Hi everyone!! I can’t believe it’s already May…it’s going to be our 1 year wedding anniversary next month! Where did the time go?
We have since continued our national park tradition and actually headed back to Grand Canyon around April 14th. We booked the tickets on February 2nd and were planning for the May timeframe but April 14th was all that was available. It ended up being a nice coincidence because that was our 2 year engagement anniversary. I think I set up a nice tradition to go somewhere for that date too!
Even though we had already been to the Grand Canyon, I’ve read blogs and pictures about the famous Havasu waterfalls. These waterfalls are so popular that you are required to have a permit and they get sold out for the year in 30 minutes! If you want to stay in the lodge instead of camping you have to reserve rooms the year before you want to go…yikes!
It was me and Nelli’s first backpacking/camping experience together and we were so nervous! For it being our first time, I think we did extremely well but there are a few things we’ll do differently next time…
- Bring more warm clothing – Grand Canyon was pretty warm during the day but nightime was freezing! Especially the first night when it was considerably more windy….I thought our tent was going to collapse! Luckily, I had brought long pajama pants but the rest of the stuff I packed were capris. I am going to invest in some warm lightweight hoodies as well as pants/leggings. Long sleeve shirts/hoodies and pants will also protect you from the sun and the dust…there is a LOT of dust in the grand canyon so also a bandana would be very helpful to cover your mouth.
- Invest in a good day pack – Since Nelli runs half marathons he receives a lot of free running bags so we often take them on casual hikes. We stuffed a lot of things into the running bag for our backpacking trip so it was no surprise that it broke! Next trip, we will buy a durable day pack for more heavy duty hikes and preferably one that is waterproof since we had to cross some rivers. On that note, I meant to bring my water shoes but I forgot, those would have been helpful during havasu so I wouldn’t have to keep taking off my hiking boots. We flew into Vegas as they had more flight options and access to gear rental companies; this way we didn’t have to fly with a backpack – we highly recommend Basecamp Outdoor Gear.
- Practice hikes with backpack – we did a couple of strenuous hikes but we didn’t practice with any weight on our backs! The Grand canyon hiking wasn’t unbearable, we were moderately sore, and we made decent time but we will do a little more realistic practice next time! it also helped that on the way back we decided to rent a mule with two other people we met on the official FB group – this way we didn’t have our 30 pound packs going up the switchbacks…no bueno!
- Arrive at the trailhead at around 5-6am – Most hotels are more than an hour away but I think its worth it to sleep in a bed whereas most people slept in their car at the trailhead to get an early start. We stayed at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn in Peach Springs – we wanted to take advantage of the hotel’s free breakfast so we got a late start…next time we’ll skip and bring some on the go cereal bars. It’s definitely a plus to arrive early because when we arrived at the campground, most spots were taken and we were so tired after setting up our tent, we went to sleep without eating dinner. oops!
- Communication and patience – I told some of my readers that camping and backpacking is a team sport especially when your spouse tags along! Some things are more important to other people when backpacking – Nelli was adamant that we bring a surplus of food/tissue in our packs and what was important to me was ensuring that our campsite was clean and tidy to prevent bugs. We worked through our individual OCD’s and just tried to be patient and accommodate each other as best as we could. Camping is great couples therapy!
Overall, Havasu is even better than the pictures I researched. The crystal blue water in the middle of a desert was gorgeous. Hiking over 30 miles in 3 days to see these waterfalls (3 in total) was the hardest thing I’ve done to date and I can’t wait to see what me and Nelli have planned next!