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Havasu Falls Backpack
June 7-11, 2002
by Joe Michalides
Motorolans made it down to the Redwall.

Out of the original 12 slots available only 8 people ended up going on the June 7-11 Havasu Falls backpack. Attendee list included:

Dennis – Sierra Club
Gloria – General Dynamics
Stuart – General Dynamics?
Judy from Wilmette, IL – Sierra Club
Kevin from Vernon Hills, IL – Sierra Club
Lloyd – Motorola
Sam – Motorola
Joe – Motorola and hike leader

We got a late start Saturday morning. I picked a start time of 8:00 AM which allowed people to drive the 65-70 miles from their motels in the Peach Springs area to the trailhead, however it also exposed us to the sun which was almost directly overhead by 9:30.

Down in the canyon.
We found a cave in the rocks.
Dennis and Sam were late so we left without them. Turns out they arrived late after work Friday night in Peach Springs and all of the gas stations were closed and were not going to open until 8:00 AM Saturday morning, our meeting time at the trailhead. So we left the trailhead at 8:40 AM.

We stopped in the shade for a rest after about 3 miles. After removing our backpacks Stuart noticed Judy was spilling her water and nodding off. We laid her down on a rock and raised her feet. She recovered in a few minutes. Judy is a very strong hiker; however, being from Chicago, the heat may have gotten the better of her although she claims it was removing her backpack that did it. She was fine after that.

We arrived without incident about 1:15 in the Indian village of Supai where we stopped at the restaurant after checking in at the ranger station. Everyone expect Sam reserved a mule to take their backpacks out and Gloria, Stuart and Lloyd also reserved horses.

Side canyon to the left of Mooney Falls, our backs to the Falls.
Joe and Sam wade across the stream.

While at the restaurant Dennis and Sam, our petroleum-challenged group members, showed up. I stayed with them at the restaurant while Judy, who did this hike with me last October, took the rest of the group the remaining two miles to the campground.

Saturday afternoon was hot as was most of Saturday night to Sunday morning. There was a heavy wind blowing that was kicking up the sand and making it hard to see at times. The wind kept on and off until late Sunday night, early Monday morning when it stopped. It brought in cooler temperatures making for pleasant sleeping at night and great swimming during the day.

We spent most of Saturday afternoon setting up camp and viewing the falls.

Sam and Dennis hiked into town to attend mass at the local chapel Sunday morning. Sam was disappointed as he was hoping for something different from the usual Sunday service.

Judy and Kevin went for a hike along the rim at the canyon that is just to the left when viewing Havasu Falls. Judy and Lloyd also hiked to Navajo Falls.

Judy, Sam and I climbed down Mooney Falls on Monday and walked as far as the valley covered in grape vines. As my feet were still killing me from the hike down I suggested we go back.

The falls were fantastic!
Judy, climbing down Mooney Falls.

The pools were fantastic and the water color is so aquamarine it looks artificial. The affect is of a massive water park at some resort. One trip to the outhouse quickly dispels this illusion. Toilet paper was in short supply.

On Monday Stuart got news that someone had stolen his Suburban back at the parking lot. It was discovered in Peach Springs by the police. Last I heard the Bureau of Indian Affairs and local police had arrested three suspects and Stuart was deciding on whether to repair or write it off as a loss. All of the windows were broken, there was body damage and several items were stolen. The local Indian policeman’s name was Billy Jack, as in the 60s movie of that name.

Tuesday most of us got up at 5 AM for the long hike out. Dennis and Sam got up earlier and hiked out. Judy, Kevin and I brought up the rear. Stuart, Gloria and Lloyd passed us on the trail on their horses and were first to arrive at the trailhead.

Sam drove Stuart and Gloria into Kingman, where his truck had been towed, to see about repairs. Sam drove them home to Mesa.

All in all, with the exception of the truck theft, everyone had a great time. The canyon into/out of the village is spectacular, the vistas from the switchback down to the canyon floor are something to see and the various water falls in the campground are breath taking. The drought this year has done nothing to diminish the water output of the massive spring that feeds these falls. It was well worth the trip.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated August 28, 2018