Havasupai Falls is somewhere that looks like a fairy tale. Ambassador Michelle was lucky to score the coveted permits and be able to hike to there. This was her first major trip to plan out herself. Read below to see how she tackled planning for an adventure trip across the country. 

A couple of years ago, I came across a photo of Havasu Falls. I no longer remember where or what social media outlet. I immediately fell in love. The blue-green water against a backdrop of red canyon walls blew me away.

I didn’t take any immediate action. Just filed it away to the ever-growing list of places I’d  like to go. I did a little research, but not much. Enough to learn that the falls are located on the Havasupai Reservation, home of the Havasupai tribe. Havasupai meaning, People of the Blue-Green Waters. The Havasu Canyon is located on the South side of the Colorado River and borders the Grand Canyon National Park, a 4-5 hour drive from Las Vegas. I did print a map of the general area and stuck it on my desk. It’s still there.

Until 2017 I’d never taken an adventure trip before. I’ve not traveled much at all. I’ve moved around a lot, but that’s not travel. I wasn’t even a hiker until 2011. So, taking a trip that requires plane travel, pre-purchased reservations/permits, backpacking, car rental and such was way out of my comfort zone. This is terrifying stuff.  So much could go wrong. My biggest hurdle, though was financial. Trips cost money. It’s always been the number one roadblock for me. There’s never enough money for the things that need to be done and paid. Let alone money for extravagant excursions. The trip I took in 2017 was entirely paid for and planned by others. It was a wonderful opportunity to experience traveling across the country for a backpack trip. As scared as I was to take that trip, I learned that adventure travel doesn’t have to be intimidating and it’s not necessarily cost prohibitive. Though, truthfully I’d be remiss without saying that being able to afford to spend even moderate amounts for travel is a privilege I know others don’t have. Again, travel cost real money.

Last year, fellow HLAW Ambassador Jenn posted about an available permit for her trip to Havasupai. I was immediately interested, but the dates didn’t work out. What this did do was renew my interest. I did a little more research. Learned a little more about the place. Devoured every word on the Official Havasupai Tribe Website and several hiking blog trip reports. Told myself, “maybe”. The reservations date in Feb of 2018 was a still a ways away.  My gears were turning though. How could I make this trip happen? How much would it cost? How hard is the hike? Would anyone wanna go with me? Best time to go? Special gear needed? A million questions.

The first thing to figure out was cost. The official reservations page had the prices for reservations and camping, though they did increase from the year before. It was nominal. Next, I checked flights to Vegas. I checked from Knoxville, Atlanta, Nashville and Asheville. Next was the rental car/hotel prices. While doing this checking,  it dawned on me that I could break this into three distinct expenditures. In Feb, the reservations. In March, the plane tickets, and lastly the rental car/hotel payments at trip time. This made affording the trip much more manageable. It was financially doable for me from this perspective. At this time, I am figuring money just for me. I’m factoring in paying for two reservations, but for another self-paying adult to join me and reimburse that 2nd reservation.

February finally rolls along and it’s the day to be online to get reservations for the year.  In the meantime, my youngest, who is 15 has taken up photography and is no longer completely disinterested in hiking and backpacking. (If you have a teenager, you understand the wording of the previous sentence) My plans all along have been to go in Spring or Fall to avoid extreme heat. But, I can’t coordinate my days off and the kiddos days off from school. I’m torn. I’ll have to go in June if I wanna ask the kid to go. I go back and forth in my head and with the dates on the calendar. What dates to pick when the reservation system goes live? Will my young’un really even wanna do this? Am I a horrible Mom for even thinking about not taking my kid? Am I missing a once in a lifetime opportunity with my kiddo if I don’t try to make the trip so he can come along? That was it. Decision made. I pick the earliest June dates that we can go.  Picking weekdays to increase my chances of the time being available. Boom!! The dates are open. I have a little trouble with the online system. But, it all resolves and I finally see the confirmation. I’m really going to Havasupai!!

I give the kiddo a couple of weeks to decide whether or not he wants to go. I explain the hike, the falls, the campground, the backpacking, the climb on the way out. He’s game. Wants to go. Yippee!

This does increase my expenses a bit. One more plane ticket, paying for.both reservations and he needed some gear. Making the trip in June gave me time to have the extra dollars the trip would need.

Trip time is now next week!! Aggh! I can’t believe it’s real. I’m so proud of myself. This is my very first, I planned it all, adventure trip. I was so scared to do this. It’s crazy how I let fear stop me. But, not this time.

Like I said earlier. I’ve read every blog post out there. I’ve prepared myself by finding and reading as much info as I can about being and staying safe while summer desert hiking.  I familiarized myself with the hazards and wildlife we might encounter. I know how to use all my gear and have checked it to make sure it’s working properly. I think we’re ready. Wish us luck!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *