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This hike is rated VERY DIFFICULT!
Please read everything carefully before you RSVP!
Arizona's most beautiful gem is Havasupai! Join us for a four day / three night trip to this gorgeous garden of Eden, with red rock canyons, waterfalls, pools, lush campgrounds, and more to explore! The view of 120 foot Havasu Falls pictured here is by itself worth the price of admission. Mooney Falls drops over 200 feet and requires a spectacular cliff descent to reach.
While the payoff of the experience is tremendous, the hiking involved over the trip can reach 30 miles depending on how much exploring you do on the middle day(s). At a minimum you'll to 10-12 miles to reach the campsite on the first day and the same again on the last day to exit. It's canyon style, so you'll do the climbing on the way out at the very end when you're most tired. The mileage for the journey in is estimated because the campsites reside along Havasu Creek and the area extends a couple of miles. We won't know exactly how far in we'll stop until we reach there and find an open spot. We may or may not all camp together depending on what we find, although we will try our best to stay all in one spot.
The good news (in terms of hiking effort) is that you can hire a mule train to carry your backpacking gear 90% of the way to the start of the campground for a small fee. It was the best money I've ever spent. Trust me, don't carry your camping stuff! You need to book your mule one week in advance of the trip! The mules are under $200 each round-trip and can carry up to 4 packs or duffle bags (130 lbs max total). Plan to pair/triple/quadruple up with other attendees to share a mule. Mention in your RSVP comments if you want a mule and can coordinate sharing one with other members. Your mule costs are not included in your RSVP fee.
Our itinerary will begin on Wednesday afternoon when we begin our drive up. From the carpool we'll drive to Peach Springs, AZ for an overnight stay in a motel (see below). Paying for your rooms is not included in the RSVP fee. From there Thursday morning we'll drive to the trailhead, expect to leave the motel by car at 5:00 am to reach the trailhead by 6:00 am. There will be some logistical delay while we check in and get the mules setup. Expect to start hiking around 7:00 am or later. We should reach our campsites by early to mid afternoon. On Friday and Saturday, you're welcome to explore on your own, lounge around in the river and pools, and/or follow me as I lead a group to Mooney Falls and beyond. On Sunday morning we'll hike out, plan to break camp early and leave by 6:00 am so we're done before it's too hot. You should have enough time to drive back home Sunday afternoon, or if you're too tired you can stay again in a motel and go home Monday morning. Coordinate this choice with your carpool-mates and reserve accordingly at the motel.
I'm not planning any group meals, food is your own responsibility. There is a natural spring from which you can replenish your water supply at the campsite. I recommend a water purification system (filter, tablets, and/or UV-zapper). They also have several surprisingly clean composting toilets (http://lizsong.blogspot.com/2012/04/havasupai-compost-toilets.html). Although the toilets are stocked, bring your own toilet paper just in case.
Everyone who attends will get a Trail Mix T-shirt, the cost of which is included in the RSVP payment along with your campground permit fees. No, you can't skip the T-shirt or its associated cost. Shirts are highly recommended for large groups to help identify each other if we get separated.
NOTE - there are NO REFUNDS from me for the RSVP fees! You can sell your spot to someone else if you can't make it. You must handle the payment transfers directly between the buyer and seller. If you do sell your spot after the shirts are ordered, I cannot change the size. Otherwise I will try to accommodate the size of the buyer. If spot(s) are sold, the seller should not un-RSVP. The SELLER must let me know by email how many spots were sold and to whom. I will handle changing the RSVPs.
Things to budget for:
Campground fees and Trail Mix T-shirt (covered in RSVP, $125) Mule train for carrying gear (~ $200/mule split 4 ways = $50) Gas (~ 400 miles total, $$$ depends on your carpool size / vehicle) Motel (depends where you stay, $60/night where I'm staying) Camping gear (depends on what gear you already have vs rent) Camping food (depends on what you want to eat) Your total will depend on how elaborate you like to camp and how much stuff you rent vs. buy and/or already have. Last time I went I rented a tent, backpack, and stove, stayed one night in a motel, and spent around $300+ all in. Your mileage may vary. The RSVP payment you make on meetup breaks out to include the Havasupai entrance fee, the per-night campground fees, the environmental fee, the taxes, the paypal fees, and your Trail Mix t-shirt. Everything else you should expect to pay for out of pocket during the trip. Bring cash in case they don't accept your credit card.
Tent, sleeping bag, and ground pad Cooking gear, food for 4 solid high energy days Daypack, hiking poles, snacks, and water for the hike in Water purification system if you feel it's necessary Swimsuit, towel, watershoes, goggles, etc. for swimming Change of clothing for three days Night gear (lights, warmer clothes) Personal items, toiletries, sun protection, extra batteries, etc. CAMERA!!! I expect you all to be experienced campers and know what you'll need. However here is a checklist (http://www.trailsherpa.com/blog/2010/08/23/havasu-falls-backpacking-gear-list/) you can use to double check. No campfires are allowed.
When you RSVP, make sure you mention where you'll meet us (carpool, motel or trailhead) and what is your t-shirt size (unisex S/M/L/XL/2XL).
DISTANCE: 10-12 miles one way, plus exploration, up to 30 roundtrip!
ELEVATION GAIN: 2000 ft
DURATION: 6+ hours each day
TRAIL STYLE: In-and-out
FACILITIES: Spring water and outhouses at campsite
WEBSITE: Trailmap (http://www.havasupaitribe.com/maps.html)
CARPOOL LOCATION: We'll meet at the McDonald's parking lot at the intersection of Carefree Highway and I17. The address is 3140 W Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ. Park along the wall by the street. Although I've left my car there overnight on previous camping trips, if you are not comfortable doing that then arrange to arrive at the carpool with your companions already in your car. We'll leave there by 1:00 pm!
MOTEL INFORMATION: I'll be staying at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, Arizona 66 Peach Springs, AZ 86434. Their phone is[masked]. Here is their website (http://www.gccaverns.com/.). You can stay elsewhere if you desire and/or if they are full when you book. They have set aside some rooms for us and offered a group rate of $60/night plus tax. The rooms have two double beds, so at least 2 people but perhaps a cozy 4 could share. You have to book your rooms and pay 30 days in advance. Mention "Trail Mix Hiking Club" if you want the group rate. You can also stay in Seligman if they run out of rooms and meet us at the trailhead.
TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS: From the motel above, start on AZ-66 heading west. Go about 5 miles and turn right onto Hualapai Hilltop Hwy - Indian Rd 18 heading north. Go about 65 miles to the trailhead parking lot. The drive is about 60 to 90 minutes. Meet here Friday morning at 6:00 am! After checking in our packs, etc., we plan to start down at 7:00 am.