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Havasupai 2010

My second time going to Havasupai to visit the falls.  I went there back in 2008 (Hiking and Camping in Havasupai) and it was a great time.  However in four months later in August 2008 there was a major flood in the canyon which changed the landscape of the waterfalls.  Here are some great pictures of it during that time (www.havasupaiflood.com).  This caused the campground to be shut down for the spring of 2009.

I was anxious to go back and see how things have changed.  Instead of going through the daily routines and activities.  I’m just going to be posting photos with little excerpts and stories.  This will be probably alot more interesting than hearing our itinerary.

Photo 1: Starting our 10 mile hike from the Hualapai Hilltop.  This is where we rent our horse to carry our heavy stuff.  One horse can carry up to 130 lbs worth of stuff.  That way we only have to carry 15 lbs in our packs.

Photo 2: After hiking 8 miles and passing the town of Supai, we begin to hike next to the Havasu Creek.  Eventually the area opens up and we saw our first waterfall.  This is the new unnamed waterfall that was created during the flood.  Navajo Falls used to be just upstream of here.  I don’t believe they have named it yet.

Photo 3: Another 1 mile of hiking and we reached Havasu Falls.  It is now only a single waterfall where in the past there were two.  Havasu Falls is just upstream of the campground.


Photo 4: We arrived at the campground around 4pm and find a good campsite.  Campground permits are tough to get, but even if you get them the campground spots are a free for all, so you don’t want to get there too late.

Video: The next day we are hiking to Beaver Falls.  It is about a 3 mile hike down stream.  We will hike past Mooney Falls which is a 200 foot waterfall.  We approach Mooney from the top and will have to descend to get to its bottom.

Photo 5: After Mooney Falls, we hike towards Beaver Falls.  The landscape is very different post flood.  The creek is very shallow and we are able to hike down the middle of it in some places.

Photo 6: Chikara decided to do the rope swing.  This is the same swing that I did in 2008, but the water is so shallow now that you can only land in a small spot.  The blue area on the left side is the deep end.  Look at the difference in color from this photo before the flood (kenricswing.jpg)

Photo 7: We arrived at the top of Beaver Falls.  The water is much bluer and deeper.  Next time we will make it to the Colorado River.

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The Wave 2009

I call this trip The Wave 2009 because it was the highlight of this trip.  We packed alot of sightseeing and hiking into a 36 hour period.  We went to four destinations in which 3 are considered the most photographed in the world.  Now that may be an exaggeration but after visiting them I can see why each would draw photographers to shoot them.

Horseshoe Bend

We left Phoenix at 6:30am and headed to Page, AZ which was a 4.5 hour drive.  About 3 miles before Page, we arrived at Horseshoe Bend.  I’m sure many of you have seen a photograph of this and just didn’t know what it was called.  Unfortunately you need a wide angle lens to capture the entire bend in one shot.  The shot below was the best that I could do with my 18mm lens.  This viewpoint is a short 3/4 mile hike from the parking lot.  No big deal.  This was considered one of those, we’re driving right by it, we might as well stop and take a look.

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Antelope Canyon

The next stop was Antelope Canyon.  Antelope Canyon is also a famous photographer’s spot.  Known for its sunbeams and rich colors its a very popular tourist destination.  Even Britney Spears did a video inside Antelope Canyon.  You also cannot visit the upper region without a tour guide.  Our tour cost $32 and was about 1.5 hours.  Because everybody, including us wants to see the canyon when the sun rays coming straight down into it, going at noon is super crowded.  The tour guides do a good job of crowd control so you can take photos with no people in them.

We paid our $32 and hopped onto the rear of a pickup truck.  They drove us about 5 miles on a sandy road to the entrance of the canyon.  There were probably 20 other trucks there as we parked.  As soon as you get there you realize why its so popular.  It’s really hard to screw up a photo in the canyon.  It was very crowded at the entrance and it felt very unnatural.  Something about waiting in line while inside a canyon doesn’t feel right.

The tour guide would clear people out of the way so you could get a good photograph.  He would also tell you where to put your camera and what shots to take.  He would also throw sand into the sunbeams so that they would show in the photos.  If I had to do it again, I would go to Lower Antelope Canyon.  It’s less crowded and you don’t need a tour guide to get in.

This picture below the guide called, Monument Valley.  This was shot looking straight up.

