It’s been just over a week since we arrived at home, so we are fully rested, our muscles have recovered, and we’ve caught our breath enough that we can finally blog about our adventures.
The night before our hike, we stayed in
When we arrived at Hualapai Hilltop, we were surprised to discover that the parking lot was full at six in the morning. We hadn’t seen a single car on the road for the entire ninety minute drive to the trailhead. As we parked our car, we noticed two hikers, stretching and checking the straps on their camping packs. We quickly got ready and followed their lead because they looked like “expert” hikers with their “expert” camping gear and “expert” hiking outfits. Compared to them, we looked like the misfits group in a bad eighties movies (Chris was dressed in an argyle sweater, Pia’s shoes were falling apart, and Pearl was dressed as if she was on her way to an aerobics class). Unfortunately, we lost the “experts” when Pia and
The first 1.5 miles of the hike descends down steep switchbacks (elevation drop of 2000 ft). It was a fairly easy climb down the canyon, though we anticipated that the climb back up would be an entirely different story. Thereafter, the trail winds through the canyon for 6.5 miles (with a drop of another 1000 ft) to the
We saw very few hikers heading down into the canyon but dozens, perhaps hundreds heading back up. This explained why the parking lot was so full. Unknowingly, we chose the day for the hike perfectly; all the weekend hikers/campers were clearing out just in time for our arrival, such that when we arrived at the falls that morning, we found it quiet and relaxing.
About 1.5 miles from the village, we came to the running waters of Havasu Creek and knew that we were close. At this point, we’d been hiking for close to four hours, completely exhausted and hungry. We practically ran the rest of the way to Supai, and turning the last corner before the village, we saw, to our surprise, the “expert” hikers from the parking lot four hours earlier. We sped up, overtaking them just before reaching the village, proving, well, nothing at all. Still, we were pretty proud of ourselves - who are the expert hikers now? J
It was a relief to see the village. Supai is an isolated provincial village with a lodge, a café, a general store, a school, a church, and a campsite. It reminded
We tried to have brunch at the café, but they were low on ingredients: the non-meat platter consisted of eggs, hash-browns and toast, without the hash-browns and toast; the breakfast burritos were served by spoon as they were out of tortillas. We had better luck buying tiny jars of strawberry jelly and peanut butter at the store across the café, which ended up providing our lunch and dinner during the trip.
We set out for our campsite, located two miles beyond the village, and passed the
After the swim, we returned to our campsite, and Pia and Chris pitched our tent perfectly while
We woke up at , packed up our tent and gear in the dark, left two of our packs at the mule-train drop-off, and began our trek back to Hualapai Hilltop just after . We were fully rested from our 10-hour sleep that we started off at a great pace, extremely excited that we didn’t have to hike up with our packs. We watched the Grand Canyon expanse wake up with the morning sun, a magical experience for we were the only ones hiking at that hour and didn’t see anyone else heading the opposite direction until 7:30am. It was extraordinary to watch the texture of the rocks change depending on the location of the sun in the sky.
By the time we reached the last 1.5 miles of the hike – the steep switchbacks UP the canyon, Pearl felt like she was walking in place. The top never seemed to get any closer. It felt to us that we were hiking the last 1.5 miles for as long as the other 8.5 miles took. When we finally caught our first glimpse of the trailhead, we celebrated with a round of fist pumps and water. When we reached the top, we were shocked to discover that we finished the climb up in less than four hours…most guide books estimate this climb to take between 8-10 hours (though time estimated is with packs).
Our packs didn’t arrive for another two hours but we calculated that we wouldn’t even be nearing the top had we carried up our gear. As we waddled over to collect our packs, we noticed that everyone around us was walking like tired and sore penguins as well.
It took us another three hours to drive to