Havasupai Canyon

Four falls, three days, and one Grand Canyon.

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Havasupai Falls is a gorgeous destination deep within the Grand Canyon. It’s unnaturally blue waters and pristine wildlife make it a must-see destination in Arizona.

Selina Fluty, Columnist

On Friday, April 29, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. With groggy eyes, I threw together my outfit for the day, and the Camelback bag stuffed with my clothes and supplies. I quickly put on the hiking shoes I’d been breaking in for over a month now, and followed my dad to the car, where we headed to Mountain Park Community Church to check in. By the time we returned to the church, on May 1, I’d hiked at least 40 miles in three days. I regret none of it.

The church my family goes to funds a yearly trip to Havasupai Canyon, a portion of the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai people live there, a long hike from any outside civilization, where all supplies you can’t find in the village, or transport via horse, are helicoptered in.

My close friend and her family had come along with us, seeing as the canyon was on their bucket list of vacations. There were only four kids out of 53 people who were on the trip, and I was one of them. After six hours of waiting and chatting amongst ourselves, we reached the great expanse called the Grand Canyon.

In all honesty, the place is astounding. There’s a reason the miles of steep rock are one of the wonders of the world. Before us lay almost 10 miles of hiking to the canyon, going down a steep cliff face, then walking along the bottom to our lodge. Along the way, groups of horses careened past us, followed by dogs with tongues lolling out and an easy pace. Red rock, ravens, and overcast skies welcomed us into the deep of the canyon. We adjusted our packs and walked for miles, taking in the rock towering over our head, wild flora waving in some breeze we couldn’t feel. For most of the way, there was no water around – we were heading to a portion of the canyon that had long since dried up.

When we got to camp, red sand became a new enemy. It got constantly caught in our shoes and forced us to work harder to get anywhere. Everyone and their mom’s dog had both a horse and a pup, and a few restaurants lined the way to the lodge. Here, everything is green and red, the village encircled by pillars of red rock, the top dusted with plants and greenery. Ravens and bluebirds shouted their hellos, and the sound of horses stayed with us throughout our three days away from the world.

The forecast was set to be rainy and cold, so when the sun came out despite rain, we headed to the nearest falls, Little Navajo. It’s about a mile and a half from the lodge, yet that distance seems very small, once you’re used to hiking so far to get anywhere. The water, when we reached the falls, was just as blue as you’ve seen in photos. In fact, photos couldn’t even compare to the falls in real life. Behind the tumbling roar of water, rocks were covered in plants, like a tiny jungle behind a wall of water. I later learned that someone from our group jumped off the falls and into the sky-blue water (the water is so blue because of the lime content in the water). I’m jealous, personally. That looked cool.

The next day we had all to ourselves, so after a quick breakfast, my father, my friend’s family, and I all headed out to the next falls, arguably the most gorgeous – Havasu Falls.

You hear the water crashing before you get to the falls. It’s a long hike from Little and Big Navajo (Big Navajo was just as gorgeous, but the massive amounts of water spraying at you made it a bit difficult to enjoy the scenery), but it stops phasing you. The path edges the side of a cliff, and as you turn past an outcropping of rock, the falls (around three stories tall) sprawl out before you. The pool far below is deep blue, and a line of limestone creates shallows to wade in, next to a deeper pool of water, where the spray of the water ended up soaking my friend. Although it was raining and felt around 50 degrees, we still swam in the crystalline waters. The freezing water didn’t deter us, at least for a short while. Then, we still had Mooney Falls to see, which was the tallest of them all.

Mooney Falls resides after the campgrounds, where you could not only buy giant swan floaties for two, but get a massage and fry bread. All-in-all, pretty cool.

Any photo of Mooney Falls you see is probably not going to accurately outline the height of this waterfall. As my dad said, it’s a waterfall straight from the textbook. To get to the bottom of the falls, you have to climb through a cave staircase, then rely on chains slick with mud and water to get yourself down to solid ground. Once you’re down there, you can see that Mooney Falls towers high over your head. It’s almost 200 feet tall, and you have to yell over the sound of roaring water to hear anything.

The water here was freezing, probably because of the constant mist that chills anything up to about 75 feet from the falls. The waterfall hugs a cliff-face, then another steep incline lies on the other side. Once upon a time, that used to be a huge waterfall, but erosion and time wore it away. No matter what, however, the falls were beautiful.

The world of Havasupai is one of the most intricate and almost magical places in the world. Even though the place is far from any outside civilization, the people who take up residence at the bottom of the canyon spend their lives surrounded by beauty.