top left: just arriving at the campground
top right: studly photo of yours truly
center: some of the amazing rock formations with Aaron and Parker
bottom left and center: typical waterfalls of the Havasu Canyon
bottom right: our camp for the trip, right along the Havasu Creek
Havasu Canyon Trip Report
Three dear college friends kicked off our 40-year-old birthday celebrations early this month. The deal is that the person turning 40 gets to choose a destination for us to visit. Aaron and Brian (far left and far right, respectively in the group photo) turned 40 first. Justin will turn 40 in a few months. I’m the youngest of the group (big 40 in March 2014), so it might take us a few years to get everybody’s trip together.
Aaron, a Phoenix native had, somehow, never hiked into the Grand Canyon. After trying and failing to get into any of the South Rim campgrounds or lodging, we opted for a trip onto the Havasupai Reservation. Reservations are required 3 months prior to the trip. Aaron took care of all the footwork/paperwork. I arrived a day earier than Brian and Justin to help Aaron gather gear, food, etc. After spending the day provisioning, the final two of our group arrived and we ate dinner and got rowdy.
The next morning I squeezed in an early detox morning run around South Mountain, then it was time to get our gear together. We were in charge of Aaron’s darling daughter until his wife arrived home from work at 1pm. Amazingly, we were excited and ready almost an hour before she got home. We remarked that in our 20’s we would’ve just been waking up after a hard night out. Ahhh, parenthood. It elevates the hard in hardcore. Except for JP, who barely held his shit together (and even yakked into a trashcan at a rest stop)—sad-face. Poor kid.
Finally, we were on our way. Our destination was Seligman, AZ, a tiny town on Route 66, similar to Radiator Springs in the Cars movies. We got settled into a roadside motel and headed out for sustenance and cold beers. After a puzzling and interesting night of shooting pool and cheap beer, we headed back to our hotel reasonably early.
Sunday morn, we were up and eating breaky at a decent hour. We still had about 90 mins of driving to get to the trailhead and then 10 miles of hiking to the campground. The parking lot was busy and we hit the trail at about 11:30. I’m glad we didn’t get started any later, because we didn’t have a lot of time to waste prior to darkness after arriving at our chosen campsite.
Wow, the hike in was incredible. About 1000’ of elevation loss in the first two miles plus the added weight of food, tents, sleeping bags, clothes and gear. The views just kept changing and the rock formations were absolutely stunning. We were all surprised at how close the canyon closed in prior to arriving at the village of Supai.
We finally stumbled onto a beautiful series of campsites and dropped all our gear to eat a little food and appreciate the views before sunset. Then it was time to set up our camp before full dark. Then it was time for some Euchre by lantern light and bedtime.
Monday was our only day to explore unencumbered by our big backpacks. The guys were kind enough to send me on a little shakeout run to get my wiggles out. I met up with them to explore some waterfalls more closely and check out the stores in the village more closely (what a collection of junk food!) Rain settled in towards afternoon and we were dreading hanging out in our tents in such a beautiful location. Brian had the brilliant idea to hang out in this fantastic cave in which we had spotted a Native Ranger earlier in the day. So we moved in with our campstove, food, cards and lanterns. It was definitely the most interesting place I’ve ever played cards. Hilarity ensued as the night wound on and we finally collapsed into our tents from exhaustion, giggles and being soaked.
Amazingly, we planned our meals just about perfectly. We had enough snacks when we wanted them, but didn’t have a bunch of food that we had to pack out. Luckily, Parker brought a water filter and we were able to just pull water right out of the stream. That was key as the nearest water source was about a mile from our camp. Tuesday morn we just had to eat all the food we hadn’t eaten then pack up our camp. We saved a package of jerky, some clif bars, lavash and some anchovies for the hike out.
The hike out was nearly all uphill! We didn’t realize that we were descending slowly on our hike in. However, we were somewhat conditioned by all the hiking we’d done in the previous 48 hours and we were slightly lighter due to all the food we’d eaten. We had to pack out trash, too, so the packs were still pretty heavy.
Our pace going out was quite a bit speedier, and our destination for the night was Flagstaff. We did, however, have time to stop at our spot in Seligman for cold beers. We were surprised at how much we missed that cold, fizzy beverage while camping. We hit the ground running in Flagstaff and rolled into our night dirty and unshaven. Another rowdy night was enjoyed by all.
The next morning brought us back to PHX for a little recovery before flying out the next day. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to see both my razor and a foam roller. We did a little geocaching and had a nice last-night sushi dinner.
These guys are my brothers and I love them deeply. Safe travels dear friends. Thanks for the amazing adventures!
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- desert-child said: this sounds like the BEST adventure. glad you had fun!
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- karikeepsrunning said: Sounds like an amazing trip!! Camping, running, hiking, Euchre, sushi, cold beer, beautiful scenery…sounds perfect to me :)
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