It had been three years since Sara and I had made it down to Havasupai. It wasn't that we weren't interested in going, but rather exhausted with the permit system and cluster fuck that the area had become. But lucky for us a friend sourced some permits and we secured a spot. Out of all the times we had been there, this would be the latest in the year. Typically we found ourselves dodging boy scouts, bros and hoes as we tried to find a quite section to enjoy the area. This trip was all about relaxing and not having to lead a trip.
When the alarm sounded at 1:30AM we were less then enthused about driving from Phoenix to the trailhead. My grand plan had turned into a few hours of sleep and a long drive. But after battling fatigue and switching drivers multiple times we made it to the trailhead just in time to watch the sun poke over the side of the canyon. After getting everyone organized we made our way down the familiar switchbacks.
In short time we found ourselves on the floor of the canyon and headed down the dry and sandy trail. Being the competitive pair we are we set our sights on trying to pass as many people as we could. Within a mile we had settled in to our cruising pace and started racking up the kills.
The final death toll was estimated at a 100+ as we rolled into camp. A well deserved nap was in place after racing to camp in under four hours. One from our party had to fly in which was convenient because he was able to secure the best camping spot.
Camp side white noise was provided by the creek that babbled by just feet from our heads. The campsite was larger enough for our swollen group, yet still allowed all of us to find a quiet corner to ourselves. An added perk was that it was within short distance of Mooney Falls.
Fifteen years ago I found myself with a pack that was too heavy; an environment I couldn't comprehend; and a budding curiosity. Little did I know that I was beginning a shift in my life that would focus on the outdoors and it was all happened on the banks of this waterfall. Although the falls have been rerouted multiple times since then, they still remind me of my beginnings in backpacking.
As is custom with any trip to Havasupai the obligatory waterfall shots needed to be made. After getting my first shot at Havasu Falls, we moved on to Mooney Falls. Although we weren't headed all the way down today I was able to get a view from a outcropping. During our time at Havasupai we had plenty of entertainment by people watching.
After an entertaining evening with group I was up before dawn and made my way back to Havasu Falls. I was hoping to have some color in the sky, but I wasn't so lucky this time. None the less it was nice to be down at the falls and only be sharing it with one other person shooting photos. At Havasupai any quiet time should be cherished.
After a late breakfast the group was planning on heading down to Beaver Falls for the day. As we crested the edge and began our descent we realized the line to the bottom started at the top. I approximated 1 hour to reach to the bottom (it ended up being 1.5 hours for the group), and at this point we were a group divided. Half headed down, while the others headed to Navajo Falls closer to town. In the three years since we had been there the falls had once again rerouted themselves continuing to create surreal landscapes.
After Navajo Falls we headed back to camp and then down Mooney Falls. This time it took us 15 minutes which was much more manageable. Sara and I soaked in the area. Three years prior we had been just two people on a backpacking trip, who found themselves laying in a quiet side canyon enjoying watching bats. Sara and I have been through a lot of crazy events since then but once again we found ourselves back where it started with the bats.
We waited for the line going back up Mooney Falls to die down. There were a good 60 people headed back up the Mooney Falls climb while we waited. I took the opportunity to snag a few more shots of falls, as you never know when we will be returning. Eventually the crowd made it's way up and we were able to scale the route rather uninterrupted.
Sunday morning came and we packed up our gear in the dark, again. As we were headed out of camp I spotted a pair of large eyes through the glow of my headlamp. Although I wasn't able to get a shot I did have the pleasure of seeing another Ringtail Cat right net to camp. After the spotting we hit the trail hard with a goal of trying to get out as early as possible. With a steady clip we made our way to the switchbacks and before we knew it we were out on the rim in less time then it took us headed down. A PR and a good trip? What more could you ask for.
Want to see the compete photo set? Check them out on Flikr.