It's been nearly 8 months since my last post. Sigh. Not for a lack of going outdoors though. In August I moved into a new apartment, and then I just decided I needed a break. Plain and simple. Because for me, if I'm not having fun writing this thing, then there's no point to it.
But I've been itching to get back at it, and will just need to get the creative juices flowing... Oh, and what better way than to tell you all about Havasupai Falls.
*I need to insert a side note here, and give credit where credit is due. Mostly I've borrowed some of my boyfriends photos from the weekend, because he brought his fancy camera, and he is actually a legitimate photographer. So if you're wondering why they are so amazing... its because Michael Auffant took them. (follow him on Instagram @jmas912), I also borrowed 3 of Peter Carey's photos who is also a great photographer and was with our group (follow him on Instagram @PETERACAREY), Anddd the group shots are from Ben's gopro. *
When I got back from backpacking the Havasupai Falls Trail with some friends a few weekends ago, it left me with this weird empty feeling. I guess I had been anticipating the trip for so long (it's been one of those bucket list items), that when we were finally there it just honestly didn't seem real. The water is like nothing I've ever seen before. Ever. If Khaleesi (yes Game of Throne reference), were to live in the United States... I'd imagine she'd belong here, with her majestic as fuck Dragons. Its just really incredible. And it was sad because I couldn't hold onto it. We were there one moment, and hiking out the next... like it never happened. I guess its different than the Sierras because I always know I'm going to come back again and again and visit the Sierras... but I just don't know when I'll be back to this place. It was surreal.
There a lot of rules about the permitting though. You should definitely look into that. Just Google Havasupai Falls and you will find a plethora of information on other peoples websites. I was fortunate that my friend hooked us up with the camping permits... all we had to do was show up and give her money. I think, in summary, you've got to procure a camping permit first and foremost. After that, you pay the hiking and environmental permit fees later. All in all, it cost us about $80/person (not cheap, but so worth it). We stayed 2 nights.
You might also be wondering... Can I just do it as a day hike? to avoid the price? Physically... yes, if you are in shape, I'd say it'd be no problem. A long day, yes, but sure. Legally... I'm really not sure about that one... they don't appear to patrol it much, but don't take my word for that. Emotionally, don't do it. Its so amazing here. Just let your body soak it up. Shovel out the money and just be thankful that you get to be there for a while.
Facts: Give or take, depending on how ADD you are and how much side exploring you do, the trail is about 20 miles round trip. It descends roughly 2000'. Some blogs I read before I went on the trip said that the hike down and up was "strenuous" ... our group begs to differ. We thought it was fairly easy. Our packs were around 30 lbs/person. the hike in took us about 4 and a half hours, and the hike out took us about 4 and a half hours (we must've stopped a lot on our way in). AND if you really like data, I burned about 1800 cals in and 2000 cals out. BOOM.
Let's get started. Our descent was a dusty, deserty, Arizona-esq descent. Very typical, but still very beautiful. You drop about 1800 feet in maybe 2 miles, don't quote me on that though. The descent is easy.
Its about 8 miles until you reach the town where you pay for all your permits, and when you hike a little further, you get greeted by your first set of waterfalls. It is called New Navajo Falls. We were mesmerized. We spent a lot of time here... pondering what we were doing with our lives, taking majestic as fuck photos, touching the water.. just generally being amazed.
Then we continued on to the campground area.
But before you reach the campgrounds, you reach this beauty. Havasu Falls. 100 feet of pure beauty. We wanted to play in these waterfalls before it got dark, but we decided to find a campground first.
There are TONS of campground options, so don't think you have to pick the first one you see... The options go on and on along the river. We ended up finding this site on the other side of the river. Decent enough. :)
After unpacking, we put on our swimsuits and headed back up to Havasu Falls to play around in the water a bit.
I'm not going to lie, the water was really cold, but it was the first weekend in March so we were sort of expecting that. You get used to it after a while. We spent a while here taking a bunch of photos, getting our toes in the water, and generally just enjoying life in the moment... as it should be enjoyed.
Some tequila shots, nighttime dinners, sleep, and breakfasting later it was the next day. Our goal on Saturday was to explore the rest of the waterfalls, swim around, and just enjoy Havasupai Trail. So that's exactly what we did.
Our first set of new waterfalls on Saturday was probably the most epic. Mooney Falls. 190 feet drop.
Getting to the bottom of Mooney was a fun little challenge. It wasn't really very difficult, but if you are afraid of heights and exposure, it could seem a bit spicy. Also, I was skeptical of some of the chain in the rock... but maybe that's the rock climber in me... always skeptical, always wary of choss and loose bolts. But hey! EVERYBODY'S DOING IT. So just do it. You'll feel strong and happy that you did.
Have I already said Majestic as Fuck too many times? I can't think of a better way to describe it. I apologize.
We wanted to keep moving though, so after we took some good photos, we continued on to our final set of waterfalls.
Getting to them involved easy hiking and some wading through the water... water shoes might have been nice here, but I was being all "ultra-light" dominant when I was packing for the trip, and opted to leave them behind.
The last beautiful set of falls is called Beaver Falls. This is probably one of my favorite set of falls, mostly because it looks so inviting, like.... come swim in meeeee.
And we did swim. And we jumped off rocks into the icy cold water, then did it again, and some of us a third time. In fact, there were loads of people jumping off one of the rocks and into the water. It was really entertaining to watch everyone's hesitation and against their better judgment jumping in anyways. We walked around shivering our bums off but still having a good time of it.
It was an honest to god good time, with good people. No, great people. I'll go swimming and backpacking with this crew any day.
We woke up at 5am on Sunday to hike out. It took us way less time than we had planned to reach the top, and we were all stuffing our faces with Chipotle before we realized that it was all over.
Honestly, if it weren't for these photos... I might doubt that I even came here. It's like someone put me in a Lord of the Rings film... except more deserty and no hobbits. Just magical.
If I haven't convinced you to get some permits and go backpacking here, then I don't know what I'm doing with my life. Have you looked through the photos yet? This place is literally so majestic that they've decided to let people be lazy and helicopter down to it, for the right price. You can even hike it and have mules carry your luggage. I'm not trying to say helicoptering and mule using is necessarily a bad thing.. mostly I'm saying.. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE.
I hope you go there.