I head out towards the campsite and towards the promise of the Havasupai waterfalls. The dry dusty desert landscape ends when bright green trees and bushes start emerging on the sides of the trails, and I begin to come across some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever experienced. Bright red canyon walls surround lush green vegetation with blue green waters pouring through in between. The combination of colors takes my breath away and I gasp under my breath, “welcome to Havasupai”. I learn later that the first falls I came across on day one are known as Little Navajo. A short walk later and the blue waters get even sharper in color, if that is even possible and I get my first look at Havasu Falls, the most recognized of the waterfalls here, standing at just over 100 feet tall and pouring into a pool of inviting water.
Many visitors here will spend their days at Havasu Falls, jumping off the surrounding smaller waterfalls, swimming in the warm pools and simply feeling the power of the waterfall. What they miss out on is the other waterfalls and impressive hikes that await visitors. I hadn’t come to blow up an inflatable tube and float in the rivers, I had come to explore the area. Luckily for me there are five major waterfalls and countless smaller ones to explore, each taking you on a different path through the canyon.
One of the most exciting hikes is anywhere from 6-10 miles from the campground, with the promise of a swim in Beaver Falls, the last big waterfalls in the chain of the five in Havasu Canyon. We head out after breakfast towards Mooney Falls where a series of steps, ropes, chains and ladders await the fearless. Finding our way down the cliffs using the tools above which at times can be slippery from the spray off from the falls is both a scary and hilarious experience. Mooney Falls is the tallest waterfall out of the five, standing at almost 200 feet and is named after prospector James Mooney who set out to find a way to reach the bottom of the falls, but tragically fell to his death. This descent is necessary for hikers wanting to go on to Beaver Falls.
Beaver Falls is an absolute blast, with endless pools and waterfalls that you can swim in, jump in and otherwise laze around in. Side note: could have use the inflatable raft at this point.
As I spent the next 3 days hiking through trails with greenery as tall as me, jumping off waterfalls into travertine pools, slipping into underwater caves and diving through the actual falls it began to occur to me I never wanted to leave. Although I managed to see all five big waterfalls (Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Little Navajo Falls, Beaver Falls and Mooney Falls), there was so much left to discover. Ancient legends as to why this land is sacred, hidden waterfalls that led to a path of bright pink flowers, old mines with hundreds of caves within, I hadn’t even begun to scrape the surface of this incredible place. What I did find though was a place that truly seemed magical, a place that rocked my soul to its core, that made me remember that our world is a sacred place, that we need to be protecting it and taking care of it. Havasupai reminded me that beauty exists all around us, whether is be in the deep of the canyon walls or in the eyes of a Supai child eating a blue Popsicle on a hot day. And at the end of the week I very happily packed out everything I brought in, dunked my toes in the water one last time and trudged out 10 miles with my head held high, knowing I had experienced something like never before.