Going Deep Into The Canyon

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May 27th 2017
Published: December 4th 2017
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I don't remember the last time I had gone to bed as early as I did last night. After such a long and strenuous day, it was much needed. We all awoke on Saturday morning fully energized after a much deserved good night's rest. After a delicious breakfast put together by Alexei and Jeff, we all put on our bathing suits and hiking shoes and filled our day packs with water for a full day of exploring. Our group would separate into two groups. Those of us who chose to do the longer more strenuous hike all the way to Beaver Falls would go with Jeff. Alexei would lead the other half of the group down to Mooney Falls and spend more time relaxing and swimming in the various swimming holes. Of course, the group split up into the faster group and the less faster group. Lead by Jeff, I joined Rebecca, Karla, Marlon, and Chris as we hiked through the Havasupai campground towards Mooney Falls. Known for it's tremendous height, challenging access, and turquoise pool at it's base, Mooney Falls, is one of the iconic waterfalls of Havasu Canyon. Before descending down the side of the cliff to the base of the falls, we all took a moment to admire this amazing waterfall. The most challenging part of getting to Mooney Falls is the hike down the side of the cliff through an old mining route tunnels in the cliff face. Bottlenecks also occur as people trying to make their way back up meet those that are trying to come down. All of this made the hike down very slow going. Using chains and ladders to assist us in getting down, we made it to the base of the falls and admired the beauty of this 200 foot waterfall while thankful that we were back on solid ground.

Continuing our hike downstream, we followed Havasu Creek and numerous times had to make a stream crossing in order to keep going. The foliage in some parts along the trail consisted of wild grape andl was quite lush and vedant which isn't surprising considering all the water from Havasu Creek but I still found it quite odd being that we were out in the heat of the Arizona desert. Our destination for the day was Beaver Falls, 3 miles downstream from Mooney Falls. Beaver Falls doesn't have the impressive wow factor of Mooney or Havasu Falls. However, what it lacks in height, it makes up for in cascading pools over limestone terraces with awesome turquoise pools perfect for swimming. Finally arriving at the upper falls, I was envious of all the people here just swimming in the cool waters or relaxing on their inflatable rafts. We hiked down as far as we could down to the lower falls where we came across some people cliff jumping from about 100 feet. We watched for a bit and eventually Chris and Marlon decided to take the plunge. Without hesitation, Chris jumped in and after a little coaxing and encouragment Marlon finally made the plunge. I really wanted to join them but after seeing that they would have to pull themselves back up to the cliff on a rope, I decided against it. I knew that I would struggle pulling myself back up and would probably need a rescue. While cliff jumping, Jeff began preparing a delicious lunch under a shady spot while we all enjoyed cooling down in one of the many travertine pools of Beaver Falls.

After lunch and some time swimming, we begain the long hot hike back to the campground. Before arriving back at Mooney Falls, we decided to take a side excursion into Fern Canyon. This small side canyon required a bit of effort to get to. A huge boulder had lodged itself into the only entrance into this canyon and we had to squeeze ourselves into a small gap in between the boulder and canyon. Once we all squeezed in, we spent the next 45 minutes just relaxing on a huge rock and enjoyed the sounds of silence. I think at one point, we all may have even dozed off for a bit. Making our way back to Mooney Falls, we encountered a huge traffic jam of people trying to make their way back up the ladders. There was probably around 100 people in line to ascend the ladders back to the campground. All of us were waiting for just a few people who were making their way down and preventing those of us at the bottom from asceding. Whenever the people coming down were close to finishing, someone else from above would start descending. Those of us at the bottom were starting to become rather agitated and started yelling for the people above to stop anyone else from descending. Eventually, we all started our ascent back up and were back at the campground relaxing for the remainder of the evening. At around 10pm that evening, we all hiked over to Havasu Falls to a clearing in order to check out the night sky. The stars here were some of the brightest that I had ever seen as we were in complete darkness far away from any light pollution from a big city.

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