As I mentioned in my previous post, Nathan's family had been planning a trip to Havasupai for the past year or so. Well it finally happened. In mid-September we ventured out (without kids!) and embarked on our Havasupai Journey! Everyone was able to make it besides Brooke and Mark (Brooke was already 5 months pregnant at the time). We missed them! But it was such a fun experience and I am SOO glad that I went! I will admit I hesitated a bit in the weeks before because I was in the early part of my pregnancy and feeling pretty crummy everyday. I just didn't want to go hiking/camping and feel like I was going to throw up the whole time. But I decided that it would be ok (whenever I exercise during pregnancy I don't notice the nausea...so I hoped it would be the same experience). The other concern was whether or not to carry my own day pack. Nate and I, along with my doctor, decided it would be better to send my pack in with a donkey and just carry a lighter-weight day pack. I think that was a good decision. So on Wednesday night Andrea, Paul, Nathan and I made the drive up to the Hilltop. We didn't get there until after midnight. Nate's parents, Ashley, Justin, Erin, and Kasey (who had driven down from Las Vegas) had arrived just before us. We pitched a tent outside our car in the parking lot to catch a few hours of shut-eye before we began the hike. We woke up about 5:30 am and finally got on our way around 7. A little later than we had planned on but it all worked out. Before we started the hike Nate asked everyone to gather together for a group picture (nobody knew we were pregnant, yet). He said, "1, 2, 3...say, Jessica's Pregnant!"...it was great to get the picture of everyone's reaction. Unfortunately I don't have that picture yet. We only had 2 cameras on the trip to avoid carrying too much weight. I've been trying to get a hold of all of these pictures for the last month but decided, in order to not delay my blog posting any longer, I'd just go ahead and post what I had. So this is another of the group shot before starting out...(Julianne was taking the picture...she flew into Havasupai on a helicopter and rode a horse out. It worked out well because I sent my pack with her on the way down.)So the hike is about 10-11 miles each way. The first couple miles is just switchbacks straight down (and up) the canyon wall. After that the trail was fairly level. It was so much fun just talking and hiking that morning. We got to the campground (after meeting up with Julianne at the village a couple miles before) in the early afternoon and set up camp. We pretty much just hung out and relaxed the rest of the afternoon. The next day we spent hiking around and visiting 3 different waterfalls. It was amazing. The water was incredibly clear...And the red rock everywhere was really beautiful. Everyone was pretty crazy and jumped off of one of the waterfalls. (I lucked out of that one, thanks to the pregnancy :) ) We camped out again on Friday night and then hiked back up to the hilltop on Saturday morning. Here are a few more pictures to illustrate our adventures!
The water pump at the campsite
This is the waterfall that everyone jumped off of...even the girls! The water was pretty dang cold, I will admit...but after hiking in the heat all day it felt nice.
Another one of the falls where we washed our hair the second day!
This is actually one of us hiking back out on Saturday morning.
The whole group (minus Justin who wimped out when he saw the descent to this waterfall...:) You can't blame the guy...it was pretty freaky...and if you are at all scared of heights it's brutal._
See, that was the only way to get down to Mooney Falls...can you blame Justin for skipping out? The picture doesn't even do it justice.
This last picture is from the top of Mooney Falls.
I have to tell a quick story about Mooney Falls before I end this post. We visited this waterfall at the end of the day. We had been jumping off and swimming behind other falls all day. We were all standing around looking at it when someone said that they thought there was a secret room behind this fall. Nathan got curious and started swimming out to it. Before we knew it he was no where to be seen. Kasey, who was off to the side of the falls said he could see Nathan, trying to swim out. Nobody seemed to be that worried, but as the minutes went by I knew something was wrong. I walked around to the side of the falls to see if I could see Nathan. Sure enough, I could barely see him swimming as hard as he could to try and get out...and he was barely moving! I was freaking out. Luckily, that time that I watched him he was able to get out. I literally broke down in tears when he got to me. I could tell that he was pretty shaken up, as well. After hearing Nathan's side of the story we were really counting our blessings. He described how he had barely reached the outskirts of the waterfall when the current literally sucked him in and behind it. There was no place to sit or get out of the way...so he was hanging onto a rock behind the falls. He tried a couple times to swim out, but could not escape the current. And Nathan is a very strong swimmer. He said in his mind he was so scared. He had tried with all his might to swim out to no avail. He finally said a prayer and tried one more time. As he was swimming he lifted his head, thinking that he had maybe cleared the falls, only to find that he was right under neath it getting pounded! So he took another breath and kept swimming! Until finally he felt sand beneath one of his hands and was able to pull him self up to stand. That's when I saw him coming out. He says still that it was the closest he has ever felt to dying in his life and that he was truly scared. I think he seriously suffered some post-traumatic stress from the experience and had nightmares for a couple days afterwards. The worst feeling came when we looked up "Mooney Falls" when we got home and discovered that a 31 yr old man had died there only 2.5 months before! We are so grateful that our experience ended better than his. I am so grateful to still have Nathan with me!
So that was our Havasupai adventure. Mostly awesome...with a little scare...but overall it really was amazing! If I get a hold of any more pictures that are worth posting, I will be sure to do so. And if you read this far, thanks for reading!!! :)