Grand Canyon Hike

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By Paulo Settanni

If you don’t know what to do on your weekend maybe this could be the solution, three days hiking, climbing, and swimming and in a absolute peaceful and wonderful place called Grand Canyon worth all sacrifice spent on the first six hours walking down the canyon.

It is not easy but it’s not something impossible. The worst party it is to return to the top of the canyon, because now it is uphill. However if you prefer you can return using the helicopter service, paying off course, nothing less than 85 dollars per person.

When I decided to joy the group of nine friends to go to the bottom of Grand Canyon the first thought was if I am able to walk six hours. That was my major concern during two weeks meanwhile I was working out to increase my physical conditions. I ate lots of bananas to avoid muscles pain, drunk gallons of water every day to hydrate my body and lots of carbohydrates to feed my body. The major explanation here is that I didn’t ask any doctor or nutritionist. I ate whatever I thought would be good. Never do as me, and always ask for professional help.

To complete my preparation I walked for thirty minutes everyday for 15 days. I stopped eating fast food and hiked Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peek.

However I left Phoenix on a Friday morning, almost three in the morning, after I studied all day long and I drove six hours up to the point we started our journey. We had a big problem with temperatures. From 85 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix we decreased to 40 degrees in Flagstaff where we made our first stop to eat at six in the morning. When we started our walk was probably 50 degrees.

From Flagstaff we drove about thirty minutes to the Havasu Indian reservation and then more two hours. Three cars, eleven people, and one dream: reach the Grand Canyon bottom to appreciate one of the most wonderful natural places in the world. During the way the nature was changing, and our expectations were increasing each minute. Nothing less then two rolls of film were used just during the car trip, 15 more inside the canyon.

Finally we parked our car next to the helicopter and the mules. You can go down by helicopter, on a mule or walking. The difference is the first one takes five minutes, the second two hours and the last one six hours.

We packed our stuffs and put everything on three mules, $150.00 round trip up to 80 pounds per mule. Take my advice, if you go for the first time rent a mule and don’t try to carry your stuffs on your back. We started our journey at ten o’ clock in the morning. I have 50 photographies for this first six hours journey. Off course we stopped a lot to rest and eat. Power bars, tuna, small fruits, beef jerky and chocolate were our menu. We couldn’t carry too much weight because we were carrying from one to two gallons of water per person in our camelback bag pack. The rest of our food was inside our baggage on the mules, with our mini stove, tents, clothes, and all stuffs to set our camping.

Observation, this is an Indian reservation so alcoholic beverages are not allowed. I’m saying this because one of my friends asked me if he was able to carry some wine to drink during the cold night just to warm up the body. But it is not allowed so if you intend to go on this trip put more clothes on your bag. The best season to go is the autumn because it is not too cold or not too hot.

The hike started with a big downhill about thirty minutes and then almost the way is plan. Caves, giant rocks, smalls vegetation was the first part. The vegetation was changing during the walk. From the desert vegetation to green trees and bushes. When we first heard water noises the vegetation was complete different from the beginning point uphill. The river, small at this point, pass thought the Indian village compound for approximately 60 houses, three grocery stores, one post office, and one school. The water is so clear and shinny that your first wish is to swim, but it is too cold that make you think twice. I never went to that camping before, so I didn’t know what were waiting for us.

One mile after the village we reached a big downhill. On our right side the first wonderful surprise. The water noise was filling my head and I wanted to see were this noise was coming from. Than the big surprise, one deep blue waterfall with more than 100 feet. We, especially me, stayed there watching that wonderful nature site for a long time, because off the beauty to rest a little bit more. We were almost at the camping site.

We reached the camping area together with mules that were bringing our baggage. For me that was the worst part. We took our stuff from the mules and carried for more 300 feet to start setting our space. 6 tents, 2 tables and one improvised kitchen were our camping. I never ate some many noodles, soups, and tuna like those three days.

The main concern at that moment was about our physiological needs. There are some restrooms in the camping area, but to wash your body only inside the cold water of the river. I hate cold water so it was a sacrifice for me to wash myself.

Friday in the afternoon we decide to go to another waterfall, the moony falls. Easy thing for those who love use stairs craved on the rock and pass inside caves. However the sacrifice worth. It is another wonderful waterfall.

Sleep in tents is not what I call the best thing on earth, but the fact that you could sleep inside the Grand Canyon between two giant rock walls looking the sky with no pollution or big cities noise it’s wonderful.

It was a great trip I did and I recommend. Before go ask someone who already went there and visit some websites searching with the key word Havasupai to know better about the place. Please take care and just pack the necessary. Don’t put more stuff or things that you know that you won’t use.

And if you are lazy as me, save $ 85 for the return and use the helicopter service. It is a great view and it takes just 5 minutes, very different from the 6 hours hiking. I saw the face of people who came walking and I gave up and used the helicopter. Whatever is your way of transportation don’t miss the opportunity to be I touch with nature and your friends.