Spring Break 2020

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This past March, prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, I traveled to Havasupai, Arizona to see Beaver Falls.

Five miles into our hike

Background on Havasu Falls:

  • Havasupai is located within Havasu Canyon
  • The Supai Village is not accessible by road. This means that visitors must either hike or take the helicopter down to the canyon.
  • From the Hualapai Hilltop to Supai, it is an 8-mile hike. To get from Supai to the Campground, there is another 2-mile hike
  • Havasupai is a Native American Reservation and Havasupai means “people of the blue-green waters”

Havasupai was an amazing experience. I got the opportunity to hike over 30 miles with my boyfriend, Ted, and we got to see the beautifully preserved nature.

In preparation for the hike, it was very important that we were hydrated, well-fed, and well-rested. Because of this, we drove to a nearby Walmart and stocked up on cereal bars, protein, and Gatorade. Additionally, we bought a two-person tent from Walmart.

After gathering everything we needed and organizing our hiking bags, we were ready to set off on our hike.

Day 1: Hike to the Campground

The first 5 miles of the hike was not bad. There was a lot of beauty to take in and the isolation was quite peaceful. I stopped to take a lot of pictures and admire the erosion of the canyon. Additionally, on our hike, we met a Native American man who helped us navigate the trail better. The trail has a lot of rocky areas, so he showed us the less-rocky paths that most Native Havasupai Villagers took. We ended up hiking two miles with him and stopping to rest with him. It was amazing to hear about his experience of traveling down weekly between work.

Once making it down to Supai, we registered and signed ourselves in. Ted and I received a tag with our party information and signed multiple waivers. After this, we started our trek to the Campground where we would set up our tent.

Ted and I got to the Campground at 6 pm and set up our tent. By this point, we were both exhausted and decided to hike to see the nearest falls. Once we reached the falls, it was very dark, so we shined our flashlights and phones to illuminate our path.

Waterfall at night

After seeing the waterfall, we headed back to the Campground and got ready for the night.

It was very cold at night and got as low as 40°F. I remember shivering, despite having a thick sleeping bag and lots of layers. One tip that I have for anyone hiking to Havasupai: bring lots of layers.

Day 2: Beaver Falls

Ted and I woke up around 9 am the next day and got ready for a 5-mile round trip to Beaver Falls. Beaver Falls was roughly 2.5 miles away, so we brought lots of water, food, and a towel in our hiking bag.

The hiking experience to the falls started off interestingly as there was a 100-foot drop along the canyon that we needed to climb down. Alongside the canyon was a series of chains, man-made stairs, and ladders. If you are afraid of heights, this may be a tough obstacle to pass.

After the 100-foot drop, we made it to another waterfall, Mooney Falls. Mooney Falls was beautiful and many people took pictures. Ted swam in the water under the Falls for a bit, to relive his old swimming days. The water was a lot colder than I expected, but it was still beautiful and enjoyable to walk around in.

Once we were done at Mooney Falls, we started our hike to the Beaver Falls. The path between the Falls was beautiful and many people were out hiking.

Beaver Falls

After reaching Beaver Falls, we went swimming and took lots of pictures. It was an amazing experience and I loved seeing so many people swimming, taking pictures, and smiling. Everyone was so happy and astonished by the beauty of the falls.

One tip that I have for anyone hiking to Beaver Falls is: bring two pairs of shoes on the trip. One for the hike down to the Campground, preferably tennis shoes or sneakers, and one for Beaver falls, preferably Crocs or Chacos. I made the mistake of bringing my tennis shoes to Beaver Falls and they got very wet from three river crossings and lots of mud.

Day 3: Hiking Back Up

On day three, Ted and I were sad to leave. We had such an amazing experience as we were detached from social media, U.S. news, and society.

On our way back up, we met a Native American woman who told us about the Coronavirus. She was very worried and said that her daughter goes to college in Arizona and her classes were canceled. Ted and I knew of Covid-19 prior to leaving, but we did not know the intensity of the virus.

Eventually, we talked to another Native American man who was also worried about Covid-19. He said that the closest store was to them was Walmart, and it was 120 miles away. He expressed his fear of not having access to physicians, treatments, and basic necessities. This was a very eye-opening conversation because I did not consider the effects of Covid-19 on the Native American population. According to the Native American man, he said that physicians come down to their village once every few days, but now he was worried that there would be a change in this schedule.

Being a pre-med student, I understood the importance of physical care and the need for physicians during this time. I wished that I was able to do something and give back to Supai.

With the fear of Covid-19 ahead of us, Ted and I hiked the 10-miles back up to the Hualapai Hilltop. One we reached the top, it was empty and all the cars we had seen when we arrived had all left.

Havasupai closed due to Covid-19

Then we saw a sign saying: “closed until further notice.” At this point, Ted and I had realized the significance of Covid-19 and quickly got into our car to head back to Las Vegas for our flight back home.

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