Last weekend was an absolute adventure. Riley and I had permits for the Havasupai hike in Arizona that we booked back in February. I remember that it was a rush to get them, after about 30 minutes of trying and getting kicked off of the website (due to the site being overwhelmed with visitors doing the same thing we were) .. we managed to get a random date in October. One night only. But we were going!
I was so excited and said something like “cool, our anniversary trip is booked.” There is nothing like saving money and getting a two for one deal ha! This trip has been on my mind for years. Back when I was a travel nurse I did an assignment in AZ. I was charting at my desk when a coworker pulled up images on his phone to show some of us a hike he had done. I was basically drooling, staring at images of bright turquoise water against red rocks.
“That’s probably photoshopped” I said skeptically. It honestly did not look real. But a quick image search showed all of the pictures looking the same and my thoughts went from doubt to “I have to go there.” I actually booked permits shortly after (it was easier back then) but those plans fell through unfortunately. A few years after that my husband and I called the phone line at least 100 times to get through to book permits for 2016. This was the only way to book before last year, and they had a few land lines that you just had to try calling over and over. No, really. It was exhausting. Then, we ended up moving the same week we had those permits for, and had to cancel. Looking back, I still can’t believe we let them go, but it had to be done.
Third time is the charm! When I set my mind to something, I can not be distracted from that goal. The Havasupai reservation set up an online system, we were able to get our October date and finally, we were set to go. This has been on my mind for years and the excitement building up to this was unmeasurable.
We used our credit card points to fly to Vegas, stayed with my brother in Henderson, and rented a car the next day. The drive out to the trailhead was just under four hours. We slept in the car overnight and set our alarm for 3:30am. It felt more like we took a few naps, for some reason I couldn’t sleep and was a little bit nervous about how it would feel hiking all day after little to no rest.
Our early start had us on the trail alone, in the dark, just able to see a few feet in front of us. This went on for hours, and then the rain started. It was short lived but freezing, and definitely made us appreciate the sun rising to warm us up a bit. We were blown away by the beauty of the canyon that we hiked through. It seemed to get better and better as we approached the Havasupai village. The hike to the village is 8 miles, and then another 2 miles to the campsites. We stopped for breaks, and to check in, and still had our tent set up mid morning which was incredible. We had the whole day to see the different falls near camp, and explore. The rain did start up again so we took a much needed nap after that.
When things don’t go as planned.
We found out on our way in that the weather the previous night was terrible, and the campers were almost evacuated. This caused flooding and runoff, which turned that bright blue water into a milky light blue color for the remainder of the day. I have never had a problem with a hike not going as planned. In fact, we have been evacuated from a hike before (one that we planned our whole New Zealand trip around) and I was thrilled at the adventure of it all. But this one was different. I had envisioned it for four years, and finally made it, to water that just wasn’t as expected. As much as I don’t want to admit it, because it seems silly, I was disappointed. I also felt badly at painting this picture for Riley, getting him so excited as well and the final destination not living up to those expectations. Those feelings went away after a bit and we made the most of our time in an incredible place. So many hikers and bloggers focus on the water that I had never even heard that the hike itself was gorgeous, or that any other part of this trip was memorable. We appreciated everything about it. The rushing river at the campsite, the climb down to Mooney falls, the sun setting at Havasu falls, our dinner that warmed us up while we talked about adventures to come. We couldn’t stop saying how grateful we were for the things we had seen that day. Despite those changes in the weather.
We slept so well that night and woke up to have breakfast, pack up camp and start the journey out. We spent some really special time at Havasu falls, having it to ourselves early in the morning and truly living in the moment. We took photos, as always, said goodbye to an incredible place and started the journey back out. Some of the water upstream was a light blue color, but the ranger that we spoke to said it can take a few days for the falls to clear up and turn that bright blue color again.
We talked about our favorite parts of the hike, and promised that no matter what, we will go back again someday to see it just like I had originally envisioned. I laughed when I looked through the pictures thinking this is Havasupai on a bad day? This place is absolutely magnificent, a wonder to experience, and I can’t imagine it getting much prettier. But of course, it does.
One of the things I hear often is that Riley and I travel “so much.” People ask me how he gets all of that time off but the truth is, he doesn’t. He works Mon-Fri, 9-5 like the majority of people. He just chooses to use his time off to do exactly what we love to do, explore God’s creation. Travel means so much to us, and for that reason we prioritize it in our life. We make sacrifices and save our money to be able to do the things that we want to. As you read above, it isn’t always easy or comfortable, it doesn’t always go as planned, but we know that it is worth it. When we say that we will do whatever it takes to make our dreams and goals come true, we mean it.
I am so grateful that we were able to do this together, and I can’t wait for the next adventure with my love.