havasu falls, nature, landscape

Havasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona

by Gregg Thomas.


After driving to the trail head on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which is generally west to southwest of the Grand Canyon National Park, Bryan Scruggs and I got our packs on and readied ourselves to hike down to the Supai Village, over nine miles away. The first view to the west was this one. Just spectacular!

havasu falls, nature, landscape

Bryan and I would find ourselves with our jaws open over and over again, amazed at the rock formations, geology, and incredible vistas. From the trail head, a series of switchbacks wound down the side of the escarpment until we hit the valley floor. This would prove to be the big challenge the next day, as we were now hiking in on the part of the trail that was to be the last mile of a two-day, 32.1 mile hike. Bryan would have finished way ahead of me had he not kept waiting for the tortoise to catch up. Many thanks from me to Bryan for staying with his (slow) wing-man! I think I still owe the man a cold draft beer or two!

havasu falls, nature, landscape

The shot above was taken from one of the steep switchbacks as we headed down to the valley floor. It illustrates the crazy amount of geological diversity we saw that day.

 

According to Wiki: “The nearly 40 major sedimentary rock layers exposed in the Grand Canyon and in the Grand Canyon National Park area range in age from about 200 million to nearly 2 billion years old. Most were deposited in warm, shallow seas and near ancient, long-gone sea shores in western North America. Both marine and terrestrial sediments are represented, including fossilized sand dunes from an extinct desert.”

havasu falls, nature, landscape

At this point, Bryan and I had reached the valley floor. The view above is looking west up at a huge cliff face reflecting the warm light of the sunrise. From this point, the trail continued to wind its way lower and lower, eventually leading us to the very bottom of the valley floor, where the wash of rain floods have deposited millions of rocks, most polished into river stones.

 

havasu falls, nature, landscape

The shot above was taken from down in the wash, again looking back to the west. The white bluff in the background, from my kindergarten level understanding of the complex geology of this area, is a mixture of white limestone and sandstone. I believe the rock in the foreground is redwall limestone, colored the way it is due to the high amount of iron mineral in the rock. 

havasu falls, nature, landscape

The shot above is another taken from the floor of the valley in the wash. 

havasu falls, nature, landscape

havasu falls, nature, landscape

The two pictures above were taken further down in the canyon, where the wash is framed by sheer red cliffs on either side of the trail. These unusual rock formations caught my eye. At this point, the narrow canyon has a distinct reddish glow due to the sun continuously glancing off and being dispersed in all directions by faces of the massive red cliffs.

havasu falls, nature, landscape

Wispy white clouds moved lazily above the huge red cliffs, providing for interesting perspectives. At this point, we were only three or so miles from the Supai Village, as far as we knew.

More to come in Part II, so stay tuned!

 

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