Heavenly Falls – Havasu

5 03 2017

It’s only a few months ago that I came to know about the amazingly beautiful Havasu falls close to Grand Canyon. My love for waterfalls meant that I had to visit these for sure. The catch though is that since it’s part of Indian reservation area, one needs to apply for and get a permit. This process itself isn’t very easy, usually requiring one to contact the office through phone, which would be too busy to be reached at, requiring one to try at least for a few days to succeed.  I heard that, given the popularity of the falls, the permits for the whole season would be finished with days of opening the reservations for the year (Feb 1st).   It’s a 10 mile hike to the falls, which is not bad. However, day hiking is absolutely not permitted and you have to either camp in the campground, just beside the falls or stay at the lodge in the Supai village, two miles from the falls. When I gathered all this information, I decided that I wouldn’t want to do it alone, uncomfortable with dealing with all the hassle myself. Luckily, some of the people I met through a meetup planned for backpacking to Havasupai this year and I was super delighted. After several members of the group calling the office for a couple of days, it was discovered that they have opened up online applications for the permits this year. Hurray! The permit was obtained and we were all set to go. The timing too was perfect for me.  It was as if the entire universe conspired to make me go.

Since rain was forecasted during that time, I tried to prepare my backpack for rain and wetness. I thought 25lb is a good weight. I’m a newbie to the backpacking world, having done only a couple of short weekend backpacking trips earlier.  But I don’t know why, the hike down was challenging. Maybe the backpack wasn’t fit properly or maybe the last few extra pounds were too heavy for me. The 10 miles seemed to stretch forever. Especially the last 2-3 miles.

We started on the hilltop at around 10 am. It was cold and windy at the top. The first 2 miles was downhill, not as steep as I have imagined. The rest of the hike was all flat, with only minor elevation changes. Given the forecast of rain, I dressed myself in weird suit and poncho for the hike. I’m sure I looked hilarious, like someone from a science-fiction movie. 😉 The weather was pleasant for the hike notwithstanding the rain and showers on and off along the way.

We reached the village after about 8 miles  where we got our wrist bands at the registration office. These we had to wear throughout our stay. The campground is a little over two miles from the village.

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Entering the Supai village

We came across Little Navajo Falls and Fifty Foot Falls along the way beyond the village. We went back the next morning to savor the beauty of these falls in leisure. They are truly spectacular.

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Little Navajo Falls in the front; Fifty Foot Falls at the back

But of course  the true stars of the show are Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls.  When I first glimpsed Havasu Falls, just before reaching the campground, my reaction was one of unbelievability.  They were totally ethereal.

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Havasu Falls

It was dusk by the time we setup our tents in the campground. Despite the fatigue, we couldn’t resist a quick trip to the falls. We relished the cool aquamarine looking water to our heart’s content. I especially cherish the moments when a few of us visited the falls in the dark. It’s just the cloudless dark sky, falls and absolute silence except the roaring water. Bliss.

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To be continued in the next post.





A visit to Yellowstone National Park

27 05 2009

I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park this long weekend (Memorial day weekend). It is the first national park of America. It is well known for its geysers, hot springs and wilderness. It’s a huge park (around  9000 sq km) and offers wide range of breathtaking landscape – beautiful lakes, rivers/creeks, mountain ranges, valleys etc.

Everyone who has been there says that one needs at least a week to enjoy the park (there is no maximum limit, though) and at least 3 days in order to cover the top attractions. We had only a day and half to spend inside the park as the rest of the weekend was taken by the long drive to the park from Seattle (12 hours).

Since we are not into any activities like fishing, hiking, camping etc, we could cover considerable number of attractions in that short time. Nevertheless, we felt that 2 full days would have been better.

Unfortunately, the weather on Sunday, the day inside the park, was bad – it was so cloudy in the morning and it rained from the afternoon. Despite the bad weather and short time and other  inconveniences, misjudgments etc, it was a good trip.

Note: I gracefully admit my defeat and stop trying to describe the  beauty of the nature’s wonders in words. I let my pictures do the job.

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Montana Landscape

Even long before we reached the park, the drive in Montana on I-90 was spectacular, especially the Pintler Scenic Loop part.

Our first stop in the park was at Mammoth Hot Springs near the North Entrance. We absolutely loved it. It’s gorgeous!

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Mammoth Hot Springs

Oh, I forgot to mention: We saw a couple of Mountain Goats on the way to Hot Springs.

Cistern Spring

Cistern Spring

Our next stop was at Norris Geyser Basin. It was beautiful too. We reached there at dusk just before the sunset and it gave us a memorable experience.

On Sunday, a few Bison greeted us soon after we entered the park (through West entrance).

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Fountain Paint Pots

Our first destination that day was Lower Geyser Basin. There we have seen a few fountain paint pots in addition to many geysers.

Then we stopped at Midway Geyser Basin on the way to Old Faithful.

At Midway Geyser Basin

Firehole River

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Excelsior Geyser

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Turquoise Pool

Firehole river flowed beside this basin, which added to the kaleidoscope.

We loved the Excelsior geyser, with its crater.

Besides a few geysers, Midway basin also consisted of a few colorful springs.

Old Faithful is the most reliable geyser, and hence the most popular, with eruptions spaced around 90 minutes apart.

Watch the eruption below: 

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Old Faithful Lodge

We also took a quick peek into The Old Faithful lodge nearby. It’s a wooden structure built in 1920’s and looks great. We just walked around a bit and spent a few minutes at the Cafeteria inside.

I think the next destination was West Thumb Geyser Basin. Here we could see a herd of deer. More than the geysers (By this time geysers no more excited us), the view of the massive Yellowstone lake was magnificent.

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After we left that point, we saw an Elk by the roadside. It sat calmly as if posing for a photo session, while people were clicking their cameras at it.

We drove along the Yellowstone Lake for around 20 miles.

Some part of the lake was frozen and we paused at a few viewpoints to take in its beauty.

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Frozen Yellowstone Lake

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Dragon's Mouth Spring

The clouds darkened when we were on the way to Mud Volcano and they broke into steady rain while we were sneaking up to the Volcano and Dragon’s Mouth Spring.

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Bison in Hayden Valley

After that we drove along side Hayden Valley and caught sight of a few bison on the way. By that time I had enough of bison and was hoping to see some other species – but not much luck.

Our next stop was the highlight of the park – Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It’s stunning.  It’s supposedly much smaller than the Grand Canyon of Arizona, which is one of the World’s top attractions. I haven’t been to Arizona canyon ,so this is my first experience with a canyon.

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Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

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Tower Fall

We ended the day by taking a look at Tower Fall. We couldn’t go down the trail to the base of the falls, as it was already 8 pm and there were no people around. I was afraid, lest any animal attacks me.. 🙂

The drive to the Tower Falls from the Grand Canyon was very good – actually a little frightening too as we were driving to the edge of the cliff at a very high altitude (around 10,000 ft). There is still lot of snow in the park.

While we were leaving the park, we saw a herd of bison, which are running and playing. It was quite a sight. There were a couple of baby bison too.

Talking about animals, we might have seen some wild buffalos too. It’s a bit difficult to distinguish between bison and buffalo from a distance.

This sounds like a really good trip. Isn’t it? But I have my own list of disappointments and disasters:

  • I didn’t see any bears
  • Couldn’t go to Lower Falls near Grand Canyon
  • Couldn’t get down to the bottom of the Tower Fall
  • Forgot to buy a souvenir
  • My camera broke down Sunday evening

Wah 😦