Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Land of the Blue Green Water - HAVASUPAI 2019

Two years ago, I fell in love with a beautiful waterfall. It was perfect and seemingly untouched, and even though my feet hurt afterward, hiking the 10 miles to see it (one way!) was worth it.

After the trip, however, my sister lamented not being able to go, so I told her that I would find a way to make it back to Havasu Falls. One day, on a lunch date with my buddy Bryan in 2017, I randomly called the Havasupai Lodge and got through. I asked them for their first available date, and booked the Havasupai Lodge for 2018! What luck!

But weeks before we were set to go on the trip, we found out that flash floods had washed away most of the trails. I was so sad! The blue-green water changed to brown, and our trip had loose ends that couldn't be canceled. So Bryan, Caroline, Joyce, and I went to Utah instead and I moved our trip out another year.

Fast forward to last weekend. Joyce bailed (marriage takes a lot out of you!) but Bryan was still in. We recruited Suly, our childhood friend, and were joined by Matt, Alice, Rob, Nino, and Nidia.

Matt and I drove in from San Diego (Comic-Con waits for no one!) and met the rest of the crew at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. We stopped at Joshua Tree and took a scenic tour before heading on our way.

After JT, miles and miles of road separated us and our destination, so on our stop in Kingman City, I called up my third grade teacher, Mrs. M - and we made a pit stop in Lake Havasu to see her :)

I've known Mrs. M for many years - but we've been pen pals for 23! It's always so nice to hear from her, and fantastic to see her in person! The last time I saw her was right before my Ironman in Arizona 2 years prior.

We didn't stay long, but we were able to catch a glimpse of the original London Bridge! As the sun set, we pulled into the driveway for the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn - the closest hotel to the trailhead (about 65 miles away).

Clearly our only option.

We said hello to old friends and met new ones, but turned in early as we had set 3:30am as our departure time.

Matt and I took the lead, Bryan and Alice behind us, and Suly, Nino, Nidia, and Rob in the last car. In the dark of the night, we drove the two-lane pass up to the trailhead and came across many furry friends!

Deer in the headlights! We also came across a few cows that we had to stop for. So surprising to see what goes on when the lights are off... :)

We were stopped by security around 4:45am, and the men who were there asked us to get out of the car. They told us that Shamans had descended on the Falls to bless it, and that they were in the process of evacuating the falls to ensure that everything would be okay. They said it could take up to a week for them to be able to do so.

I felt so bad. Bryan and Alice had flown in, and even though Nidia, Suly, and I had been before, no one else had.

Luckily, the guys were kidding. "We were bored! The last group before you cried. You all handled it well!"

Relief! We pulled into the parking lot, got ready, and started our hike at 5:36am.

It was majestic.

We got to the lodge early - so early that we couldn't check in, so we left our bags and left for Havasu Falls.

I can't even begin to tell you how gorgeous this place is.

Havasu Falls was everything I remembered it to be.

Two weeks prior, Beyonce had graced the falls with her presence - shutting down everything for a few hikers and inconveniencing many people who had planned (likely for more than a year) the trip itself. Me? I embraced my inner Beyonce:

The lodge opened back up at 1pm, so we went back around 5 and got into our rooms (bet you didn't know you could stay in a hotel instead of camp at Havasupai!). I crawled into bed around 6 and didn't wake up until the next morning.

Day 1:
- 8 Miles to the Lodge
- 2 Miles to the Waterfall
- 2 Miles back to the lodge

Total: 12 Miles

We spent the next day at three waterfalls: Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls. We made a pit stop at Navajo Falls, but didn't stay.

Day 2:
- 2 Miles from the lodge to Havasu Falls
- 1 Mile to Mooney Falls
- 3 Miles from Mooney to Beaver Falls
- 6 miles back to the lodge

Total: 12 Miles

Day 3 was very short - we got up at 3 to hike out at 3:30, and we were out of the canyon by 7am!

We had breakfast at Grandpa's Kitchen in Kingman AZ, and parted ways.
Matt, Bryan, Alice, and I stopped in Vegas on the way home, but I spent most of the time in the hotel room catching up on sleep. Not the best way to end a weekend, but the sights and sounds from that beautiful mountain eclipsed any other kind of feeling I felt driving home the next day.

Day :
- 8 Miles out of the Canyon
Total: 32 Miles for the weekend

Til next time, Havasupai.