Hiking Havasupai Part 1 – The Adventure Getting There

Categories:#AdventureStories | Arizona Hikes | Featured | Hiking

I had taken the day off to make the long drive up to the Havasupai Falls trailhead however I needed to take care of a few things before heading off. The drive was going to be an eight or so hour drive and the folks I would be hiking with would not get there until later in the evening. I took my time getting around and headed north.

I stopped in Phoenix to have lunch with some friends I had not seen in quite awhile. We and a great lunch and caught up and reminisced about old times. After lunch it was time to head north to meet my hiking companions Rozanne aka Mountain Matron and whomever else she had invited. I met Rozanne several years ago through social media and she was also part of the 2015 Hell Hike and Raft crew.

The wind was blowing and the weather was starting to look a little ominous for the weekend. A few days prior our nice 80 degree weather that had been forecast was changed to be windy, raining, and considerably cooler. Thankfully I had packed a mixture of warm and cold weather gear just in case.

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As the sun started setting I turned off the main highway and headed down Route 66. A very lonely rod full of fun billboards and semi trucks passing the other direction at very fast speeds.  The drive on Route 66 was not very long until I turned to head north on Indian Reservation Road 18. The distance to the trail head was only 60 miles but they were an extremely long 60 miles especially as dusk fell. When you think of a dark and lonely road this was it.  There are signs all along the road warning you to watch for Elk and free range cattle.These warnings are not suggesting that you might see them but instead they tell you that you WILL see elk and cows.

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As I turned and headed down a slight dip I saw a movement out of corner of my eye. There he was not but a few feet off the road was a very large very beautiful bull grazing on the grass as I passed. In the Midwest there is a saying that if you see one deer there are always more. Sometimes two, three or more will be milling around the area or crossing the road.  I continued to scan the road on both sides and in front of me for more elk. As I looked back to the right there was a herd of at least 20 head of Elk grazing in a nearby pasture. I was not going to be able to get a good photo so I continued up the road with care.

I passed another sign for cows and a drove over a cattle grate. No more than 200 yards past the sign there were cows all over the place including the road. Many of them were black or brown which made them very hard to see on this dark windy road even with my brights on.  At one point I nearly missed a black calf in the middle of the road by swerving to avoid it. Keep in mind by this point I was driving way under the posted speed limit.

I finally managed to make it to the trailhead along with many others who had either left their vehicles there while they were down in the canyons or spending the night as I was about to do. I was finally able to regain cell phone signal and received a message from Rozanne saying that it was just going to be her and her son for the weekend and they were running behind.

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Setting up camp for the night was a breeze. I folded down the back seats and laid out some clothes to pad the areas where the back seats connect to the floor of the Jeep. I always carry an extra blanket in the vehicle and used that to provide even more padding. With that I hunkered down for an extremely windy night. The wind whipping through the canyon walls and past the parked vehicles caused an interesting vortex that rocked the Jeep back and forth as if I was sailing on the ocean. The nice thing was it was steady so sleeping would hopefully come easy. 

Around eleven I got another text from Rozanne saying that they had arrived and found a parking spot. We agreed upon a time to get up and be on the trail. A 5 a.m. wake up with a 6 a.m. trail time. Little did I know  it would come much quicker than I had hoped.

Adam Nutting relishes being an avid backpacker, hiker, and all-around adventure junkie. While he currently spends his time hiking in the backcountry of southern Arizona, he grew up in Missouri, where he was naturally inclined to spend as much time as he could outdoors. Adam’s passion for the outdoors grew as he climbed the ranks of the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, eventually attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

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