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The Wave

The next stop was the Wave.  This is a little known but very popular destination.  The BLM gives out only 20 permits a day, 10 are given in advance and 10 the day before.  I applied for the lottery on April 1st and was lucky enough to get 4 permits for August 1st.  The wave is located just south of the Utah border in Arizona.  It is about 45 miles from Page, AZ and requires about 10 miles of dirt road driving.

We arrived at the Wire Pass Trailhead at 4:00pm.  The hike to the Wave is 2.9 miles and has very little elevation gain.  It’s easy to get lost going there but we had a map, longitude and latitude coordinates and photographs of the terrain.  The hike itself is very scenic.  About a mile into the hike you come to the signin box for the wave hike.  The first part of the hike is on a sandy trail in a green brush field.  There is a ridge that you have to hike over and once over the ridge the scenery dramatically changes to rock formations and rocks everywhere.  It really looks like you’re in another world.

Before the ridge

Once over the ridge

About 1/2 mile from the Wave it started to rain.  I had flashbacks of our mountain biking trips because the rain water was cold.  It wasn’t the warm Phoenix rain we normally get.  Middle of nowhere, rain turning into hail, no warm clothes…  The rain was intermittent and it really changed the landscape colors.

You can see the wave from a few hundred feet away.  That’s when you begin to see it’s features.  It really is beautiful and unbelievable.  The fact that you are the only ones there also is great.  It was totally opposite of Antelope Canyon.  We stayed for about one hour just snapping pictures.  The wave is not very large, but moving a few feet in any direction changes its look.  Even laying down and tilting your head sideways makes it look totally different.  It was like being in a fun house.

Entrance to The Wave

We didn’t get to see the Second Wave.  We were told it was far, but when I got back I did some research only to find that it was 300 yards west.  While we were at the Antelope Canyon tour office they had some photos of waffle shaped rock formations that are supposedly at the Second Wave.  I haven’t been able to find any mention of them online.

We left the wave and hiked it back to the car in an hour.  We arrived at sunset and headed off to Zion National Park.  Yes its still the same day!

Zion National Park

We forgot that going from Arizona to Utah is a timezone change even though we just went straight north.  We lost an hour which sucked because it meant that we would have one less hour of sleep tonight.  The plan was to wake up and hike the Narrows, come back to the room and shower and then checkout and leave.

I didn’t get to sleep until 1:30am because I was busy uploading wave pics to Facebook.  I set my alarm for 6:30am.  Of course, the alarm did not go off.  We all woke up at 7:30am and got breakfast at Zion Lodge.  Since we had a late start, we would have to shorted our Narrows hike time.  We hopped on the shuttle bus and arrive at the Temple of Sinawava at 9:15am.  It was actually a cool morning for August at Zion.  I had a thin fleece jacket on in the morning.  The narrows trail starts as an easy paved trail for about a mile.  It ends at a drop in point where you will get wet if you go any further.

narrows drop in

The water was clear but fairly cold today.  The last time I went to the Narrows, the water was muddy and warm.  This time I brought trekking poles which made hiking in the water much easier.  As we hiked in the water got deeper.  It was much deeper than last time.  Jessica wasn’t too happy about this since I told her that the water would come to her knees.  There was a spot where we watched a 6’2″ guy cross with water to his waist.  I really thought that this was our turn around spot as it would have been 2 vs 2 if put to a vote.  But Chikara wanted to go forward.  So she trudged on holding her camera and shoes up high.

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In our hiking democracy, this made the vote 3 to 1 against Jessica so she begrudgingly hiked into the waist deeper water.  Once past this point, the water was shallow again.  We reached Mystery Falls and snapped some photos and moved on.

Because we got a late start.  We were unable to get very far in the Narrows.  We had to turn around and check out by noon, so at 11am we turned around and headed back.  We got back to our room at noon and changed into dry clothes.  Nobody took showers, so we could have just checked out and hiked the Narrows without time constraints.  Oh well, live and learn.  I still haven’t made it to Orderville Canyon in the Narrows.  The third time’s a charm.

We began our 390 mile journey home.  We stopped in Kanab, UT for some lunch at Grandma Tina’s Cafe.   Someone who will remain nameless ummm let’s say stressed the toilet.  The lunch was “meh” which is being nice.   The rest of our drive was uneventful.  We got home around 7pm on Sunday.  It was a very long 37 hours but well worth it.

