Hiking Adventure to Supai, Arizona | Sunday, November 15, 2015 | Day 1
Remember last year, when Curtis and I went on a 3 day 44 mile hiking trip to Supai? [read those exciting posts here: day 1 / day 2 / day 3 ] Several times in those posts, I called this a once in a lifetime adventure. As it turns out, I was wrong…we just returned from this year’s trip!
This year was completely different than last. We hiked with a bigger group – 3 other fun couples. There was an ulterior motive for this trip. We knew all that was coming, and how to prepare. The weather forecast wasn’t as desirable as last year, even though it was earlier in the year. And Curtis and my goal wasn’t to hike farther or faster or to relive the whole trip, but rather to try to take in the beauty in a new way, to rest, relax, and enjoy the waterfalls, and each other. By not pushing ourselves to the limit, we were able to return renewed, rejuvenated, and with a different perspective than before.
The trip was planned with an itinerary that matched last year’s, with us driving up to Seligman, AZ the night before to minimize the trip the morning of the hike. This worked out well for us both years – we recommend staying at the Deluxe Inn Motel right off of the main road. It’s nothing fancy, but it gives us just what we need – a good night’s rest before a long trip at a great price. Each room is uniquely decorated in a different theme – our personal favorite is the Elvis theme, complete with a large cardboard cutout of the man himself. Curtis and I also really enjoyed conversing with the owner. He happens to own the Supai Inn in Seligman as well, and he genuinely loves operating these hotels because of the people he meets every night.
The next morning, we arose bright and early to drive the remaining hour and a half to the trailhead at the Haulapai Hilltop. The best part about this drive is always the Burma Shave signs along the road. Can I start a new campaign? #BringBackBurmaShaveSigns! We only saw one elk along the road on the way up, but on the way back we spotted a group of pronghorns. As we came closer, the anticipation of getting that first peak at the Grand Canyon grew greater and greater until we finally saw a glimpse of the great divide. We reached the trailhead around 8 AM, where we met up with the group and got together our packs with whatever we needed for the next 2 days. After a few trailhead pictures, we were off on our great adventure!
Because I was very thorough on describing the trail last year, I won’t go into all the details of the trails to the village, the waterfalls, and the Colorado River. I had forgotten little things like how steep the switchbacks are or how long some sections last, but little flashbacks of last year came to my memory as we passed familiar places. As we passed the spot where we had a fruit snack break last year, I suddenly got a craving for the sticky sweet taste of fruit snacks. My favorite part of the trail is where the tall tree stands alone, its bright green leaves contrasting against the red canyon walls. (though last year the leaves were a bit more yellow!)
Curtis and I tend to walk quickly when we hike. I used to think it was just me trying to catch up with his long strides, but when I was in the lead, he commented that I was going pretty fast. We decided to go ahead of the group a ways to enjoy walking alone together. It’s not often that we get to be alone together, without friends or Charlotte. When we would stop for water breaks, there were times when it was absolutely silent, and we just stood there and listened to that peaceful, calming sound of nothing. Just a light, crisp breeze against my face as I stood there, admiring the sun starting to hit the tall, red canyon walls. It was glorious.We would look at each other and just smile, and know instantly how much the other was enjoying this. This is just what our introverted souls needed to feel refreshed and ready for this hiking trip.
When we came to the first river crossing over the bridge, just a mile from the village of Supai, we played Pooh Sticks while we waited for our friends to catch up. I won every time. Curtis can deny it all he wants, but it’s a fact that when you’re faster at dropping the stick, your stick will always win. 😉 Once we were reunited with our group, we finished the hike to the village within the red canyon walls.
Upon reaching the lodge, we found that they were on their lunch break and wouldn’t reopen for another hour and a half. Or maybe you’re just not allowed to check in until 1. Anyway, we took our time and had some lunch while we waited. We all enjoyed exchanging our own homemade dehydrated snacks and getting ideas for next time. Vanessa made some amazing tofu turkey jerky, and Jaclyn had mastered something we thought was impossible – dehydrated cantaloupe. YUM! As always, Curtis came prepared with a wide variety of different dehydrated foods, either for snacking on or with the possibility of being reconstituted with water for dinner.
Once the lodge reopened, we checked in and dropped off some things in our rooms. Staying in the lodge is rather expensive (as you can imagine…when you’re the only hotel in the bottom of the canyon, you can charge whatever you want!) but on this trip, it proved to be worth it. I think I would have died if we had camped this time, when the lows dropped below freezing and it drizzled periodically! Maybe if we do it again during a different time of year, we’d try camping. For this trip, we were happy to have comfy beds, warm showers, protection from the cold, and lighter packs due to not carrying down camping supplies!
Finally, we were ready to hike to the falls. Now remember what I said about some having “ulterior motives” for coming down here? This is when that comes into play! You may notice I mention our friends Mitch and Julianna often when I talk about our hikes in Arizona. Mitch has been a great friend of Curtis’ ever since Curtis moved to Tucson for college, and was also the Best Man in our wedding. Last year, it was just the 3 of us hiking to Supai together, and while we had a blast, we were all hoping and praying that someday, another special girl would be joining us on our adventures. (Mitch may think that he wanted this more than anyone, but I would beg to differ. I was pretty desperate for some female company to balance things out!) Within the next couple months, God brought the perfect girl into the picture: she and I had so much in common, and I finally had someone to relate to and commiserate with when the guys were being crazy! Oh, and I guess she and Mitch got along alright too. 😉 On our hiking trip in the Grand Canyon last April, Curtis and I had the pleasure of photographing the moment when their relationship became “official” on the middle of the suspension bridge over the Colorado River. Now today…FINALLY…we were so excited to be a part of watching their relationship move forward to the “next level” 🙂
Mitch had it all planned out perfectly. He began building it up at the lodge when he surprised her with a video from his parents, telling them how excited they were for them and giving them some advice for the next step. Then, at each waterfall we came to along the trail, he would show her another sweet video message from everyone in her family, until they reached Mooney Falls, the 4th waterfall along the trail, and the tallest waterfall in Arizona. After climbing down the canyon wall (which is no easy task, if you remember from last time!) he showed her one last video: one showing the process of how her ring was created. (He had panned the gold for the band on his own, then refined it and had it designed specially for her!) Then he led her up closer to the falls, got on one knee and proposed to her in the most beautifully picturesque setting one could only dream of. And she said YES! Our dear friends are FINALLY ENGAGED!!
We celebrated that night with some delicious hotel room Ramen noodles and 4 year old Riesling that Mitch carried down in his pack. What an exciting way to begin this new chapter in their lives, with such a great adventure! Congrats again to the happy couple, we couldn’t be happier for you, for all God’s done in your lives and all that will come. 🙂
Is reading about all this excitement not enough? Watch the breathtaking proposal here! Also, stay tuned for another post and a video coming soon, with all our GoPro footage from this hike.