Sunday, June 24, 2012

Havasupai - People of the Blue Green Water

    Note:  We have had the joy of visiting the Village of Supai twice, but it was when we were much younger.  On those two amazing trips, digital cameras were not yet even a distant dream.  So the photos that follow this story were taken by Katie Tiliotson, a former ASU student.  We thank Katie for sharing her Havasupai experience with us through her beautiful photos.

     If the Biblical Paradise were to have ever been found in Arizona, it most surely would be located in Havasu Canyon, home of the Havasupai Indians.  Here in the land of the blue-green water, the Havasupai (People of the Blue-green Water) live among Arizona's most spectacular waterfalls in their village of Supai.
    The Havasupai Indian Reservation is the most remote of the 20 Indian reservations found in Arizona.  Established in 1882, the reservation today is made up of 185,518 acres.  The 639 members of the tribe continue to make this side canyon of the Grand Canyon their home as their ancestors have done for over 800 years.
    The trip to Havasupai is an adventure of its own.  From just west of Williams, travelers "kick-on" to Historic Route 66 and travel on "America's Mother Road" six miles east of the small town of Peach Springs.  Here they turn onto BIA Route 18 and travel some 68 miles to Hualapai Hilltop.  At Hualapai Hilltop the car is parked and the amazing journey to Supai begins.
    From the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead the hiking trail descends for some 8 miles and over 3,000 vertical feet on a trail that is often in a sandy wash.  Most visitors walk these miles but horses or even a helicopter can be rented.  After 8-miles of walking or riding, visitors enter the Village of Supai.  A hotel is available for those who wish a warm shower, a bed and flush toilets.  Two more miles down the trail from the village is a rustic campground located beside the blue-green water of Havasu Creek and Falls.
     Havasu Creek brings life-sustaining water to the Havasupai people and is the creator of this canyon's amazing beauty.  Traveling for over 50-miles over the high-desert plains to the south, the creek plunges into the canyon and joins with Havasu Springs where an underground river adds more water into the blue-green creek.
    The blue-green color and the travertine formations of Havasu Creek is caused by the large amount of lime found in the water.  It is this ever-changing creek, as it flows toward the Colorado River, that creates the four, beautiful waterfalls found in the canyon.
     Navajo Falls is the first waterfall of the canyon, located just 1 1/2 miles beyond the village.  Havasu Falls is the second waterfall some 2-miles from the village.  It is the most famous of the falls and has appeared on hundreds of calendars and postcards.  A drop of 120-feet into the blue-green travertine pools makes this waterfall a visitor favorite.
     Another 3/4-mile down the trail is located Mooney Falls.  Named after James Mooney who fell to his death here, this waterfall is over 200-feet high which makes it even taller than Niagara Falls.  The journey down a series of chain-ladders to the travertine pools of Mooney Falls is a climb no hiker ever forgets!
     The fourth waterfall is called Beaver Falls.  It is located another 4-miles down the trail toward the Colorado River.  This trail is remote and rugged, so the hiker must be well prepared with water, food and good hiking gear.
    Visitors into Havasu Canyon are limited by the Havasupai Tribe, so reservations are a must.  This is such a special place in Arizona so be sure to make the effort to go.  If you do, you will create for your family and yourself, amazing memories that will last for a lifetime. 

View from Hualapai Hilltop

Pack train moving on down the trail

First view of Havasu Creek

Navajo Falls

Havasu Falls

Rope swing over Havasu Creek

Campground along the beautiful creek

Havasu Creek

Mooney Falls

Spash-pool of Mooney Falls

Playing in the splash-pools

Oh, what a feeling!

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