Day 1 in the canyon was exhausting, so I was happy to crawl into my sleeping bag (note to self: Self, pillow next time. You’re getting old). We woke up pretty early–at least I think it was early, I had no concept of time in the canyon–ate some breakfast, and started out to Mooney Falls.
The popular, though likely not 100% factual, tale of Mooney Falls goes a little like this. I’ve taken the liberty of making it a tongue twister. You’re welcome!
Mooney the miner was doing mining things with his miney minions in the misty area of Havasupai. Mooney the miner met misfortune and fell to his death near the falls. Mooney’s miney minions noticed Mooney’s boots on the feet of an Indian, who showed them how to reach Mooney’s body by scaling down a crevice in the canyon wall.
I suppose this tale, plus signs like these, would give us pause.
Nope! Our group continued down the canyon wall, along the legendary path carved to retrieve Mooney’s body. I’m not usually scared of heights, but this terrified me! My heart was beating half out of my chest, my legs were shaking, my palms were sweating, and I half considered being the lame-o that stayed at the top of the falls all day. I finally got up my courage and reluctantly (& shakily!) make my way down the canyon wall–you can see the rest of our group waiting on the island at the bottom of the falls.
Safe from the bottom, I snapped a picture (below) of the makeshift path. Until you reach the squatty wooden ladder in the picture, you had to shimmy your way down by clutching chains and steel pegs driven into the canyon wall. Some of them were loose. The aluminum ladder you see at the end was missing a few rungs that were taped/wired back together. I wish I had a better way of showing this, so I found this youtube video of a complete stranger that was
crazy brave enough to video tape while climbing down. #thingsiwillneverdo.
Once everyone had made it to the bottom, we hiked further down the canyon. I’m a putzy hiker and like to stop, take photos, goof off, sing random Pat McCurdy songs….so basically I took my sweet time in making my way down to Beaver Falls. There were portions of the trail that were on higher ground, but eventually we took to wading downstream.
A few miles down the canyon, we heard some rumbling….falls! Our small little hiking group thought that these falls were Beaver Falls. When we reconvened with the larger group later that night, though, we learned that Beaver Falls was in fact beyond that spot. So I don’t know what falls these are, but they were fun! 😀 A few daredevils decided to cliff jump…
…and instantly the diver in me was jealous. This needed to happen. Big girl panties = on. Let’s do this.
This actually didn’t scare me (that’s me! ^) as much as the descent down to Mooney. It was just like platform diving with a bunch of bubblers in the diving well. The one challenge was making sure I didn’t get swept off the second set of falls after the jump–I made sure someone taller was there to catch me and walk with me to the edge.
We stayed to eat lunch around pseudo Beaver falls, and then headed back up the canyon toward Mooney, where we passed a waterfall known as the showers. Some of us actually showered in the showers (with bio-degradeable soap 😉 ).
Back at camp, we rested and ate a second lunch. Eating was a common theme of the weekend. With how active we were and the mileage we were putting in, John and I demolished an ENTIRE jar of peanut butter in 2.5 days. I’m not sure if I should have admitted that. Oh well…moving on!
One of the people in our group heard whispers of an abandoned quartz mine in the canyon that extended to the left of Havasu falls. A group of us decided to try to find it before dark. GREAT LIFE DECISION! I felt like a full-fledged Goonie.
An unexpected perk of this night hike was seeing Havasu Falls at dusk. If this isn’t beautiful, well then I don’t know what is.
That night back at camp, we heated up some Mountain Houses, showered in the stream next to our campsite, and – oh, what’s the expression? – shot the shit for a few hours before bed. Day 3’s in my queue – comin’ at you fast 🙂