Thursday, August 3, 2017

Havasupai Guide (by someone who's been there once and is not an expert)

Alrighty! In part two of my Havasupai posts I wanted to cover exactly what we packed, how we ate, what the hike was like, and the different waterfalls to visit. When I realized we were going we only had 2 weeks to get ready and I was texting everyone I knew who had been there, and I still had some questions!

Duration: July 20-23rd

Clothing I packed:
2 tank tops
2 shorts
1 long sleeve shirt for sleeping
1 two-piece swim suit (because I wore it the majority of the time, and one pieces can be a pain)
2 sports bras which I also used as swimsuit tops
2 pairs of socks
Running/hiking shoes for the hike in and out
Tevas for day hikes and waterfalls
Regrets: I should've brought at least one t-shirt because my pack's straps rubbed my shoulders.
Also packed a hammock, headlamp, light blanket, a towel, and sunglasses.

What I ate:
4 Mountainhouse meals for dinner (the lasagna was fantastic)
4 premade pb&honey sandwiches for lunch
6 packets of oatmeal for breakfast
Snacks: dried mangos, almonds, Larabars (Trader Joe's is a mecca of good backpacking snacks)
^^me when we got to the village and realized we have 2 more miles^^

The Hike:
9 miles to the village, 2 to the campsite, 11 total. Began hike at 4am the morning of the 20th, arrived around 9:15. Trail starts with steep declining switchbacks and then levels out for the remaining miles. Day hiking is not allowed, and we could see why when the sun came up. We should have started hiking at 3 or 3:30. Wore my running shoes, saw many sad people with Tevas and Chacas that were cutting up their feet by the end of it. There are spouts to refill water in the village and campsite, I was ok packing in only my 24oz waterbottle. Hiked out under cloud cover at 5pm on the 23rd.

Where we camped:
The 4 of us had hammocks so we settled on the first grove of sturdy trees we found. We were very close to both the bathrooms and the water which I loved, because I get a little paranoid tromping through the wilderness at night. It came at a cost though; we were near a main pathway so the headlamps of passerbys would sometimes wake us up. The last day we were there we passed this gorgeous campsite on our way to Mooney Falls, about 5 minutes past our spot, where the river ran on both sides and trees shaded the whole thing. I’d go there next time.

Surprisingly clean composting toilets that were always well stocked, and a fresh water fountain at the campground. The village has 2 small stores, a cafe, and wifi! It also has a lodge if you really want to avoid the camping experience.

The Waterfalls:
Havasu is the iconic Havasupai location. It's great for cliff jumping and had a smaller pool further down. 
Little Navajo is the first falls you see when hiking in, and it's one we would skip next time. Although it had good cliff jumping spots, the water was murky from an earlier storm so we couldn’t see where the rocks were (and there were quite a few there!) Our friend Colin went to Beaver Falls about 2 miles up, and it looked stunning. I would definitely go there instead of Navajo next time.
Mooney had the coolest hike down to it, where you were crawling through rock tunnels, down ladders, and hanging off of chains Angels Landing-style. It also had a rope swing that was awesome, and a picnic table in the water that's a great spot for lunch.

Things We Should’ve Done:
  • Brought playing cards, or a book for down time (there’s a lot of down time)
  • Bring a cheap tube for floating in the river and pools
  • Mosquito nets for hammocks (although I only got 6 bites which is good for me!)
  • Put all food in tupperware or 5 gallon buckets because the squirrels are VICIOUS. They alternated terrorizing all of us, sneaking into my tightly drawstringed pack, digging into my sisters bag, and CHEWING THROUGH MY DAD’S PACK to get to his tortillas. I thought double bagging everything in heavy Ziploc would work #newb it did not at all.
  • Don’t hike long distances in sandals, even if they're tevas or chacas
  • Send a pack back with the heavy stuff. The hike back up is brutal after days of hiking, swimming, and being in the sun. You have 3 options: hike back out like you hiked in, pay $40 to have your pack taken by the mules, or helicopter out for $80. We are cheap so we did it ourselves but we were all having meltdowns on those switchbacks on the return trip.
  • Bring more snacks and gatorade powder for electrolytes
  • Hydrate the day you hike out. We all sorta forgot to and it showed.
  • Bring a rain poncho if going in July or August (monsoon season). On our last night there it poured, which was a blessing because we didn’t have to wake up at 2am to hike out, we could head out immediately with the cloud cover. But Tayler regretted making fun of me for throwing a poncho in my pack.
  • Bring sleeping pills. We didn't want to deal with sleeping bags/pads/tents so we did hammocks and I strongly believe that those are for naps and not overnight. 
  • Bring a collapsible 5 gallon water jug to save on water trips

Ok I think I covered everything! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below:)

Part One found here:

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