The designation “desert” gives the complete wrong impression when it comes to Havasupai. I had seen hundreds of images and videos online, but even the best photographers couldn’t capture how truly magnificent this landscape is. Sheer sandstone cliffs line both sides of the narrow canyon we spent the last 5 hours hiking through. Cracks and spires speak to the geological stresses over hundred of thousands of years. And the stone, so warm against the turquoise clarity of the river. The river itself cuts through the canyon in a series of waterfalls, one of which we are camped above. From my tent I can hear the full roar of water falling 200 feet to the next pool below.
The hike was more difficult than I anticipated. My pack was the lightest and stilled weighed just over 35 pounds. Two hours in one friend in our group realized his RED camera had a broken part that he could only fix back up at the cars. We debated, but in the end we decided to take turns carrying his pack – the heaviest – so that he could run two hours back up the 2,000 feet of elevation we just hiked down, then take another 5 hours to meet us at camp. We passed the 50 pound bag around, unwanted and cumbersome…
My shoulders ache and my hips bruise from the waistband pressure. We hop over streams, trudge through sandy mud, and navigate loose rocky soil. I don’t know why we love backpacking, but we do. We pay money to do this, to have basic comforts parred down to what we can fit on our own backs.
Yet now we are here. My belly is full of Thai curry and noodles and I’m insanely cozy. My eyelids are drooping three minutes after 8 p.m. Tomorrow we will hike more but for now I am so content.