Havasupai: Day 1

Day one.

You know that sleepless excitement you had the night before your tenth birthday? That was me last night. I’m crossing a big one off my bucket list this week, and I was so excited I had a hard time getting to sleep.

So this morning started with strong coffee—a couple of cups—but we all made it on time to the Havasupai trailhead at Hualapai Hilltop. We had ten miles to hike before we sleep tonight, but we’re starting easy with a downhill. A thousand feet of elevation loss in a mile and a half.

Six miles in we hit Havasu Creek. This incredible blue-green water against the red rocks makes me feel like I’m hiking on an alien world. It’s breathtaking, and suddenly I am so grateful for the limited number of permits issued for hikes like this. I’m grateful for the miles we’ve walked to get here, because these miles have kept the creek protected.

At mile 8, we reach the Supai village. I’m back in time, but not—there are 4x4s and ATVs, but also there are a lot of horses and crops. The houses are rustic, but they sport satellite dishes. The main road is more of a dirt path, and we pass the rodeo grounds, then check in at the tourism office. Everything here contrasts just like the water against the rocks: there’s a helipad here, but the mail comes by mule.

We see the café and the general store, where some of us buy cold drinks or ice cream. On the way out of town there’s a little domed chapel, then we pass more houses and farms until we reach the campground.

These last two miles are magnificent. First we come to Lil Navajo Falls, then Havasu Falls, and then the campground along Havasu Creek between Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls. There’s a fry bread stand, which smells delicious, but the guide is making dinner while we set up home for the next 3 nights.

And dinner also smells amazing. Tonight we’re having pesto tortellini. I can’t believe I’m eating something this good out of a pack, but this is no normal backpacking meal.

I can’t believe I waited so long to take this trip; I can’t believe I’m finally here. The pictures don’t do it justice.