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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Havasu Falls: The Trail Head to the Campground- Part 2

After an early morning 75 minute drive and carb load (thank you Kemony for the 5am carbs...We love bananas!)  and seeing an Elk, we made it to the trailhead. Chris instructed Trevor and I to remove our banana peels from the truck (oops I forgot mine...) and he took off to use the loo. Trevor and I loaded up our packs, onto our backs, and WTF they were VERY heavy. I was out of breath when I made it the short 100 yards to the trailhead. Crap. I am in darn good shape, too. Huff, puff. What had we gotten ourselves into????

I had my super sexy UV hiking shirt on, although it was absolutely perfect conditions. We set out with 21 folks from age 12-50's, and we all made it!
We set out on the trek, and the first mileish was straight down. We were looking forward to this stretch, and it was actually wonderful. Minus the weight of the pack.

Looking back up at the rest of the group.

The colors were absolutely amazing.
We were on a high, but it was actually very hard. The first mile ish for me was very hard, mentally. I was very uncomfortable with my 40 pound pack, and I did not actually know if I was going to be able to do it. I was not tracking our steps, and barely looking at my watch. It was just heavy. I have been exercising about 5 hours per week, resistance training and cardio, but never with a 4 year old on my back!!!!

I had been on 4 other backpacking trips but not in the last 9 years! I felt a little stunned with the mental part of it, I am not going to lie.

After we settled into a pattern of taking a 5 minute break every hour, I relaxed and started having a blast and a half!!!
I was so prepared for the UV war, ha!
The succulents were absolutely amazing. I couldn't stop taking photos. Could. Not. Stop.

That is my husband. Yup.
Heart rock.

The canyon hike was truly amazing.

There was no lack of photo ops along the 10-12 mile hike. We averaged 3 miles per hour. We were giggling and having fun.
Rocks for daysssss.

After about 8-10 miles we came upon the Supai Reservation. I was so excited to see such a remote location, so interested in this remote town that housed over 500 people. I was sad to see not one chicken nor backyard garden. There was a very hospitable convenience store man who greeted us with such gusto, but other than that I was very disappointed. He also had kombucha and pomegranate juice for sale in his store, so he scored points with me!

Mules or horses for transportation.

There were rustic structures and also homes with septic and cable.

We shed our packs and shoes and basked in the sun barefoot. Yoga poses were done, and celebration was had! We were 2ish miles away. All of the lengths are ish'es as we were always untrusting of the lengths due to being tired, and physically challenged. 2 miles with a pack felt like 4 without one.
After we relaxed for a bit we decided to check in and get our wristband. Once we had our wristband, we took on the ~3 miles for the campground to try to find a site to fit all 21 of us.
We came upon an amazing series of falls which was a tease! We were ready to get there!!! Did we really need extra pairs of undies or that extra meal just in case!? OR for that matter, a sleeping pad!!?
These views were worth everything.

We had lots of laughs with Jamie and Trevor along the way.

And then we came upon the main Havasu Falls! It has been on my bucket list for years, a decade at least. It was insane to see it in person, to see it after a trek, to see it after feeling challenged, giddy, giggly, and high on life. We were THERE!!! I'm surprised I didn't cry!

Well we were not there yet!!! We needed to hike to the campground, which was a bit further from the falls. We were almost there.
There was a natural spring in the campground that was not only beautiful but gave campers fresh drinking water.
Many campers hung hammocks instead of tents.
We had many folks in our group looking for a site. Many folks give many opinions, and that was all well and good, but at that point, the pack had to COME OFF! Chris and I took our pack off and gave the others our blessing to pick a site. It was so nice to take our belongings off! We had almost made it. We made it to the campground about 12pm. And it was awesome because it felt like 5pm, ha!
They did GOOD.
Our site was located along the creek between the main falls and Mooney Falls. That meant a constant creek water trickling magical noise in our ears 24/7. The water is also bright blue appearing due to the lime present in the water.

After we set up camp, sat for a bit, and took a quick power nap, we headed back up to the falls.
There aren't many pictures from our visit with the falls, because we were in it! We jumped in, and talked most of our peeps into jumping as well. After I discovered my love for plunging into freezing cold waterfall water on my 24th birthday, I knew that this was happening again, at the falls. Jumping into the falls brings such a rush! And I'm just talking about jumping in, not from the top or anything too crazy. Jumping in where you can touch and see the bottom and swimming towards the power, towards the beauty, towards the rush. It is addicting and I totally have a new obsession: waterfall swimming.
By the time we made it to the falls, it was only about 3pm, but it was already shaded by the canyon. The water looks tropical but is actually quite chilly, at about 70-72 degrees. It was gorgeously perfect temperature outside, for a late September day, of about 80 degrees. 

This was our site. I mean, YES! We lined up our tents along the river.

I have to say that that first night, after a 10-13 mile hike after a 12 hour drive and not sleeping much the night before-----IT WAS THE BEST NIGHT OF SLEEP IN MY LIFE. I had no worries about my kids waking up, I had the best natural noisemaker, my body was physically worked, and I had ARRIVED. One of my most favorite things about backpacking is that you turn in early. It is just the natural reaction to nature, fresh air, and physical exertion. We were in bed by 8ish. I slept like a rock until 430am, when I woke to pee. I stumbled out the tent, without my glasses, eyes super blurry from all that deep sleep. I found a spot not too far not too near from the trail and did my business. And guess what magic I saw, as I looked up with my sub par vision? The brightest, most fabulous and memorable shooting star shooting it's magic across the entire canyon sky. 

We had arrived.
And I slept in until 8ish. It was amazing.

Sad sidebar- Chris did not have as amazing of a night as I did. He suffered some insomnia that night and got very little sleep, poor guy. I must have slept enough for the both of us. I am still dreaming of that night, weeks later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Havasu Falls: Home to Peach Springs- Part 1

2 weeks ago, Chris and I spent the evening with the kids in the field. Spring and Fall are the best times on the property- the weather is perfect and hours are spent each afternoon. We were getting ready to leave on a 4 day adventure trip!

We set out super early Friday morning, and met up with 21 in total. The ride down was gorgeous through Hope Valley, then desert pretty through Nevada. We were stopped twice for 30 minutes each in roadwork.

 Why not use traffic time for documenting the trip!?
 These two work together every day, and mostly enjoy it!
 Desert stretches.

We made it to Vegas around 6pm. Chris and I were set on having a nice and yummy dinner, and a small group of us split off and made it into Spago. We had a wonderful time, discussing world travel, and adventures, all while enjoying delicious wine and food.
Tired but happy. The usual.

Trevor was our 3rd wheel which was actually fun!
We were in and out in 2.5 hours, around 830pm. We needed to get to our Motel by midnight, and it was still about 3 hours from Vegas. 2 nights later, the Vegas mass shooting happened... :(
We rolled up around 1130pm, and our Motel was straight outta the 1950's/60's. We showered and hit the pillow hard.

415 came in the blink of an eye. Chris woke up at 3 to pee and he was so excited we had another hour of sleep, ha!
If we had been at our Motel at all during the day, we would have seen an awesome also oldish yet charismatic dinosaur mini golf park.
I had Chris stop so I could take these photos as our group departed the Motel, off to the Trailhead on the Havasupi Indian reservation.
There was a bunch of route 66/ radiator springs decor. It was really a quirky place where we spent about 5 hours!

The drive from the motel to the trailhead was about 90 minutes, down a mostly straight road. When we rolled up it was very chilly, even though we knew we would warm up quickly.