Monday, June 22, 2015

Havasupai Falls 2015

For our 14th anniversary we went to see the Havasupai waterfalls at the end of March 2014. It was such an amazing experience that I will never forget! And I do hope to go back someday. 

We started out driving from Salt Lake at about 10:00 on Friday morning, and just spent the whole day driving. It was actually really fun with just the two of us. We talked and listened to music and podcasts, including the whole season of Serial. After we got off I-15, everything was new to us, and it was so beautiful! Even when we got into Arizona, I had no idea Arizona looked like that! I always imagined it as barren desert! But there were forests and mountains as well. I love seeing new places so this whole drive was just a treat.

This is just after we got off I-15. New parts of Utah!!

Our route from SLC to Seligman.

We stopped at about the halfway point in Kanab for gas and had to try the famous "ho-made pies" while we were there. Unfortunately, they weren't really worth the hype, and we ended up sitting in there for way too long for just pie and coffee. Luckily we weren't in a hurry, and it was a nice little break. 

We got back in the car and drove to Flagstaff, where we stopped at a BBQ place called Satchmo's for dinner. The food was really good and the place had a cool vibe too. It that made us feel like we could totally live in Flagstaff.

After dinner, we drove for about another hour west to Seligman, which is right on Route 66 and is the town the movie Cars is based on (according to our Hotel owner). There are a buch of old cars made up to look like characters from the movie so first thing in the morning we walked around to get pictures of them for the kids.

Our guide, Chelsea, from Pygmy Guides picked us up in her van at about 8am, along with two other women, a mother and daughter: Marcia and Tracy. They were all really cool and we had a great time spending the next 3 days with them!

We drove for about an hour and a half, out to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. At this trailhead you are able to drive down past the first layer into the canyon, which makes for a  shorter decent into the bottom so that's nice. But the view from the top was still breathtaking!

Our guide had some horses that they packed most of our stuff in on, and also nice backpacks for us to wear and put our day supplies in (basically our swimsuits, sandals, water and snacks). We got started at around 10am.

The hike down was really not bad at all. It's slightly steep for the first mile and a half with switchbacks, but after that it's just a pretty flat walk on dirt and gravel. We stopped every two miles for a short break and at the halfway point for lunch, where Chelsea got out delicious sandwich fixin's and chips for us. Man, it was so luxurious having a guide! It was also SO much easier to hike without kids! It was just a lovely day and the whole walk down was just breathtakingly beautiful! I felt like I couldn't look up enough at the canyon walls that were surrounding us, growing taller and closer as we walked. 

At mile 6 or 7, we reached the water! We changed into our sandals and cooled off a bit. I also dipped my shirt in and put it back on, and that felt really nice since it was getting pretty hot! 

At about mile 8, we got to the village where we went into the little cafe and enjoyed some lemonade, air conditioning and real bathrooms for a few minutes before continuing on.

Chelsea explained that they call these two rocks the mother and father of the village. They look completely different from opposite sides of the village.

After about a mile we got to the first waterfall and I was just blown away. This is technically called Navajo Falls, but Chelsea called it Rock falls because there is another Navajo falls just above it that we got to see the next day, and this is less confusing. As we were passing, we saw a guy getting ready to jump off, so we stopped and watched. I wondered if I would dare do such a thing. 

Words can not describe the beauty.

We walked down a little more before ariving at the most famous of the waterfalls, Havasupai Falls. The blue water here is just amazing. So unreal! 

We continued on a little farther to the campground where there was already a camp set up for us. Again, so luxurious!! It was in a nice spot, right by the blue-green river with the red cliffs towering over us.

This is what my watch said when we got there. So it took us about 6 hours. I don't know if I trust that 12.51 miles, though, everyone knows it's a 10 mile hike.

We dropped our stuff off, changed into our swimsuits and went back up to Havasupai Falls to swim. It was a little chilly since the valley was now in full shade, especially standing in the spray of the falls (as you can tell by my face in this picture)!

The pool at the base of the waterfall is pretty deep so it was fun to swim in, and you could feel the power of the waterfall pushing at you even at the edge. 

After we felt like we had explored that area enough getting pretty cold and excited to get back into dry clothes, we went back to our camp. Chelsea was making fajitas for dinner and it was really good! I felt so spoiled. Our campground was so nice, and these cute little frogs would hop through every once and a while.

The next day we packed some water, snacks and our camera and hiked down to see Moonie Falls. This one is really tall! Almost 100 feet, and it's morbidly named after a miner who tried to rappel down on too short of a rope and ended up falling to his death.

Do we look touristy enough? I'm happy to report that with the hat and longsleeves, I managed to avoid getting burnt the whole trip!

It was a fun adventure getting down there because you have to go through this tunnel that was blasted out of the rock many years ago. Then down some rickety stairs with chains to hold onto. It was all wet and slippery to make it even better! There was a girl (not little - probably collage age) in front of us who was really scared and it took her a while to get down. That made me more nervous for her than climbing down myself. But everyone made it down safely! 

Once we were down there we went on and explored another little break-off canyon called Fern Canyon, I think, if I'm remembering correctly. It was pretty in a different way, with all the green ferns and rocks with tiny waterfalls. It was so peaceful there, I really liked it! 

Then we headed back to the main river where we swam and played around in a section a little ways down from Moonie Falls. There was a smaller waterfall where I was able to swim in place at its base because of how strong the current was. That was fun! I wished I had brought goggles so I could have stay in longer.

We walked back up to the base of Moonie Falls to take more pictures before heading back up the old, rickety ladders. 

Favorite picture of the trip. <3 font="">

We stopped back at camp for lunch and a little break, then walked up to Rock Falls. Pete wanted to jump off this since we had seen that guy do it on the way in. We asked Chelsea if it was ok to jump (deep enough, and we wouldn't get pushed under by the waterfall, i.e. SAFE) and she told us right where to jump from. Again, so nice to have the guide for that! She even took pictures for us!

Here I am getting ready to jump. The photo of me actually jumping didn't come out too well, so you just have to trust me. :)

I can not believe I jumped! And I didn't even stand there deliberating it for too long either. That's the trick to jumping off cliffs, you don't think - just jump!

After jumping off twice, (and skinning my knee on a rock while swimming back the second time) we went up to Navajo Falls (sadly, my camera died just before this!) and just took it all in for a while before heading back to camp for a nice spaghetti dinner.

I slept so good that night, and Chelsea made sure we were up at 5am to eat, pack up and leave by 6am. This was so nice because we were in the shade for most of the hike out. I don't think we were in the sun until the last 2 miles. Of course the last little bit is the hardest and was also the hottest! It was cool watching all the horses run up and down the canyon. 

We got to the top at about noon and had sandwiches at the van before driving back to Seligman. 

What a wonderful trip! I can not wait to go do it again someday!

Pete and I drove to Las Vegas where we stayed at the Red Rock Hotel. We stayed there for 2 nights to relax, go to the spa, and eat some good food before driving back home. I love our little trips! Honestly, anywhere we go together has been so much fun, but Havasupai Falls was extra special and I will never forget it!