Thursday, July 24, 2008

Havasu Day 2: The Hike In

Four (the goal for our original wakeup) and then five rolled around all too quickly and found no one quite ready to get up (people had just finally fallen asleep!). Fortunately, sleeping in a little allowed us to meet up with my Aunt and her crew and we were still able to get onto the trail by six.

Go figure as soon as we started walking from our car to the trailhead (on level and smooth pavement!) Anya decided to take her first fall and ripped a hole in her new hiking pants and bloodied her knee. Keep in mind this is not even five minutes into our hike; technically, we hadn’t even started hiking yet. And she’s using her trekking poles. I figured that if she could fall on flat pavement not even 5 minutes in, that the next 8 miles were going to be a blast!

Fortunately, a band-aid cured all and we were shortly ready to go again.

Doesn't my back pack look huge? Well, it was, but the backpacks piled up behind me for the mule/horsetrains kind of blend in with mine. I believe that without camera equipment (probably close to 10 lbs.) my pack weighed around 45 lbs.! Go figure i was shooting for a third of my ideal body weight, which would have been closer to 25-30 lbs. And we weren't even camping! Oi!

Our group (from right to left): my cousin Kayla, Jennifer and Aaron, Anya, my Uncle Pat and his wife Sheila, and their family friends Britny and Adam.

Here's everyone actually starting down the trail into the canyon, well, everyone but my Aunt and me, we stayed behind to take pictures of everyones' behinds. It may not look it, but that canyon floor is a long ways away.

Alpenglow on the canyon walls. In the shadows you can kind of see our hikers traversing below the ridge and the switchbacks and trail down below. In the first two miles we descended over 1000 feet in elevation compared with the 1000 feet we lost over the next six miles.

There were a few of these pretty flowers growing along the side of the trail, but it was funny because everything was covered with dust, i assume from the mule-trains going up and down the trail. The other interesting thing to point out is that taking this picture was actually rather torturous. Why? 'Cause it stank to high heaven! Some large stinky animal must have died or something, but it was horrible!

Hey look! Someone actually waited for us! More likely this picture is just out of order.

Just another pic of the trail descending the canyon wall. Other than the section with the horrible smell, the hike was actually very pretty and pleasant.

All was going well, until about 30 minutes into our hike Jen realized she had forgotten the cash we had specifically taken out for this part of the trip in the car. I may have rolled my eyes in frustration, this in turn, may have led to Jen hiking most of the rest of the way down without me. As I prepared to ditch my pack, run down to Jen and get the keys and then run back up to the car and get her wallet and then back again my aunt insisted that we would be fine and that we could just pay her back later (I don’t think she realized that we would only really be able to use cash once we got to the bottom). btw, that's me in the bottom right of the picture.

Here is a rock that Anya wanted me to take a picture of.

Look, it's Jen and Aaron. My aunt actually took this picture 'cause, you know, Jen wasn't hiking with me. I think Aaron actually managed to sleep for a good part of the hike down. And even though Jen was carrying Aaron, whenever i carry sleeping babies it always seems they're heavier asleep.

You almost get the feeling that Uncle Pat is not amused by his wife's frequent, "hey! hold on, let me take a picture." I think that's why we get ditched so much. If no one can hear us they don't have to stop for pictures.

With Jen hiking with everyone else up in front we now had a grumpy Alan hiking with a slow Anya. Not a very good combination. Here’s me: “Anya, hurry up,” “Anya, get a move on,” “Anya, look where you’re going,” “Anya, could you please go a little faster…” And on it went, for 8 miles. I seriously did not think it was possible to walk so slowly!

Never mind that she’s only five, has never hiked this far before, and has never carried such a heavy pack. Naturally, it was really her who did great and Dad who could’ve done better.

Her pack consisted of a CamelBak Mini-mule, two 50 oz. reservoirs, lots of snacks, her water shoes, and her jacket. The water alone was over 6 lbs., so i figure she was carrying close to 10 lbs.

By this time Anya was really slowing down. When we finally got to the creek or springs we figured Anya could handle a little break. She had already changed into her Keens and was excited to just walk into the water and hang out. She actually did really well for a while after that until i think the heat, boredom and mean dad got to her.

On the way down we all noticed a little sign indicating service times for one of two churches we saw in the canyon. Keep in mind that the population of Supai is only about 600 people. Granted we didn't see near that many people (not including hikers and campers).

Guess what kind of church it was. It was a little LDS chapel, kinda funny, eh?

We must’ve finally gotten into Supai around noon, but go figure we couldn’t check into our rooms until two! Of course no one wanted to carry the heavy packs two more miles down to the falls and back again so we waited to check in and ate some lunch and played some cards while we waited. We also checked out the little grocery store. I don't remember the exact prices, but everything was pricey! And no, none of us brought a dog with. There were just dogs all over the place. They'd just come over and hang out and follow you around. There was actually a really cute puppy that Aaron absolutely had a blast playing with.

Doesn't everyone like wide-angle close-ups? Notice that we're not actually eating our own food. Sheila wouldn't let us. We tried to meet up before the hike so we could share and split gear so we didn't have to carry redundant items down for the group. But noooo, Sheila had to carry everything too and always shared her food so we had to pack most of ours right back out of the canyon at the end.
I was having some compatibility issues downloading my actual GPS tracks to this map, so this is just a guesstimate of our trail and distances, but it should still be pretty accurate. I'll repost a more accurate map when i get the issues worked out. Stay tuned for Day One Part Two: The Falls (that's waterfalls, not more Anya falls).


Kari said...

I'm still laughing from your HUGE backpack. I was thinking, man Alan, even I can pack better then that! What is he bringing half the house? And how is he managing to stand upright? He must be REALLY strong. He doesn't LOOK that strong, but he is doing it, wow! And that's about when I figured it out...

princess jen said...

Okay, there was more than just "may have rolled my eyes..." You were mean to me! And got huffy with me! Haven't you figured out that only one of us is allowed to be Jen!! And I didn't ditch you on purpose. It was fun to hike with Sheila though.

Alan J said...

What do you mean i don't look that strong? I tell ya!

Kari said...

I mean it only in the nicest of ways.

Barbers 4 said...

You make your trips sound like so much fun: Falling kids, Long Hikes with 100 lb. packs, Heat, Grumpiness and Huffiness. Secretly, you had a blast though, right? It was all worth it in the end, right? The photos you took were so awesome you would go again in a minute, right?

BTW--I like the photo of Anya walking away from the camera (ie: Grumpy Dad) with her poles and the long trail stretching in front of her. The tiny bit of blur at the bottom really shows her motion.

Thoughtful Runner said...

Anya sounds like the little champ on this hike! I'm impressed! Twelve miles and eight of those with her little pack! (Do you think its too early to get Rachel out and going?!?! That would reduce MY pack weight from 40 to a MUCH more reasonable amount!)