A remote, southwestern corner of the Grand Canyon hides a gem. The trail head at Hualapai Hilltop is 68 miles from Route 66, on the Havasupai Reservation. This 10 mile hike to Havasu Falls remains our all-time favorite, and tramping it with great friends Connie and Colleen only makes it better.
Nowadays, you can make a reservation on the reservation for a room at the lodge, where two beds and a shower provide comfort. Camping is also available right along the river, but our group opts for lodge beds. Back in my backpacking tent pitching days, this destination provided not only the best reward for a hard day’s work, but a spiritual draw that I could feel but not understand.
“Havasuw Baaja” means “People of the Blue-Green Water.” About 500 Native Americans of this tribe call Supai their home.
Horses, helicopters and humans are the only way to bring supplies in and out of the village.
After an initial two miles of switchbacks, the trail follows a dry (most of the year) wash through a red-rock canyon along a “civilized” slope. Who would expect to meet a clan of Amish folks from Indiana on this trail?
Eight miles later you reach Supai village, complete with a modest store and café that offers delights, including fry bread with toppings.
Time for a moon pie birthday celebration for Marilynn, complete with red and white wine! Shh…no alcohol permitted on the reservation. (A box of wine feels like a bowling ball with edges in your backpack)
A few miles from the village we veer off trail to visit Navajo Falls.
Then, the jewel of Havasu Falls reveals itself from a hole in the canyon. No matter how many times you may have seen this, the experience feels like a first.
A walk through the campground brings us to Mooney Falls.
Follow the creek for about 10 miles, and meet the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, if you’re really ambitious.
Inside the abandoned gold mines, dark walls sparkle with quartz crystals.
Bob Marley and the message/prayer of reggae music transcended distant lands to connect with the souls of the Havasupai Indians. So much so, that Bob Marley planned a visit to this remote community prior to his untimely death. However, his mother, Cedella Booker, along with the “Wailers” organist, Tyrone Downic, joined the film crew and visited the village in the early eighties. A spiritual reggae festival had been going on annually each August since then. I’m not sure of the current status of the gathering, and presume that it would be a private matter.