Don’t go chasing waterfalls, Find the river: The Grand Canyon’s Havasupai Tribe

Should we follow TLC or REM? Better REM. But waterfalls are really nice too. Here Sante is headed downstream, halfway to the river.

For this year’s big fall camping trip headed to the extremely hyped village of Supai in the Grand Canyon and the famed azure colored waterfalls nearby. It was an amazing experience in nature to be in the Canyon and play in the waterfalls and even got to head down to the Colorado River in the National Park for an even more surreal natural experience.

The village is deep in the Canyon

With red sandstone escarpments rising up on all sides of the settlement and eight miles by horse, mule or foot to the nearest road, the town of Supai is really remote by almost any standard.  The Havasupai tribe lives at the bottom of the grand canyon–not on the Colorado, but on an offshoot and is famous for the local waterfalls, too beautiful for words.  Even pictures look fake, you must be there to see.

The Havasupai nation feels a bit like a developing country. But odder, because I was not there for a cultural experience, unlike most of the time I travel abroad. So I was a tourist, ignored by the tribe, the locals, just giving money to the economy. It was strange to me, as poverty abounds, yet I was recreating just like all of the other white tourists. Though I never got comfortable with that, I still thought this trip was our best Fall Friends Camping trip yet…

On the way down to Mooney Falls, the 3rd of 4 famous falls.

The camping trip, was 20 miles of backpacking, sandwiching a great full day of playing in the waterfalls. And, for Sante and I, a run down to the Colorado River. The run, another 16 miles roundtrip from camp, next to (and often through) gorgeous turquoise water colored by limestone, we sought the Colorado. And when we found her, swift and dark green, we ogled where our river goes–it disappears abruptly in to the dark green torrent.

Limestone-rich blue Havasupai waters washing into the green Colorado.

This camp-to-river-to-camp run felt a lot like last year’s Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (see report here), albeit of course much shorter. Still, those 16 miles were rugged with numerous crossings, wadings, and scrambling (and even some short 5th class rock climbing) in order to get all the way down to the Colorado. The trail was generally just barely good enough to run, with a few obstacles thrown in here and there for good measure. A great adventure.

After the run back to meet the rest of the group, we spent the rest of the trip enjoying great hiking, waterfall splashing and creek hopping. Four days, three nights overall: one night on the top of the Canyon and two down inside. Here are (more than) a few pics!

One of many crossings


About zoomloco

I zoom-zoom loco like the pony express.
This entry was posted in Great Nature, Physical Exertion, Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Don’t go chasing waterfalls, Find the river: The Grand Canyon’s Havasupai Tribe

  1. Katy says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing these.

  2. Vitaliy M. says:

    Really cool pictures! Some more motivation to get my butt out to Grand Canyon…never been.

  3. Sony Fugaban says:

    Amazing place! I wish I could go hike there one day …

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