|Sorry about the annoying dates on all these photos...I used Tallualah's mini $20 camera.|
Had we just travelled two days to the wrong place?
|Me and Cy in the rain and hail|
There we were... 11 families, the youngest child just seven years old. At the top of the Havasupai Canyon loading our bags onto 22 mules for the six-hour descent to the camping ground. The skies opened. There was lashing wetting rain, crashing thunder and lightening - and hail the size of golf balls. My lip started wobbling...until I heard something that raised my spirits.
It was a group of Brits huddled together in rain ponchos and carrying enormous backpacks.
"This is nothing! Remember that time it rained two weeks straight in the Lake District?" Laughter and more cheery anecdotes.
"Luxury!!! What about the time it snowed for three weeks in Scotland and we stayed in that place that was colder than outside?" More delighted chortling.
The forecast had been rain but I was thinking warm Hawaiian drizzle. It was time to put on my Big Girl Pants. C'mon, I told myself, there's a seven year old girl doing this!
|Making way for the mule train, they don't stop for anyone|
|Ok we're here!|
|Camp all set up|
|Beaver (titter) Falls|
|Cy at the end of the Mooney Falls descent|
|Down through the tunnels of Mooney Falls|
|Beaver (titter again, doesn't get old) Falls|
|Fidel Jones, who cleans the toilets and does maintenance, gets us up dancing|
|After the hungry horse hit|
|Lazy-ass pretending to do stuff|
|Kevin doing a wee jump|
|Scary Hair Day at Red Rock|
At the end of a long day we reached the campground which was basic, clean and well maintained. Around us was a wonderland of falls of up to 120ft. The water was a Caribean blue-green - a result of the high calcium content. White sandy beaches, cottonwood trees and towering red rock canyon walls completed the surreal lush-moonscape.
I must be the most Un Kiwi person alive - the truth is I hate camping, there's the sweaty swishiness of sleeping bags, I don't mind the loos are long drops but they're 100 ft away...and if you're not doing something helpful, you feel like you should be.
The fun side of the "rustic" was that we woke to a strange stomping, turned out to be a naughty horse getting into our garbage and scrunching on all the fruit. We had two friendly dogs who sniffed us out too. No wonder: our meals included bacon and egg breakfasts, hot cocoa hand-made in El Salvador and cauliflower, garbonzo and five-spice chicken. We had bought so much that we left five large boxes of food for the villagers.
Did we feel any danger? We'd been warned that though alcohol and drugs were banned on the Supai Reservation, alcoholism and meth addition has led to violent crimes. Apparently tourists have rarely been affected by these crimes though, with the one tragic exception of a Japanese women who was brutally stabbed in 2007.
We found the campground staff helpful and friendly. Fidel Jones, who cleaned the toilets fashioned a make-shift drum from cleaning supplies (a cleaning bucket and sponge) and taught us traditional songs and dances.
To be honest, my biggest worry was how I was going to get down Mooney Falls, a slippery, sheer 120ft cliff with only chains to hold on to. One slip was certain injury and possible death. I still can't believe we all did it. Again I was spurred on by the thought that a teeny seven-year-old girl was climbing down without complaint.
As we tramped out of the Canyon on the last day, I mused that usually in any group situation there emerges one annoying person who unites the rest. In our seven days together that annoying person never emerged. Until I realised. Oh heck, it might have been me...
If you go from the East Bay: Two days of nothingness. Drive in a straight line for four hours to Bakersfield ( DoubleTree Inn is a good option) Next day turn left and drive six-eight hours to Haulapai Lodge in Peach Springs, an hour from the trailhead.
If you go from elsewhere: Fly into Las Vegas and drive three hours to the top of the Canyon. On the way is Skywalk, a see-though circular walk out over the Canyon. You can't miss the turnoff, there's a place offering the chance to shoot automatic machine guns(!) The Hoover Dam is on your way too.
Outrage and sadness this week. And deep admiration for those who are reaching out selflessly to help others. Boston.
J. - You did it!!!!! I am so envious you have people around you who asked you to join them.ReplyDelete
Annoying. You? Never. Charming scaredy cat with a fun accent - definitely!
Wow, welcome back; a bit of me is very jealous, but not of the rain, I've seen enough of that! Camping is not really for me but the pictures of the falls look idyllic, I could be persuaded.ReplyDelete
Beautiful locations often goes hand in hand with scary activities in my experience. Well done, Jody.ReplyDelete
I could have been one of those Brits playing the weather one-upmanship game!
Well done Jody. I'm glad there were proper loos and you didn't have to go au naturel...ReplyDelete
Looks a lovely place, and now you've been there and done the camping, you don't have to do it again. :)
The ultimate activity holiday! It really does look beautiful there, glad you came back in one piece!ReplyDelete
Great photos. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Whanau time,ReplyDelete
; everyone is their imperfect selves, not everything lives up to our expectations, we get more than we bargained for and we love it!
