I have seen beautiful things in my life. My eyes have taken in the crystal clear sea that hugged a white sand Cuban beach, my heart has pounded with the tumultuous thunder that beat on a Panamanian sky, monkeys have hugged my shoulder among the trees of a sacred forest, bioluminescence has lit up like magic, red rock sand has slid between my fingers and my body has been cleansed by the holiest of waters in Bali. But hands down, Havasupai was the most wondrous juxtaposition I have ever laid my eyes upon.
Our twelve feet dragged along the rocky trail which hugged a winding river made up of swirling blue-green water that lackadaisically glittered downstream. The team split to find a camp spot ideal for hammocks and hang outs but it wasn’t until our fourth try that we found the picturesque ground. A serene spot where water babbled downstream where it had one last twist and turn until its metamorphic free-fall into Mooney Falls. The hammocks were slung with care, pants were peeled off in favor of shorts, tents grew from the ground and by 1 o’clock we were at it again.
Havasu Falls wasn’t too far therefore it became the first wonder we would check off our list. Once we arrived the mist danced out and sprayed our bodies with sparkling zest. I tossed my shoes aside and proceeded to awkwardly walk upon the shifting rocks getting closer to the falls. I didn’t change, I was only going to explore a little bit and I could not be bothered. I welcomed the chilly liquid blanket that embraced my legs as I pranced along the rocky edges of postcard I was living in. My eyes widened taking in Havasu from all angles, watching as smaller falls folded open in front of me. Exploring along the edge of one of the layers it happened, gravity that pesky beast pulled me down into the water up to my shoulders and I was soaked.
Emerging from the falls wearing the water as my cloak I was revitalized. Half of us wanted to make it up to Little Navajo Falls before we retired for the day so the group split and off we went. Watching water drop to the river like crystals cascading from a chandelier, I took it all in. We were standing in the midst of The Grand Canyon looking at an oasis of water tinted turquoise from lime and this was my reality. However, the miles tore into us and our stomaches panged with hunger so back to the camp we went. The warmth of the sun was on my back, wind licked my skin, my muscles were craving a hammock and although my eyes were filled with amazement they were lacking sleep so off I went in three long blinks. By the time I woke it was time for dinner, as the minutes passed our group trickled down to three playing Gin Rummy surrounded by twinkling fairy lights until it was time to nestle in the tent and arise with the sun.
Since we didn’t beat the sun when we woke it was decided that Beaver Falls would be the farthest edges of the map we would push. Although we were disappointed not being able to hike the Confluence we took a shift mindset and instead of focusing on the things we did not do, we tried to focus on all the beauty we were able to witness. A little past nine and the descend to Mooney Falls began. An adventure through caves and down ladders, a real-life Indiana Jones experience that spits you out muddy handed right in front of the mist to the falls. The hike to Beaver is half the fun water-crossing, galavanting on rocks, emerging through holes in the earth and siting layered falls upon layered falls. We finally made it to Beaver where we inflated our tubes and floated the day away until it was time to return to Mooney where we played with yoga poses and sat on rocks still awestruck by Mother Nature in her entirety.
After our ascent back to the campground we decided that it was time to fill our bellies with one final fry bread. Our three hearts were racing trying to beat the clock to Mishay’s grill where she prepared us some Nutella and banana fry bread and entertained all of our inquiries about her life on the reservation, her business endeavors and personal ambitions. Though our questions were prying at times she never grew weary of our ongoing curiosity. An hour filled with laughter and glittering conversation ran away from us. The sun nestled itself behind the canyon walls and the world started to dim signaling that it was time to head back to camp. Leaving Mishay, my heart had felt so grateful and warm it truly was the quintessential ending to my trip, the next morning we would rise with the sun and beat the heat out of the canyon.
With daybreak came the ending to my dreamlike existence in Havasupai. My fear and self doubt were veiled as thinly as as an afterthought. We had twelve treacherous miles staring us straight in the face, our ambitious goal was 1 o’clock but we were making better time than that. Nothing but positive vibes, teamwork, ambition and our packs came with us on our trek back. As a team we were able to make it to the hilltop by 11:24. We made it out in 4 hours. Our bodies were tired but our pride was unmistakable and we wore it like a crown.
On our car ride home the air buzzed as we all disclosed our rose, bud and thorn of the trip. We slid our way back into Phoenix over a hundred plus miles of warm asphalt that wound through a desert sky and cacti. Luckily there was enough time to grab a deliciously fresh salad before we got back to Katie’s where we would rinse the grit and grime off our skin before heading out. And just like that our team was scattering back to their homelands disappearing into the sky holding onto memories of Havasupai that will last a lifetime.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or send me a message!