Havasupai Campground– 4:45 am: Alarms go off.
We rise and shine.
Thankfully, we had all packed up the night before, giving us a quick start to the morning. Even though we were groggy-eyed and cold, we were pumped for the continental breakfast the Grand Canyon Cavern Inn provided us. Coffee. Bagels. Muffins. Carbs on carbs on carbs. But we’d need it for the 12-mile trek down into the canyon.
7:30: After taking a group photo, the six of us; Caleb, Greg, Adam, Austin, Micah, and I all began the downward hike into the canyon and towards Havasupai Village.
7:31: I’m already behind everyone because I’m doing my best to be Ansel Adams. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (I’ll be behind and then catch up the entire way down.)
10:15: We arrive in Havasupai Village, doing 9 miles in right around two and a half hours. It’s a very good time in my mind. After showing our documents, we were given the okay to keep moving on. At this point, I weirdly had cell service so I shot my parents a message signaling I was still alive.
11:30: We decide on a camping spot on an island (and right by a bathroom — very clutch) and begin to set up shop. My Big Agnes 2-person Happy Hooligan tent took about 90 seconds to put up (which makes it an absolute pleasure to take backpacking) and maybe another 3 minutes to put in all the stakes and rain fly. With the rest of the ‘Big 3’ in my tent, which just so happens to be a Big Agnes Mystic and Big Agnes Q-Core SLX sleeping pad, I was set.
12:15 pm: Time to eat and rest. It’s much needed.
12:45: The group heads to Havasu Falls to have our respective minds blown. I set up my tripod and started experimenting with long exposure and I’m happy to say it turned out well.
While I was doing this, the guys went swimming and jumped off the wall behind the waterfall. When I got done being a recluse… (Insert time for you to think “Oh Alec, you’re not a recluse”), I rejoined the dudes, and we hung out on a partially submerged picnic table. Absolute perfection!
2:00: Caleb “tricks” me by wanting a photo with me but then proceeds to throw me into the water. (See ensuing photos). I saw it coming but welcomed the Havasupai baptism.
2:30: Micah brought Spikeball and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. There are few things better than SB with a magnificent waterfall in the background.
4:15: Its starting to get chilly, so we head back to change clothes and start cooking dinner.
5:30: I finally succumb to the dinner vibes. I normally don’t eat until 7:30 so this was a little weird but my Mountain House chicken and mashed potatoes were fantastic. So was Greg’s salted caramel chocolate bar he generously shared.
6:30: After filling up our water bottles and pouches (there’s a spring down here which is awesome), the five us still awake (Austin had passed out already) hopped into our hammocks for some shut-eye/relaxation time – which is where I’m writing most of this from.
8:00: It’s supposed to get down into the low 30s tonight. We’re all in our separate tents now, trying to get comfy and stay warm.
It’s also my last day of being 25. Tomorrow I turn the page towards the second half of my twenties.
It’s been an amazing year and couldn’t be happier how it has turned out. I’ve met amazing new people along the way. Moved out. Seen some of North America’s most amazing scenery. Started a new job that I love.
And now I get to start 26 surrounded by waterfalls, green trees, fresh air, and good people.
Here’s to a new year….just without dad’s insurance. That’s no bueno. Actually bummed about it and I think that means I’m truly an adult now.
Stay tuned for Day 2!