If you want to read about Day 1 first, check out The Garden of Eden – Havasu Falls, Part 1 and then return here.
Day 2 – Havasu Falls Hike
The second day or our Havasu Falls hike, we rise early, eat well, and hike out of the campground toward Mooney Falls. Yes, there is more. The previous night at dinner, Cody had asked if any of us had issues with heights. One of our fellow hikers asked, “How high?” Good question. But it’s too late to listen to fear. We are in paradise and if I have to jump straight from paradise to heaven, so be it.
Less than a mile from the campground we look over the ledge at a water fall just as blue as Havasu but probably twice as tall.
We are star struck…again, which consequently makes the fear-inducing obstacle ahead of us possible. We crawl through a couple of tunnels in the rock then turn around backward 200 feet in the air, hanging on to chains hammered into the rock walls and climb down the cliff face, our feet searching for little pockets along the way, the ground many feet below us, the beauty of Mooney Falls beckoning us to continue bravely. This is an intense time for all of us and true relief is felt when we reach the bottom safely.
It is only then that we can begin to enjoy Mooney Falls. It is a master piece. I sit on the picnic bench placed in the middle of the water just above the cascades and watch Bill as he is tempted by an irresistible rope swing. Seconds later he is flying and then submersed in the blue-green water.
Cascade after Cascade
We spend the rest of the morning hiking from cascade to cascade. We cross more tilting, bouncing, thrown together bridges which consequently make our campsite bridge seem safe.
We are awed by series after series of cascades and ferns and blue water. It just goes On. And. On.
For lack of time, we turn around and head back to the campsite. If we had continued, we would have found ourselves at Beaver Falls. Instead we hike right through the water until we are back at Mooney Falls and the grand climb rises above us. Sucking in our fear, we force ourselves back up, by the grace of God, without incident.
Little Navajo Falls
Cody prepares us lunch at the campsite then we take in more of Havasu Falls before hiking back toward Little Navajo Falls.
We swim across and walk behind the falls and swim under the pelting falls. People are jumping off the ledges but nothing is guaranteed safe here. Not the cliff jumping or the bridges or the chains. It’s all just wild and risky and incredible. I feel young and alive and privy to one of God’s best secrets.
Fifty Foot Falls
Next we hike up to Fifty Foot Falls. We have heard there is a room behind the rock wall behind the falls. This is a grand challenge to the guys and eventually they belt out, “We found it!” like little boys finding a grand treasure.
Bill shouts to me over the deafening noise of the falls as I tread water against the current the falls are creating. “It’s just right there,” he says. But it looks like I will hit the rock wall if I swim through the falls. He pulls my hand through the hammering falls and places it on the side of the rock opening. I duck under water, below the beating of the falling water, and pull myself behind the falls. Voila! I open my eyes to a little cave of room. What in the world? Is this magical land real? I feel like I just walked through the wardrobe with Lucy. Bill goes back out to bring in everyone else and I watch each person squeal with delight and wonder as they come up and see where they are. So much fun. So amazing. A true adventure.
Saying Good-Bye to Havasu
We swim back to dry land, edge around a loooong seemingly harmless snake, and head back to the campground. We are tired once again but all know our trip is ending. We have taken picture after picture somehow trying to fully absorb what we have seen. It is tear-inducing beauty. Incredulous.
Sometimes I want to jump up and down and squeal. It is more than I can contain or process but we have done our best to relish in the beauty and joy it offers. But now the sun is setting. Our time is up.
We eat another great meal by Cody at the picnic table, pack up as much as we can, and go to bed.
Day 3 – Havasu Falls Hike
We are up by 4:00 am. By 5 am I am walking across our little bridge for the last time, a big crate in tow as if it’s nothing. We leave the crates at the front of the campground for the mules and then hike up to the village. It is dark and uphill and I am wondering how I’m going to make 10 miles and if the helicopters are running, but I keep all these thoughts locked away and trudge on for what seems to be more than a mile to the village. We stop while Cody checks us out of the campground.
A long line has formed at the helicopter pad. They say they’ve been there since 4:30 am. Yikes.
Fortunately, the rest of the hike is pretty level and we conquer it uneventfully. We watch the mule train pass with our stuff. After 7 or 8 miles, we start hearing the helicopters coming in and out.
Soon we reach the beginning of the last leg of our journey – the eternal series of inclining switchbacks. The crossfitters seem to do a good box jump and are out like nothing. Bill is like a power steam engine rolling up the trail. I, on the other hand, am bringing up the rear struggling to keep up as well as I am.
In my defense, I think I am a bit dehydrated because my water bladder wasn’t working the first third of the trip that morning. Cody finally fixed it when I mentioned it to him but maybe I didn’t drink enough in time. At any rate my head is pounding and my feet are heavy. Cody stays with me and coaches me like a proud parent to the top. A Gatorade is waiting for me – the best Gatorade of my life – and then I chug a water before napping the 3 ½ hours to Flagstaff.
Back at the hotel, a shower has never sounded so good and then a nap, supper, and an early bedtime. The next morning we feel fully recuperated, still astounded at what we have experienced, fully aware that no one back home will understand. The secret is ours, regardless of how many pictures we share, how many stories we tell or the blogs we write. And so, if you find yourself longing to be in on the secret, carve out some time to make Havasu your own.
I love talking about this trip so feel free to comment or ask questions.