Kia ora, my cousin! Great to hear from you. Yes to the imperfect selves - think our family has perfected that right? Arohanui KathleenDelete
I am so proud of you! I hate to camp as well and I have been thinking of you all week! The pictures are beautiful and it looks like an amazing place!ReplyDelete
Oh I'm laughing at your last line! My biggest fear as well on a trip where everyone gets along... was it me?! What an amazing adventure - those falls are spectacular, well worth the mules and hail and rain to get there.ReplyDelete
Stunning photographs ... but I think I'd be the wimp with the wobbly lip who more than likely would have refused to go any further! Question is, would you do it again?ReplyDelete
These photos took my breath away. Havasupai Falls is now on my bucket list :)ReplyDelete
All I can say is wow. I am in awe.ReplyDelete
I've actually seen Brits lying on a rocky beach in the rain when it was too foggy to see the ocean. I thought they were stubborn and intrepid, Himself's reaction was that they'd paid for a week's vacation and couldn't get their money back. I'm shameless about grabbing photos, but all that came out was gray.
I do have staunch memories of "picnicing" on the beach in Cornwall with lobster and gailing windsDelete
It looks completely amazing, despite the weather. I'm adding it to my list too.ReplyDelete
Wow! I think you are a rockstar kind of outdoorsy girl when you need to be. What a fantastic memory you created for the family. The falls look spectacular by the way.ReplyDelete
I think that buffont hair style looks pretty chic!
Oooh, looks lovely. And don't be fooled by the Brits and their stiff upper lip-ishness. That's just what we do when we're trying not to burst into tears!ReplyDelete
You did it! You rock Jody! Those photos are incredible.ReplyDelete
Wow that looks like quite the great spotReplyDelete
Sounds like it was enjoyed a lot
Even if it took some doing to get you going
Quite the showing
And the annoying person was you
hahahaha that is funny to me at my zoo
I am pretty impressed that you did this--- El Salvadoran hot cocoa and all! Love the photos!!!ReplyDelete
GOOD GRIEF YOU DID IT!BRAVA BRAVA BRAVA!DONT THINK I COULD HAVE DONE THE CLIFF CHAIN THING!SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS A WONDERFUL FAMILY EXPERIENCE!ReplyDelete
this is what i imagine guantanamo bay is like.....ReplyDelete
i'll see you at the four seasons george V.
It looks like a grand adventure...glad you enjoyed/survived it!ReplyDelete
Full marks for going on the adventure. And living to tell the tale.ReplyDelete
Reminds me of a note from another family: We live by the falls; drop over some time.
Blessings and Bear hugs!
A horse got your garbage? Wow, do you live an exciting life. I agree about the Doubletree in Bakersfield - great cookies. I'm so impressed that it all went together so well, even though it looks like a lot of work too. And the water is such an amazing unusual color.ReplyDelete
Yes and I forgot to mention we brought all the food from Oakland, with much of it -pre-frozen such as milk. Of course - sod's law - there is a Safeway about an hour from Peach Springs as you come in!!!Delete
Crikey , just looking at Mooney Falls gives me the vapours...well done.ReplyDelete
Named after the bloke who fell down them, apparently he clung on for three days- as legend had it.Delete
Hotels were invented for good reason!ReplyDelete
What a great adventure! Just think... you will remember this forever!ReplyDelete
Fabulous scenery and well done for managing the descent - you're a better woman than me!ReplyDelete
Looks super xReplyDelete
Jody, Your family amazes me. Not sure if we could do this. A trip top never forget for sure! What a beautiful spot! The last picture was the best! Camping is so not glamorous. That's why I love you Jody!ReplyDelete
The scenery is to die for and its only fair you should have a drop of rain. Think what we have to put up with year round.ReplyDelete
As far as I'm concerned you are now action girl!
You brave woman. I've backpacked heaps and stayed in a shack in the rainforest but I have never EVER attempted camping.ReplyDelete
I def the hike (or tramp as we Kiwis say) all day and sleep on bed at night.Delete
Oh my goodness those falls are gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Beautiful scenary. Love your hair day. Ha!ReplyDelete
Is this like the time you got lost with your sister for three days??? I have been hearing stories from your big sister, via my mother. It would seem they are new BFF's...ReplyDelete
Hi Rachel, I don't remember that one...was I drinking at the time??? Very probably.Delete
You sister tells a story of when you were young and your parents took a family campervan vacation to the states and you and a younger sister went out for a walking adventure/explore and were apparently lost for a couple of days???Delete
Shoot, I do remember getting lost in London and having to busk for the fare home. I do remember i leaving Shazza behind when heading off to Auckland..will ask P about this other one...Oh yes! we cycled around the Cotswolds (thereafter known as the f-ing Cotswolds because it was soooo hilly, it rained, we had no money and we got very lost. And I was the eldest at 17 and Pietra was probably 13. Oh the memories.Delete
PS Rachel, Im completely hopeless about how Google Plus works.. you sign on leads to Google Plus.do I add you to my circle? But not sure if I have one...oh well..you have a blog right?Delete