May 6, 2010
I made a 3rd lifetime visit to Havasu Falls for the 3rd consecutive year in 2010.
My friend Jamie had come to visit, and we made an impromptu decision to go with other local friends, Robin and Matthew, who’d never been there before.
These were some of the last days before Havasupai blew up with Instagram popularity in the 2010s, so the rules were a little less enforced at the time. All of my first three visits to Supai were done as day hikes.
The first was just Jamie and me, and the second was just me, solo. This is the third.
On the first two occasions, it was just a matter of driving to the trailhead, hiking down to the falls, and then hiking back. Nobody questioned our presence. On this 3rd occasion, however, our group of four was stopped in the village and asked if we had a permit.
So we finally had to pay individual fees to be there for this hike. I’m not going to share my ballpark memory of the dollar amount online, so as not to encourage others to follow suit. It was disrespectful to the Supai to visit without permission under such pretense.
I think my mindset in justifying it was a hubris in our ability, sprinkled with a sense of local entitlement. I figured because so few people are capable of day-hiking the 20-plus miles in the heat and still enjoying experience, then the infraction would be negligible to due to lack of others doing the same thing.
Today (in addition to the obvious reasons not to try it), even my twisted justification is no longer valid. The rim-to-rim-rim running phenomenon on the National Park’s corridor trails is a perfect example of why that’s simply not the case.
The next time I went to Supai a few years later, it was through the proper channels with the required permits. With the experience came the opportunity to spend a couple of nights in the campground. I haven’t been back since then (a period of about ten years), save for a few jaunts on rafting trips, upstream from the Colorado River.
With that said, here’s a little of what I remember from this day. The highlight of it for me was to explore downstream of Havasu Falls for the first time, through the campground to the top of Mooney Falls.
The group wasn’t comfortable going down the chains route to its base (and we were running out of time), but it was still cool for me to finally get to see Mooney.
The weather was more sufferable than my first visit with Jamie in June 2008. So I think she had a better time, and it was good to help Robin and Matthew get the opportunity to experience this magical place.
And I was of course happy to get more photos of the falls. I especially enjoyed experimenting with longer shutter speeds this time.
New Navajo Falls
Some young guys were jumping from the cliffs (which is not allowed, by the way):