Sure, almost every work & travel student dreams of awesome adventures in the United States and has visited the Grand Canyon. It’s one of the top attractions in the whole world and many people dream about seeing it from childhood. But, how many have been IN the Grand Canyon? Well, me. And that was a hell of an adventure!
It’s a whole lot more of a story behind this short part, but the main idea is that everything was spontaneous. Before arriving to the United States that year – 2017 – I had seen a video on Facebook of an amazing waterfall hidden in the Grand Canyon, called Havasu Falls. Since the Grand Canyon was, of course, on the bucket list for that summer, I was planning on visiting that waterfall as well.
Context – or how we decided to do it!
Fast-forward, we were on our last day in San Francisco, planning a 10-day trip on the West Coast. Before that, I had done some research on how to get to the falls and I learnt that you would have needed to make a reservation 6 months in advance. The reason was that in order to get to the waterfall, you would have to go through a Native-American reservation and camp there. The administrators did not want to spoil the virgin land with too many tourists and the spots were limited. Also, another rule was that you had to spend at least one night in the Indian Reservation, due to the long road to the waterfall. These were some turn-offs, but I was determined to see that amazing waterfall at least once in my life. So, we shot our shots and just went there.
The actual adventure – or hiking for 4 hours through deserted land
We got at the starting point at 9:43 AM, all loaded up with bottles of water and snacks. Fun fact: the road to the Grand Canyon starting point was not even on Google Maps. However, the asphalt was better than national roads in Romania.
The heat was extreme, probably around 40 degrees Celsius, if not more, and our heavy backpacks did not make the situation easier. We found a solution! We didn’t want to drink all our water on our way there and not have anything for the road back. Also getting rid of some weight wasn’t a bad idea either. So, we hid some bottles underneath marked stones and took them when we returned. Sort of Hansel-and-Gretel-like.
As our feet and backs were hurting, Native Americans were passing by, with their donkeys loaded with supplies for their remote village.
The landscapes were breathtaking and the unique experience we were going through made us forget about the physical pain. Not to mention the genuine cacti that I was seeing.
We had some fun on the road, too. We saw a pair of boots under a rock, making it look like there was a dead man. It was a bit frightening at first, but then we realized it was a prank:
After three hours, we finally got to the village. This was the defining moment, the time we would find out if we were able to continue to the waterfall or not.
At the registration point, the lady refused to let us keep going, of course. One-day trips were not allowed! But, as the sneaky Romanians that we were, we started begging, telling her that we were just students from Romania and that it was our dream to visit this waterfall, that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and so on. You can imagine how it works!
“Ok”, she said. “$120 each!”. Well, ok, ma’am, we were expecting you to charge us, but this much?! For only two hours spent effectively at the waterfall (we had to be back before it got dark, there were no street lights in the Grand Canyon 😉)?
My boyfriend wanted to talk me out of it and turn around, saying it was too much, but I insisted. And it was worth it, however, since the lady saw how determined we were and only charged $120 for both of us. I think it also helped that we complained about being poor students from Romania and not having money. 😊
Before going to the best part, here are some pics from the Native-American village, which, by the way, inspired me to write my BA paper. I was impressed by where these people lived, so far from everything.
Heaven on Earth!
It was another hour worth of hiking through the village until we got to the waterfall. But, as soon as I saw it in front of my eyes, from that high cliff that I was on, I was like: “Are we in Heaven?!”. The color of the water was something that I hadn’t seen before and it really inspired heavenly vibes. And I’m not a religious person! It was amazing how, for 4 hours we had only seen desert and rocks and, here, at the waterfall, everything was green and alive. Photos will speak for themselves:
There, we spent two hours bathing in this dream place, asking ourselves how it is possible for such a lively wonder to exist in the middle of nowhere. It is really amazing how nature can surprise us.
And after that, another 4 hours back to the starting point. The last episode of “Adventures in the Grand Canyon” – coming back. The good part was that it wasn’t so hot anymore. The best part? It got really dark right before we climbed up to the main road and we got the chance to see a sky like no other. Do you know how a clear sky looks like at night, where there are no lights? Well, imagine those stars and multiply them by one hundred or one thousand. There was no light anywhere near, so we probably could see all the existent stars in the Universe. Probably the most romantic night ever, all sweaty and tired, but happy.