We recently had the opportunity to visit Havasu canyon, Supai village and the wonderful falls that are the reason to make the journey. We were there the first week after it reopened from 6 months of no visitors. We fully enjoyed our visit and now that the difficult parts of the trip have faded from my mind I can more fully appreciate all that we were able to experience.
Briefly: the falls appear to be in much the same shape as reported last summer- which is to say still a lot of fun, but not the same as they were before the flood of 2008. Evidence of the changes are still readily apparent. The campground is pretty denuded, but appeared to be completely full with the 200 people allotment. It was back to business as usual in all respects.
The reason for the closure of the canyon was to rehabilitate the campground. The tribe received FEMA funds and used it to plant hundreds of cuttings of mostly cottonwood trees along the streams in the campground. (sorry I never took pictures of these). Most of them have sprouted and given time can provide shade, stability and habitat in what is now just a lot of empty mudflats, especially at the south end of the area. There was also quite a bit of grading done to the streamside and trail in the area of the old Navajo Falls and now New falls. Visiting these are possible though the area is pretty rough.
I was only half way through a complete retelling of our trip, and it was already 4 pages long. I figured that was too much for this forum. I'm not sure I have the heart for a shorter version.
But I guess I can share some of the key points.
We stayed at Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs the night before and were glad we did. The option is to sleep in your car at the hilltop. It was wall to cliff parking there though and an easy hour drive from the lodge. We arrived about 9 am.
I took about 5 hrs for the 8 mile hike. My boys took about 3 hrs. As trails go it is pretty easy except for the length.
The anthropologist in me loved the village with the dirt roads, and travel by foot or horseback predominant. Supai Village was exactly what I would have expected this far from any other town. Anything else would be an aberration and a clash with the surroundings.
We stayed in the Havasupai lodge in the village. It was great to have hot water, soft beds and air conditioning to come back to and we enjoyed our visits to the store. I'm getting soft in my old age. The one down side to staying at the lodge is that 2 or 3 mile hike back up after visiting the falls.
We stayed two nights and visited the New Falls and Havasu Falls the afternoon we arrived. The next day we went back for some more time at Havasu, playing in the pools and swimming by the falls, before heading down to Mooney Falls and just a little bit beyond. My favorite part of the river was the area below Mooney. Possibly because it was not affected by the floods and is in a more natural state. On the way back I sat for a couple hours by Havasu, watching the falls and people. It was a little bit of Shangri la.
I took the helicopter back out and it afforded me some time to watch the village in action. Due to my long wait I was also able to visit with a couple locals and in retrospect that was a real privilege. They were very talkative and I learned so much from my visit with them. All the villagers were very friendly. Not one passed us on the trail or road but they said, "Hey". Maybe it was not having anyone come in for so long, I don't know.
At the moment the Cafe is closed (open maybe in June?), but there is plenty of food from the store or Sinyella's at the other end of the village.
It was coming home that I had the culture shock. Big and noisy cities, people and responsibilities. A trip like this strips away all but the necessities and I can still feel the peace of sitting by Havasu Falls.
I'd be glad to answer any questions.
I had more photos too but figured there were too many. I hope these represent the best of our trip.