So we were on our way out of Havasu, happy to be back on the road, when the refrigerator vent door flew off the camper. This was just our luck. Mike and I just looked at each other, both of us thinking and dreading that this is how the rest of the trip was going to be. But we just pulled over, picked the vent door up, and tacked it back on. Then as we were about to hop back in the truck, we noticed the trailer lights were no longer working. Not even 1 mile out of town, and we were already struggling. But Mike jiggled the switch and they came back on. Thankfully that’s all it was.
Our only planned stop was the Grand Canyon on our way back home to Nashville and Ohio. We had gotten the permit for Havasupai Falls, which consists of a 3-day, 10-mile hike in and out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon to get to the waterfalls. We still wanted to see the Grand Canyon from the top, so we headed to the South Rim first. The drive from Lake Havasu to the South Rim was about 3 1/2 hours, so it was getting dark. We were almost to the canyon when we came within a few inches of hitting an elk that had jumped out in front of us, but thankfully we made it to the South Rim safely. We climbed up in the camper, slept for the night, and woke up to a beautiful view of the canyon where we spent the whole day.
The Havasupai Falls hike started the next morning, and the trailhead was still 3 1/2 hours away, so we decided to head out after dinner. One problem. The temperature had dropped so low that the truck didn’t want to start. We were finding out just how cold-natured diesels could be. Back at the campground, we were able to plug the truck in at night so the glow plugs were already heated the next morning and the truck would start right up. We didn’t have an outlet to plug into at the Grand Canyon, so it just got too cold. We had tried to start the truck so many times that we ran the batteries down. Luckily, another Grand Canyon visitor was able to jump start us, and we were back on the road. We didn’t want that to happen again, so we needed a generator. We wanted to get one from Harbor Freight because Mike would get an employee discount, but all of the Harbor Freight stores were closed by that time. So with no generator, we needed something to help the truck start a little easier after the hike. We decided to get 2 new batteries. Now the only problem was that the closest auto parts store was in Flagstaff, 1 hour in the opposite direction of the trailhead. But we had to have them, and the O’Reilly’s was open until 11pm, so we made it there right before they closed. By 3am, we finally made it to Hilltop trailhead.
We got a few hours sleep and woke up early to pack our bags. We had to bring everything we needed for 3 days: food, propane, cooking and eating utensils, tent, sleeping gear, etc. I had done one 4-day, 26-mile hike before in Tasmania, but I was still learning about ultra-light camping gear and how to pack lighter. By the time we got all of our gear loaded, our packs had to be somewhere around 60 lbs a piece. They were heavy. We got all the way from our truck to the start of the trailhead before we stopped and had to readjust our packs. This was going to be a long 10 miles.
But we started down the trail, dropping 2000 feet in the first mile walking back and forth on switchbacks. We got passed by several donkey trains.
We continued 8 miles to Supai Village, where the Havasupai people live. We passed a few houses, the general store, and a rodeo arena. There were a few people out on their porches and some 8-10 year old kids playing in the street. We waved and kept walking. Next thing I know, one of the children runs passed us and turns around to tell me his name was Patrick. I introduced myself. And then out of nowhere the kid yelled “water!” and started grabbing for my water bottle hooked to my pack. Then 4 other little devil-children attacked me from behind and started grabbing my backpack, pulling me down. Mike had to come over and fight them off me. Then they started attacking Mike. It was 5 against 2, and they were ruthless. I didn’t want to yell or grab them because I didn’t want their parents to come out and accuse us of hitting their children, so all I could think to do was swing my body around hoping they would lose their tight death grips on my backpack. After a few minutes, they ran away and we escaped out of there. After we got out of the village, I looked at my gear and noticed my water bottle strap was almost completely torn through from those kids pulling on it so hard. I was pissed about the whole situation. But we continued on. We still had 2 miles until we reached the campground and it was getting dark.
We made it to the campground, set up tent, and we both passed out by 8pm.
We set up in the dark, so when we woke up the next morning we saw the beautiful blue-green river and a wild horse grazing right next to us.
We spent the whole day exploring Mooney Falls, where we descended down ladders, rope, and rock stairs to get to the bottom where there was a picnic table in the water. We went swimming and headed back to camp. At camp, we found a natural spring for water next to our campsite, built a fire pit and found some wood. The next morning, we spent some time at Havasupai Falls on the way out of the campground. We hiked the 10 miles back toward the Hilltop, in the rain. We were soaked. And exhausted. But we made it back to the trailhead where our camper, a hot shower, and a bed was calling my name. We stayed in the camper at the trailhead that night to recover and planned to continue our trip home the next day. It was difficult but the experience was absolutely worth it.