I added some pictures of our hike past Beaver Falls to the Colorado river, since I can't seem to find any other photosets of that area.
I had an amazing time in this spectacular desert oasis. I can't believe I put off going to Havasupai because of how popular it is. True, the campgrounds were a little full, I did see trash here and there, the hike in isn't the prettiest GC hike I ever done, and some of the porta-potties were gross. But I came in expecting the crowds, trash, an unscenic hike, and I've worked construction before so I know ALL about the porta-potty experience. But from the crowds I saw many gorgeous women in swimsuits, from the litter we got left over floaty toys, and I actually enjoyed the trail even when we hit the swtichbacks on the way out in 100° heat. Not to mention the awesome group that I experienced the Havasu canyon with over FOUR whole days. I only knew one of the guys going in, the rest I only vaguely knew if at all. The common thread among us was that we all shared the same religion.
Day 1: Friday 6pm
We meet at a local church to group and carpool up. Left after 7pm to gas up on the way. We probably didn't leave the valley `til around 8pm. Stopped in Flagstaff to gas up again and grab a little to eat. Headed towards Hualapai hilltop, passing by historic Williams and thru Seligman on the way.
Day 2: Saturday
Arrived at the crowded parking lot/trailhead around 3am, missing one car of our caravan. We learned previosly over cell phone that they missed the BIA-18 turnoff and made it almost to Kingman before turning back. I was in the first hiking group and we headed down around 3:30am, heading down early to get a good campsite. We ended up needing our headlamps for half of the 10 mile hike down. Some of the later groups did head down until the last car arrived and had enough sunlight the whole way down. On our way down, we passed many groups headed out that morning. Hit the travel office around 8am, paid our dues, and found a good campsite by 9am. Set up camp, napped a bit, swam/dived a bit at Havasu Falls, and waited for the last of our group to roll in. When they all arrived and set up there hammocks, many off them crashed most of the afternoon. I explored a mine near our campsite and climbed on the canyon wall a bit. Later some us from the early group went to Havasu Falls again, went back to camp a grab a quick meal, and then went down to Moony Falls and explored down there a bit.
Day 3: Sunday
Slept in after a long day yesterday and had a late breakfast. Some of the group hiked up to the village to goto church, some people had work Monday morning so they left around 11am, while the rest of us swam/dived at Havasu Falls. Then we went back to eat a late lunch, grabbed our headlamps to explore the large mine near Havasu Falls, then went up to Navajo Falls and played there a bit. We later came back and weather-proofed our camp because a storm was rolling in. It ended up raining a bit, but nothing too bad. Before hitting the sacks though, we went back to Havasu Falls around 9pm for some night swimming/diving and skinny dipping. I can't even begin to explain how much fun it was to climb up and dive off a 25ft platform into the falls and the dark plunge pool below.
Day 4: Monday
Three of us woke up early and headed north towards the Colorado River. We had an awesome time exploring the beautiful lower canyon, passing Beaver Falls and the dry Beaver Canyon along the way. After an 8 mile hike down, we made it to the chilly, impressive Colorado River. Definetly worth the extra mileage. We saw many rafters on the hike in, ate a hot lunch while watching another large group row in and dock, and then played in the narrows a bit before proceeding back up. Played in many of the pools along the way to abate the heat, stopped by the last cascade of Beaver Falls to swim/dive, and then continued up eventually meeting the rest of our group just below Moony Falls. We played on the rope swing a bit and then again at Moony Falls before hitting camp for our last night in the canyon. Some people wanted to completely avoid the sun on the hike out, so they left camp around 10pm after we ate dinner and played cards.
Day 5: Tuesday
The largest group woke up at 3am, packed up and left for the parking lot around 4am. My group, the last group, woke up at 6am and waited at the mule station from 7-8am hoping the packs from our group would get loaded up. They didn't due to some paperwork error, so we headed up to village to get it sorted out. They said they would fix the problem, so we hit the trail again after socializing at the church a bit. When we hit the switchbacks it was nearly 100° and one from my group was pale, improperly dressed, and out of water.
I had packed 4L of water, so I gave them some of mine before racing up the hill to tell someone from the early group to run some gatorades down to them. After some worrying, arguing, and checking the helo pad, we decided to check the mule area one more time. To our great satisfaction, some lone guy with 2 mules/horses got the job to pack our bags out and had just made it to the top.
After much thanking and loading of cars, we stopped by Seligman to eat at the historic Snow Cap Drive-In, before hitting the road again and pulling into town around 9pm. Some stayed at the parking lot to watch some remaining fireworks.
All in all, we had an extremely enjoyable experience. I hiked at least 40 miles with all the trips to the falls, hike in and out, and side trip to the river. Both non-hikers and hikers alike will have a great time. It is definely a much, more rewarding experience if you are a conditioned hiker, heat hardened, fairly decent climber, average swimmer, and not terribly afraid of heights or the dark. Make sure to put this destination on your calander.