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Canyoneering in Arizona

I went on my first Canyoneering trip a few weekends ago. This trip was actually a class offered through Scottsdale Community College. The trip is run by Josh from One Day Adventures.

We left on Saturday morning and drove about 2.5 hours to our first destination and our campsite for the night.  After everyone set up camp and had lunch, we set off into our first canyon.  The toughest part of this trip is the hiking to the canyon.

Canyoneering by default means that you are going into a canyon, which means that you’ll have a steep downhill hike on the way to the canyon and a steep uphill hike on the way back up.  Because it was September and the water was cold, we all had to get full wetsuits.  Hiking with a wetsuit on is not fun and hiking while carrying a wetsuit on your back is only a little bit better.

The first canyon that we were doing was called Bear Canyon. Below is a Google map of it.  I am not 100% certain of the path that we took since I didn’t have my GPS with me.  After a decent hike and a bunch of boulder hopping into canyon, we came to the spot where we finally had to get wet.  We put on our wetsuits and gear and proceeded to lower ourselves into the water.  The first canyon was very green and gray.  It had a mossy feeling to into.  Unfortunately the water was not flowing and had been stagnant causing it to become brown and smelly.  Because my camera was not waterproof, taking pictures was very limiting.

The water was very cold and I was glad I had rented a 7mil wetsuit, even though the dive shop recommended a 3mil one.  The students who had the 3mil wetsuits were cold and shivering.  We had one rappel of about 15 feet, which wasn’t very high at all, but it counted as my first ever rappel.  At another drop we used a ladder to drop directly into a dark deep pool.  From there it was a short swim through the canyon to the end.

We finished the day with a massively steep hike up the canyon.  When I got to my tent I just laid down and immediately fell asleep.

Day two took us to the Salome Jug.  This canyon is very different from the previous day.  One thing to note is that the temperature is now over 90 degrees as compared to the previous day’s 60 degrees.  Now I’m wishing I had a 3 mil wetsuit.

To get to this canyon, we had to do about a 2.5 mile hike to the drop in point.  The water was flowing and it was nice and cool.  The canyon was beautiful on the inside and we spent alot of time floating down it.  There were also many rock waterslides, but we couldn’t do them all due to the water depth at the landing.

To finish off this canyon was a 30ft rappel down a mini-waterfall and then a good swim (float) to the end of the canyon.  Once at the end, we had to do the 2.5 mile uphill hike back to the car.

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Hiking in Sedona – Arches

This was a short day trip that I went on with my friend Audrey who was also my personal trainer. We decided to hit a couple short hikes. The theme of the day seemed to be arches.

Interesting story… While we were buying our day pass at a trailhead parking lot I started talking with this lady from California. I asked her what trail she was doing, she said Fay’s Canyon. Well, that was the same trail that we were doing. She told us that its her favorite trail and that every time she comes for California she hikes it. She’s been there 3-4 times already. She describes this incredible view at the end of the hike.

We part ways and eventually start hiking Fay’s Canyon trail. We don’t see the lady or the car. We hike to the end and we can’t seem to find this “view” that she was talking about. After a looking for ten minutes we decide to give up and head back. On the way back we see the lady walking up the trail. Great, we can ask her how to get to this magnificent view.

We walk up to her and before we can say anything she says, “It this Fay’s Canyon?” LOL

Anyway, we find the arch at Fay’s Canyon and climb to the top of it. Then we head to Devil’s Bridge Arch and climb atop it. The last arch to do was Vultee’s Arch but we never got a chance to do it. Next time…

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Hiking and Camping in Havasupai

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I have always wanted to go see Havasu Falls ever since I saw pictures of it when I first moved to Arizona. Getting to Havasu Falls is not exactly an easy feat. It’s a 5 hour drive from Phoenix just to get to the parking or drop in area. From there its a 10 mile hike down into the canyon to the campground. In addition the permits at the campground are very limited and the campground is frequently booked many many months in advance. So when I saw that Scottsdale Community College had a class trip to Havasu Falls, I immediately signed up.

