Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
Backpacking to Havasupai Falls, day tripping to Beaver Falls

A wild 10-mile hike on a strange, nearly barren portion of the Grand Canyon, this trail to Havasupai ought to get your heart rate up.

The canyon's broad and massive walls leave just enough grade to walk down and make you think, "Hey, I have to actually walk back up this?" Yes, yes you do. I've done this twice now. Both times had their high points and low points.

My fondest memory of this trail comes from the Fall of 2004 when my wife and I trekked down to meet some friends at the bottom; maybe spend a few days playing in the water and razzing each other. She and I recalled the lyrics to every Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers song on the Americano! album on the entire hike down. I tend to pay more attention to the magic drum-work of PH Naffah when I listen to the Peacemakers, so I was surprised to find out that I liked the song Switchblade more than I realized. It's a story, and I like stories. Swinging into the river in Havasu Canyon

"So, how does the chorus go?" I'd ask. We'd slowly work it out: "Um, something like 'hard enough to stab a hole in the sky' maybe?"

"No, no. It's like this: 'They were sharp enough to stab another hole in the sky, hard enough to make the proudest diamond sigh, faster than the rockets on the fourth of July . . .'"

"Oh yeah! Then, 'Cold enough to make a statue of Mary cry.' That's right! What a great song. Yeah, that's cool. Cold enough to make a statue of Mary cry. How does Roger come up with that stuff?" I'd ask.

What might this have to do with backbacking to Havasupai and Beaver Falls? Well, everything to me. This is what backpacking anywhere usually means: making good memories.

We spent the second day at the bottom hiking to Beaver Falls, which turned out to be another high point. We only saw three other people that day: a young couple going to the falls ahead of us, and a lone hiker coming up from the Colorado River. The couple had been stopped by the short rope climb that is required to continue on to Beaver Falls. The girl had an injured wrist and simply couldn't climb. They turned back. And the man hiking up from the Colorado? He was on a rafting trip, and the party stopped at the mouth of this canyon. He wanted to see Mooney Falls. Nice guy.

Beaver fallsAt Beaver Falls, Brooke and I played on the water falls and enjoyed the day listening to the crashing water. One thing about waterfalls: They're loud. And they don't stop. Okay, so that was two things about waterfalls.

The water within Havasu Canyon is blue enough to make the sky jealous.

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Mark D. Stephens: Adventurer, Writer, Photgrapher and Ambassador of the Sonoran Desert