My second time at the Grand Canyon, 15 years later was a 3 day camping trip to the majestic part of the Grand Canyon called the Havasu Falls: A series of beautiful and photogenic waterfalls on the Havasu Creek, a tributary to the Grand Canyon. The water flows out of limestone, which gives it a pleasing blue-green hue.
I remember traveling down the north rim 15 years ago with 40 lbs on my back and I thought I had seen it all. Was I mistaken!
This marvel has so much to offer and more. This time around we backpacked down to the Havasupai reservation land, camping at there for two nights and three days. This paradise land has about 3-4 beautiful green-blue waterfalls, each tremendously stunning. If this isn’t in your bucket list, I would recommend it. The best part - Zero internet connection and memories of a lifetime! The waterfalls end in large plunge pools - clear, deep and inviting. People come from around the world to view the waterfalls and Grand Canyon scenery, and swim in the pools. The area is part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation and is managed by the tribe. The number of visitors is restricted and reservations are required. See the tribe's website for contact numbers and info about making reservations. You must apply for reservations months in advance for trips during the tourism season : http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/Havasupai-Camping/havasupai-camping.html
To the left is the picture I took on Day 1 at base camp and to the right was Day 3 when we were leaving of the same falls after a mudslide and floods. These parts are prone to flash floods.
Half way down the hike to base, we were at the Havasupai village. Deep inside a 3000 foot-deep hole and home to the Havasupai Tribe “People of the blue green water”, this is the ONLY town in the Grand Canyon. This Supai village is home to America’s only Mule Run Mail Stop. With a total population of about 280 people as recorded by the US Census in 2010, —a series of linked mules carrying packages and letters. Each parcel that makes it out of Supai has a special postmark—one that’s well known to backpackers, who often mail out (or mule out) their heavy packs via the postal service rather than drag them back up eight steep miles
When Europeans and later the U.S. government began to grab Native land, they considered the unusual beauty and rich mineral content of the Havasupai region especially worth taking. By the late 19th century, tribal lands dwindled from 1.6 million acres to just 518. Havasupais were confined to the bottom of a small canyon without the plateau lands they traditionally used in winter.
The tribe appealed to Congress seven different times over the course of 66 years—until President Ford finally signed an important bill into law. As the National Park Service writes, the U.S. government added 185,000 acres to the Havasupai reservation, along with 95,000 acres of access to traditional-use lands within Grand Canyon National Park. Some areas are still under National Park Service operation, but the Havasupais can once again access some of their original plateau areas. The joyful moment when Havasupai lands were restored in 1975 remains an important one in modern Native American legal history.
Right in the center of the village is a helipad for hikers who decide to get airlifted. Getting to base camp after this was a beautiful experience! Just the views of the gorgeous and the blue waterfalls were memories to keep.
Once you set base camp, and collect your bags from the Mule train, you can walk down to the Havasu falls and spend the evening there just walking through the falls, pitch a tent at the top or just hang out for a sunset dinner. Over the next few days we trekked through the tributaries that give life to the Colorado. I was told this has the elements of a documentary where the wildlife is rich, the grass is green and you are in this gorgeous outer space world. This much exceeded all of that! The striking mixture of dry mountain air combined with tropical lush foliage is something out of this world
We embraced the walk back, switch back and all, grateful for the experience we just had. Like all things beautiful, glad to have been there!
Back past Supai village where its residents carried their weekly groceries, kids walked around the new school that they just put together for the tribe. One of us stopped to get a picture of a group of men carrying large gallons of water to the only grocery store/restaurant in the village. “Yeah get a picture of the Real People”, he said. One can only hope that all of nature’s beauty, saved for us to experience, brings the residents a piece of what they deserve, what they might want…the real people of the Canyon!
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