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April 17th

There were 19 people going on this trip. We had one hour orientation a few weeks prior. Dave, the trip leader told us what to expect and showed us some of the essentials to bring. There was an option of hiring a horse to carry our packs from the parking lot to the campground and back. A few of us took advantage of this. Financially speaking, this class is a bargain. The total cost of the class was $225.00. This included transportation to the trailhead, all permits and park fees, one night at a hotel and more importantly a guide/teacher. There is a campground fee of $17 per night, entrance fee of $35 and an environmental fee of $5. The total cost to stay in Havasu was $83 each. The hotel would have cost around $75. Gas for me to drive the 260 miles twice would be $100. So if I was to make this trip myself, it would have cost me $258!We left on Thursday night in 2 large vans and made the 3 hour drive to Williams, AZ where we stayed overnight at a hotel.

April 18th

The next morning everyone got up early and Geoff realized that he forgot to pack his shoes. We spent some time in Seligman looking for a store that sold shoes. Unfortunately, the only thing he found was some moccassins. Luckily, trip leader Dave brought a pair of gym shoes that fit Geoff. We arrived at the very crowded parking area around 10am. Four of us had hired a horse to carry our bags, I dropped off my duffle amongst the throngs of bags and horses. After taking our class photo we all headed down the trail at our own pace at 10:30am.

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The first part of the hike consisted of a bunch of switchbacks. The trail quickly dropped about 1000 feet in 1.5 miles. The next 6.5 miles was a gradual 500ft descent. We stopped for a quick lunch at the 3.5 miles mark and then headed to Supai, AZ. Supai, AZ is a small town with a population of about 500. It is also the most remote town in the lower 48 states, and the only way to get to it is to hike, ride a mule, or take a helicopter. The hike to Supai was 8 miles. We arrived at Supai around 2:30pm. Because Supai is currently the only town in the United States where mail is still carried out by mules, I wanted to send out a postcard from the town. Suprisingly, it arrive at my home in just 4 days!

Of course, every small town needs a full court basketball court. So by the transitive property, this has to be the most remote full court basketball court in the lower 48 states!  On the right is an actual photo of my bag our horse/mule passed us.

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About 1 mile after hiking through town, you begin to hear the rushing water of the river.  Then you see the river and its unbelievable blue turquoise water. The first glimpse you get of Havasu falls is really breath taking.

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You actually hike over the top of the falls and the down the sides. After staring and snapping a few photos of the falls from all angles. We hiked down to the campground where our horse carried bags were waiting for us at the entrance. The campground was pretty crowded and I have to say that the portable toilets were probably the worse I’ve ever seen. It sucks to be a woman at this campsite. I set up camp, cooked a great Mac & Cheese and SPAM dinner, chatted with everyone for a while and went to sleep.

April 19th

Today we planned to venture to Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls. Mooney Falls is a short 1 mile hike and Beaver Falls another 3 after that. Not much to say about the hike, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. You get to Mooney Falls from the top. Here is your first view of it.

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From there you descend down into a few short caverns and rock faces. There are a few chains and a make shift ladder to help you get down.

The next two photos below were taken by Geoff of Geoff Reed Photography.

mooney falls

mooney falls

 After spending some time at Mooney Falls, we continued to hike towards Beaver Falls. (Photo by Geoff Reed)

Along the way we found a nice rope swing.  I had a great cheering section.

This video is my second attempt as I fell flat on my butt on my first try.

We continued to hike to Beaver Falls but the hike took slightly longer than we thought so we only hiked to the top of if.  After reaching the top we turned around and hiked back to camp.  Later on, I went to the bottom of Havasu Falls to take some pictures.

April 20th

The next morning I woke up around 5:30am, cooked breakfast, packed up camp and left for the trail around 7:30am.  Along the way, we dropped off our bags for the horse to pick up.  Luckily it was a breezy cool day so the hike back up the canyon wasn’t too difficult.

Our two vans left the parking lot around 3:00pm.  After about an hour of driving, our second van was very low on gas.  Since we filled up each van at the same time they should both have had the same amount of gas.  We figured that someone must have siphoned out the gas on the second van.  We had to go into Williams, AZ and buy a gas can to fill up the other van.  After a quick stop at A&W to get some burgers, we headed back to Scottsdale.  It was a great trip.

Here are more photos.  Photos marked (GR) were taken by Geoff.  To see Geoff’s collection of Havasu photos, please visit his website.

