp, and $17pppn plus tribal taxes. You do have the option to stay in the lodge in the village and also to take a helicopter in rather than the 8 mile hike. I want to say it was $160? but I can’t remember… Also, mules can carry your packs ($140ish?), but you need to book it roundtrip as they wont do one way for the mules or the helicopter!
There’s a ton of info online including the contact #’s…. (Is it bad if I don’t want to give out too much info? haha…) This is a special place, and while it seemed like the campers respected the land and area more than the locals, I would hate for it to be ruined by tourism and inconsiderate campers!