Havasupai

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mooney falls

Two weeks ago I went to Havasupai in northern Arizona. The place is simply amazing. Pictures you see are not digitally enhanced. That’s really the color of the water and really how beautiful it is.

60 miles down a paved road outside of Peach Springs (which is 55 miles from Kingman, AZ), is a parking lot from which almost all outings to havasupai begin. From there it’s an 8 mile hike to the Havasupai Indian Villiage where about 450 members of the tribe live. From the villiage, it’s another 2 miles to the campsite where all tourists stay. We hiked the 10 miles with all our food/camping gear for 3 nights on our backs. Many people send their packs into the canyon on horses, which costs about $20 per pack. I think that most people also hike the 10 miles, but you do have the option of riding a horse ($75) or riding a helicopter ($85) to the villiage. The next time I do it, I’ll definitely pay to have a horse carry my pack in. I’ll probably still hike the 10 miles.

The canyon in which havasupai sits is simply amazing. It’s an offshute of the Grand Canyon and is probably the most beautiful canyon I’ve ever seen (I’ve been quite a few places in canyons).

The indian villiage is small. No roads or cars. Just horses and trails. There is a grocery store, restaurant, electricity, and running water. It’s a pretty cool little place.

After the villiage is where the amazing begins. The whole reservation is an oasis in the middle of the desert. Theres a spring of water that comes out of the ground a few miles above the villiage that brings a river of clean, blue water. It flows into 4 main large waterfalls, along with hundreds of small (1-8 feet) falls. You can see pictures at HavasuFalls.net or at Google.

The first waterfall (Navajo Falls) is like a 200 foot wide wall where there are bunches of thin falls interspersed with tons of green vines hanging down the wall. It reminded me of a drive I took in Costa Rica on the side of a mountain with hundreds of waterfalls along the way.

The second falls (Havasu falls), about a half mile from the second, and less than half mile above the campground, is a gigantic waterfall that falls into a beautiful pool of blue water. The water is cold to the touch, but perfect temperature when you jump in. The pool is great for swimming, as it flows into hundreds of smaller waterfalls over the next mile. We played in this for about 4 hours one day while we were there. We jumped off waterfalls, swam over them, swam through the currents that flowed between small falls on either side, and walked/swam down the river. The great part about playing in the river is that you can see everything because the water is clear. Also, nothing in the water is slippery. You can count on being able to put your foot down anywhere and it staying there, not slipping.

The third falls (Mooney falls) is bigger than the second and is only accessable by climbing down the side of the canyon next to the falls. You have to climb down through two caves and down some “steps” that have chains next to them for you to hold on to. This is somewhat of a scary climb, because the steps are wet because of the mist of the falls. Once again, at the bottom of the falls is a giant pool of blue water where you can swim. You can also swim to the left of the falls and climb along the rocks to get very close to the back of the falls. When you get there you can’t see anything because of the spray of the waterfall, but it’s fun nonetheless.

After the third falls you can hike about 3 1/2 miles to the fourth falls, Beaver Falls. The hike is well worth doing, as it is gorgeous. It’s pretty difficult to describe, but there is a mile stretch where the trail is about 2 feet wide at shoulder level because vines have grown up over the whole canyon floor. The vines grow up the walls of the canyon about 100 feet. It’s totally amazing to see nothing but green anywhere around you.

You cross the river a couple of times and have to climb up a rock that would be very difficult to scale if it weren’t for a rope that people have tied up at the top to help others get up. Right at the rock there is a random giant palm tree. It is really amazing how much of an oasis this place is.

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