Sunday, July 6, 2008

Survivors!

I'm home!!! I actually slept in my own bed last night...it was wonderful. And boy do I have a tale of survival for you! :)

So last week I returned from my business trip, and I was home long enough to do some laundry. Then Hunter and I headed to Minersville. Needless to say we had a late start, so we ended up travelling in the dark. As we were driving along Hunter realized our headlights weren't working. Our fog lights were on, but not the low beams. We pulled over so he could confirm and check a few things, but to no avail...the low beams refused to work. So...we travelled the remainder of our journey with the high beams on. I apologize to everyone who was "brighted"...even though most of you returned the favor (I'm sure I would have done the same, lol).

We finally arrived in Minersville and I spent the next day with Becca at her Relief Society Super Saturday. Last year I saw this cute idea for a face swap book, so I made one for the Albrechts, the Carters and the Bradshaws. Becca liked the idea and used it for one of the Super Saturday workshops...so I was there to help. Ruth and Sarah were there, and it was fun to hang out with the sisters. We don't get together often enough!

After Super Saturday, Hunter and I headed to Henrieville. We made sure we travelled in daylight, and Hunter picked up a few bulbs when we passed through Beaver. Once we reached Henrieville he changed the bulbs and voila! we had light. Funny that they would both burn out at the same time!?!

We enjoyed a relaxing Sunday in Henrieville, and used the time to talk my papa into joining us for the Havasupai trip. Neither of my parents had originally planned to go (my mom went last year), but once Hunter and I decided to go we were able to convince my mama to join us. Now we just had to work on papa! Eventually he conceded, and when Monday morning arrived the four of us hit the road. We left bright and early so we would have time to visit the Grand Canyon on our way.

