I hiked into Havasupai Canyon last week and slept in my DIY hammock for the first time! It was absolutely beautiful down there, full moon overhead and blue-green waters running past me.
This was a perfect first time hammock hang for me as the Arizona weather was warm and dry, allowing me to forego the tarp. Also perfect was the Havasupai Campground, with the creek running through its length and its big cottonwood trees throughout with endless choices for hanging spots.
The hike in from Haluapai Hilltop is really nice, with lots of shade along the way if the sun gets too hot. This was not the case for me, as the weather was actually quite cool until I got to the town of Supai, 8 miles from the trailhead. I had heard that the two big floods in recent years (2008 & 2010) had decimated the travertine pools, leaving the place less spectacular than it once was. If this is true, then I can only imagine how amazing it must have been before the floods. It was impressive, beautiful, delicate, powerful and all around awesome!
I signed in at the office in Supai, paid my $81.40 (fee, 2 night camping fee, environmental fee) and hiked down to the campground. Along the way I passed the new (moved a bit after one of the floods) Navajo Falls, then Havasu Falls after that. The campground ranger checked my tags and told me to choose my site, basically anywhere that there was a picnic table. No site numbers, just lots of available places to pitch a tent or hang a hammock. I wandered through to the far end of the campground and found a great spot just a short stroll to Mooney Falls, which marks the end of the campground.
My first night in the hammock was so great! I didn't have time to get/make an underquilt before I left for this trip, so I used a pad and a combination of a 40 degree down quilt and the 32 degree Ozark Trail down sleeping bag from Wally World. The temps that night were in the low 40's and I was cozy as could be. The gentle rocking of the hammock was all my hike weary bones needed to fall into a happy sleep, even with the full moon overhead.
It turns out the best way to the bathroom from the other side of the creek was right past my hammock, which would have bothered me were it not for the steady stream of comments I got. "Wow, I love your setup there." "Is that comfortable?" "Hey, do you sleep in the hammock?" "I've always wanted to try that." And on, and on, and on... Maybe I'll tire of these questions at some point, but I am so high on hanging right now that I just loved to talk about it.
The second day was all hiking and swimming. The descent to the base of Mooney Fallls is really cool. A bit exposed with some slippery travertine down-climbing. As many people commented, this is a bit different from what you would find in a National Park. Liability seems to end at the sign up top which reads DESCEND AT OWN RISK. Just don't let go of the chains on the way down! Beaver Falls, a couple miles further downstream, is an awesome place to swim and climb around, with ladders and ledges all around.
With an early enough start, you can hike all the way to the confluence of Havasupai Creek and the Colorado River. I did not start that early. Next time. On the way in I was drawn to the amazing waterfalls and the creek in general. After being around it for a full day, what my attention was drawn to were all of the places where the water obviously ran at some time in the past. Ledges along the trail and under vegetation that were obviously travertine pools at some point. The area around Mooney Falls that shows that the water once ran as wide as the valley itself, not just the slot through which it falls now. So amazing
I am so hooked on the hammock now...Gotta get more days off!!!