Awesome. If I had to describe our trip to the Grand Canyon in one word, that would be it. My husband put it this way: “It’s not a vacation, it’s an adventure”.
If a 12+ mile hike in and a steep decent into a waterfall sounds like a vacation to you, you’re my hero. To us it was truly an adventure, and one we won’t ever forget. Whether it’s a vacation or an adventure to you, it’s something you must do at least once in your lifetime.
It’s just about 12 miles to the village of Havasupai, and then it’s another mile or more to the campground depending on where you decide to camp.
So how did all that go for us? Well, let me tell you. I didn’t realize I had bad knees until after those first 2 miles going downhill. By then my knees were killing me and we had so far left to go. I plugged away at it, stopped once to wrap it and then kept on, afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it otherwise. By the time we got to the village I was ready for some ibuprofen, and hiking the final 2 miles to the campground was misery. With every step I thought there was no way I could go any further, but I knew all I could do to get there was to keep walking! And I made it, of course! As for the kids? They did amazing!! Erik, our 5 year old, seriously beat nearly every single person in our group of 30. Everyone kept asking if they could tie a rope to him and let him pull as all along, and he was nicknamed the Roadrunner, because he was literally zipping down that trail like he was running from Wile E Coyote. I was near the beginning of the pack even with my injury, with Logan right behind me. Brooke was one of the last, hiking with some of the other ones taking their time and in no hurry, which was wonderful for us to be able to keep pushing ahead and know she was just fine with them.
All of the campgrounds are wonderful. Most are along the river, some closer than others, and it’s just beautiful. I loved going to sleep at night to the sound of the water, and it was nice for the kids to be able to walk a few feet from the campsite to play.
There was tons of wildlife and village animals to enjoy. Fuzzy caterpillars were everywhere, and the kids enjoyed playing with them.
It wasn’t uncommon to have a horse or dog wander right through the campground either. How’d you like to wake up to this?
The waterfalls were gorgeous! We spent the first day at Mooney Falls, the biggest waterfall there at 190 feet.
It requires climbing down a crazy trail, with huge steps, chains and stakes to hold onto while you descend the rock wall. Yes, I said descend the rock wall.
See that picture above, the one on the right? Click it. It should zoom you in a bit. Those are bodies, people climbing down the cliff…
So Mooney Falls…The water comes off the cliff so fast and hard that you cannot go under it. Earlier this year a man lost his life because he tried going under the falls and was unable to get out, as the water literally pins you to the bottom. One of our friends tried backing under it slowly and got pulled under, and literally struggled with all his might to get out. He wasn’t even that far into it. He said he seriously wasn’t sure if he was going to survive or not, as his feet couldn’t stay put on the bottom to grip and get out. Very scary. However, there are other spots with mini-falls just a short ways past the main falls there at Mooney, and they’re fun! You can jump off the top into the water below, and you can go behind the falls here too.
After we spent a few hours and ate lunch at Mooney Falls, we all hiked out and went up to Havasu Falls.
This waterfall falls nearly 100 feet into a gorgeous, huge pool of water, with many smaller pools and small falls just past it. We really enjoyed the time here, as it was less swift than Mooney, and had many more shallow pools that the kids- especially Erik- felt comfortable playing in.
We were able to swim behind these falls and climb the rocks to jump into the waterfall, which then pulls you down and pushes you out to the pool surrounding it. Very fun, but a bit sketchy trying to get behind it. The force of the falling water pushes you against the rocks, and it’s a constant struggle to get back there. Then finding the right spots to pull yourself up is sketchy. Once you get up there and jump though, it’s amazing! So much fun! The guys kept doing it over and over again, but as exhausted as I was just trying to do it once, I decided I wouldn’t push it.
We witnessed the baptism of one of our dear friends while we were there. What a gorgeous place to commit your life to the Lord!!
The hike out was far easier than in for me. After 2 days my knee was still hurting quite a bit, so I was administered to and had all of our group keeping me in their prayers. My knee felt amazing after that, and I know God really blessed me. The final 2 miles of the hike are rough, as they’re all uphill, but I was able to make it. The kids did amazing on the way out. They all kept up with us, with Erik even running with a few of the others for part of it. Even so, Brooke and I actually finished ahead of the boys and were quite proud of that. In their defense, when the boys needed to stop for a snack Brooke decided she didn’t want to stop, so I went ahead with her and Gary stayed with the boys while they ate… We were out near the front of the group again, and it was fun to sit at the top and cheer everyone on as we saw them trudging up the last mile of the hike. It is pretty crazy, and I just kept my eyes on the road, going as far as I could before taking a quick break to rest my legs and gazing at the end of the trail, longing to be there.
This trip was wonderful for us. Not only did we have an amazing time with our friends and family, but it also feels so good to be able to say we did it! I was so proud of my kids for doing such an amazing job, and it felt really great to know that I could pack my own pack in and out and survive it! We can’t wait to go back!
So that’s our story in words and pictures… Does it make you want to visit the Grand Canyon even more than you probably already did?! Well, here in the next week or two I’ll be blogging more about the trip. I’ll be sharing with you the must-have items for a trip like ours, a few reviews, getting prepped and ready to go for your own Grand Canyon hike, as well as the options you have if you don’t want to hike the entire thing but still want to go! Yes, you do have options!!! Stay tuned!
See my other Grand Canyon posts!