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Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Salt Lake City, Utah
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Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

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.

https://picasaweb.google.com/SusunK/Havasu…

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Thanks Susan. I know there are many people who want to know what it's like down there now and will be eager to plan a trip.

See you in October

Sedona, AZ
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2. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Oh, and congrats on 7K. You rock at TA.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

I made 7K? Wow, hadn't even noticed. Thanks Red

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4. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Wow your pictures are absolutely beautiful! You so often hear conflicting reports about the area that I wasn't sure if we wanted to take this on sometime in the future! But seeing how much fun y'all were having and the scenery is changing my mind!!

Thanks for posting it all!!

(also congrats on 7K)

SJG

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5. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Thanks SJG. I suppose it is an "at least once in a lifetime" kind of place to visit.

At this juncture I feel like it was worth it.

I did want to mention that though there are helicopters for transportation available on some days of the week they really are not viable transportation options. Do not assume that you will get down or up the hill any faster. It took my boys about 3 hrs to hike up. It will take anywhere from 5- 10 hrs for the ride in the helicopter.

There were people in line at 5 am when my son went by. By 8am the line was already 50 people long. Thus they waited 4-5 hrs in line in order to be first on at 10:15. The first hour or so no villagers showed up. Think 6 people per ride, about 4-5 rides an hour and only 30 of those people made it out by 11. After the villagers started showing up it was about 2-3 hrs before any tourists were put on. Pretty sure even with a pack I could have walked out faster.

Harleysville...
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6. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Thank you for sharing your report and your amazing pictures. What a wonderful trip. It looks like an awesome place and you certainly outlined the perils of the trip and the need to be prepared. But what beauty you encountered at the other end!!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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7. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Thanks for the great report and photos. I'd love to do it, but I don't think I could hike back out!

Alabama
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8. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Thanks for posting about your trip and showing pictures. We have reservations June 22 and seeing your pictures makes me that more excited to go. Was that an actual restuarant that you ate at?

Donna

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9. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

What a great trip you had. Really liked the pics.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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10. Re: Havasu Falls trip report, May 2011

Thanks guys, It was a good trip.

bd3/Donna. There are four ways to get food down there.

1) bring your own. This is the best option if you are camping, and a good option for all until the cafe opens.

2) buy it from the store at inflated prices- There were both canned and frozen options- but then you do need a way to heat it up

3) eat at Sinyellas ( a small house the very first building when approaching the village) and not open all day. This is a combination store-hamburger stand. Very nice gentleman and his wife running it out of what I suspect is their home.

4) at the cafe across from the store. This is currently closed with no opening date except "maybe June".

We did a combination of the first three. We did bring in our portable cooktop so we could heat up some canned foods. We used it to cook the hotdogs we bought at the store. The lodge had a microwave in the lobby for guests and it looked like coffee as well, but they closed at 5pm. We also got some small items at Sinyellas. Until the cafe is open the options for eating are pretty limited so you do need to plan ahead and bring in what you can live on while there. As one woman said when I asked if they had been busy that week, "No, everyone cancelled when they found out the cafe was closed. You'd think they could rough it for a few days." Roughing it for us was definitely part of the experience.