After driving for hours and hours, taking in the sights at the Grand Canyon and eating our last civilized meal at some random stop along the way, we finally stopped somewhere in the middle of the desert. Literally. We met up with Uncle Richard (the ringleader) and his crew:
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We loaded up our packs and we were on our way. You can tell it's the beginning of the hike because I'm still smiling:
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We started out at about 6:15 pm, and it was at least 100 degrees. It is eight miles from the trailhead to the village of Supai, and two miles from Supai to the campground. Of course no one mentions that the village is about a mile long, so when all is said and done it's about 11 miles from the car to the campground. In brutally scorching heat. Of course, we started in the evening so we could spend the majority of the hike in the cooler evening temperatures. But this also meant the most strenuous part of the hike (the beginning) was encountered during the hotter temps.
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From the trailhead to the village, the path descends roughly 3000 feet. However, the majority of this descent is accomplished within the first mile or so. Needless to say, this part just about did me in. My sweet hubby is practically a professional backpacker, and he carried the bulk of our gear in his pack. Therefore, my pack was super-light. I can't blame any of my suffering on the backpack...I'm just a wuss! That's all there is to it. I had a bit of a head start when we first hit the trail, but by the end of the switchbacks (one mile later) I was dead last. Even my papa was ahead of me!
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Once we hit the 'bottom' of the canyon, things improved considerably. The air was a bit cooler and the hike wasn't quite as brutal. Turns out, it was just endless! We hiked for hours and hours, and we still weren't there. Finally it started getting dark, and we knew we were getting close to the village. Richard found us as we were entering the village, and informed us that we weren't going to make camp that night so we'd be sleeping in the field next to the LDS church. There were several others in our group who camped there with us, and it was an interesting night. For one thing, there are a lot of dogs in the village...and when one of them starts barking, the rest join in. There were also a large number of cicadas and crickets and other noisy night sounds that normally would have irritated me to no end. However, I was completely shredded. I laid down on the hard ground and I conked out like I haven't done in ages! I was oblivious to all, well...most, of it. And when I woke up, this greeted me:
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Two cicadas had molted right on my shoe! Yikes! I'm glad it was just their skins though, and not the actual bug. The skin is gross enough...ew!
Well we got up and hit the road. We still had 2-3 miles to cover! And of course, we were all completely shredded. I've never heard my muscles protest so loudly, and I really just wanted to comply. But we had no choice, we had to make camp. The only consolation was knowing there would be blissful, cool, refreshing water at the end of the road. Boy was I looking forward to that! Two painful, laborious and scorching miles later:
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Wow! I started to think this might actually be worth it. I've never seen such a magical, enchanting sight before.
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Havasu Falls. I'm still in awe of this place.
We continued on to our campsite. We found a spot next to the river and set up camp.
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We spent most of the day recovering from the trauma of the hike in. The rest of the time we spent in the water, or visiting other falls in the area. What a gorgeous treasure this place turned out to be!
More Havasu Falls:
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The perfect shot:
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Navajo Falls (a popular jumping spot):
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Mooney Falls (I did not actually hike to this one, as it involves some serious death-defying maneuvers. I went to the first viewpoint and called it good. Hunter, of course, was undeterred.)
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The water here is full of lime, which gives it a beautiful blue/green hue.
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My mama, defying death:
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The big day for our return journey finally arrived. By this point, we knew there was no way we'd survive a hike out. So with joy in my heart, I exited by helicopter instead! PRAISES!!!
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My papa, making his getaway:
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Waiting for our turn:
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Our landing spot, mere yards from the beautiful, air-conditioned Mazda:
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We piled into the car and headed for Henrieville. My mama and I promptly conked out. A few hours later: Horrors!!! Our A/C quit working! Of all the rotten timing! We were still in Arizona, and had yet to pass through Page. We weren't even halfway through our journey! I was not happy about this sudden turn of events. When we finally reached Page we stopped at an auto parts store (for the second time in less than a week) and Hunter bought some fuses. Well that didn't do the trick; the new fuse promptly blew. Hunter determined the compressor must have blown, which is thankfully under warranty but unfortunately cannot be fixed until we find a Larry Miller dealership (ugh). So we suffered in silence the rest of the way home. Well I'll be honest, I wasn't that silent about it...lol. Fortunately, things did start to cool down by the time we hit Orderville, and it wasn't too bad the rest of the way.
The next day, July 4th, we celebrated by sleeping. And more sleeping. I did a bit of reading, and then...more sleeping. We finally decided to go to Ruby's Inn and watch the fireworks.
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Woohoo! And now, I think it's time for a nap.

9 comments:

The Carter Family: said...

So, did I hear that you and dad both said, "never again!!"? Wow! What an adventure you guys had! The falls are absolutely beautiful but I don't know if I would have survived enough to even get there!! I am super impressed that you made it there and you made it home!! Now crank up the A/C in your apartment!!

Zachary said...

Isn't Havasupai the greatest place ever? I am glad you were able to go. I wish I could have been with you guys. Sorry about the AC.

ang said...

Wow that place is so cool! What a fun trip. I'm glad that you were a trooper and suffered in silence (I was cracking up when I read that) through the non-AC car trip.

Are you guys going to come down some time soon or are you too busy off gallivanting around the world?

Mark N. said...

Those pictures were convincing that it might have been a good idea
However, watching Aunt Tanna hobble around Temple Square the next day was even more convincing.
Never for me!

Monica said...

I'm impressed Rach! Mark's comments cracked me up. I saw Tanna today and thought the same thing. Glad you made it back safe and sound!

kaparowitzzz said...

You guys are completely nuts. It is kind of nice to enjoy the pics on my computer while I enjoy the comforts of AC. Just kidding. Looks like the hike had a rewarding end to it.

Smiley Family said...

WOW! What an adventure! Those pics make me want to go next year - however, I really like the idea of flying out!!

All About M.E.('s) said...

I'm so impressed and envious! I want to go next year. Beautiful pictures. That picture of the bug is amazing!

Becca said...

I'm exhausted just reading your story. I would only go there via air! Pretty pics though.