Before the descent (GR)
Shower at Mooney Falls
So blue and green in the desert (GR)
Crossing the blue river (GR)
Under the shower fall (GR)
Our colorful group (GR)
On the way to Beaver Falls (GR)
Mooney Falls (GR)
I found my stick! (GR)
Descent to Mooney
Walking into the falls
Mooney from afar
Mooney from the climb
From the 10 mile hike
Havasu falls
Havasu falls

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Biking the Sunrise Trail in Scottsdale, Arizona

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I found some trails about 5 miles from my house.  They have nice elevation changes so they should give me a decent workout.  I haven’t been on the bike since my Park City trip in early August so I need to get back in shape.

I parked at the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead to get to the Sunrise trail from the west.  Here is a link to a map of the trail. I brought my Garmin to map the trail.  I wanted to get to the peak which is a 1,100 foot gain and about 2.5 miles.  As you can see from the Google Earth map I didn’t make it.  The finger points to the peak.

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I was so close, only about 1/2 mile.  But it was 92 degrees outside and I didn’t want to push it.
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This picture below shows the switchbacks leading up to the crest that I stopped at.  It was 1.8 miles from the trailhead to this point.  It took me 47 minutes and many many rests to make it there.
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This picture is looking back down at my turnaround point.  I was ready for a nice long downhill.
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Hiking in the White Tank Mountains

I brought Neo and Maggie on a real long hiking trip in the White Tank Mountains.  The total trail distance was 8.5 miles.  It was sunny and about 70 degrees outside, we got started at 11:30am.  I bought my Camelbak full of water, I think I brought a total of 150 oz. of water, a roast beef sub, and an apple.

The trail is call the Ford Canyon trail and is marked in light blue on the map below.  The hiked began at the PARKING spot for cars and for the first 3 miles it was an easy hike.  Once we reached the Hazardous section it was slow going.  The trail had many difficult climbs that gave the dogs a challenge.

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This is the start of the hazardous section.  You can see that it’s all uphill and very rocky.  At this point Maggie was already tired.  We stopped and had a quick snack.

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The dam consisted of many large rock formations that were over 10 feet high and very steep.  I climbed up the rocks myself and went to put my backpack down.  When I turned around Neo had climbed it himself and Maggie was halfway up.  The picture below is what I say when I turned around.  On the other side of that rock is a 10 foot drop.

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 Here is another wall that Neo climbed.  I had to carry Maggie up most of them.  The next picture is the watering hole.  We met a bunch of campers that were fixing the trails.  Here is Neo relaxing in the watering hole.

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After the tough part, the trail was smooth and easy.  It seemed like a real long way home from the watering hole.  Maggie was walking so slow at this point.  The entire hike took us 6 hours!

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Some videos of the hike.

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Hiking in Sedona 2007

Instead of going to Galena this year everyone decided that it was finally time to visit Arizona. We rented the Scenic Sedona house on redsedona.com.  The house was great, it was large enough to accommodate all of us and the heated pool and spa was perfect for this time of year. It was colder than usual in Sedona for the last week of February so it took a day to get the pool heated to 74 degrees.

On Friday night, everyone arrived at the Phoenix airport. We had a late start because somebody missed their flight and had to take a later one which arrived at 10:45pm. Our little caravan of cars met up at McDonald’s in Anthem.  From there it was a 1.5 hour drive up to Sedona. We arrived at the house around 1am and everyone got settled in for the night.

On Saturday we got to see just how incredible the view from our house was. It was located on Airport Hill and overlooked the town of Sedona. We had breakfast at the restaurant at the airport.

The best part was that we were able to hike the Airport Loop trail directly from the house.

We hiked the Cathedral Rock trail which was a great challenging trail. It has some nice climbs and decent exposures. The picture on the left shows the “very steep slickrock” portion of the trail.

For dinner we went into town and found a Mexican restaurant that could seat a party of 20! I can’t remember the name of this place. It was in the touristy part of town close by the Harley Davidson store.

On Sunday, most of the girls went to Sedona Rouge Spa. The rest of us ate lunch at the Heartline Cafe and hung out around the house. A bunch of us hiked the Broken Arrow trail in the late afternoon. Dinner was pizza from Pizza Picazzo. It must be good if a bunch of people from Chicago loved it!  On Monday we made the drive back to Phoenix. Had a huge lunch at Ono Hawaiian BBQ (that shit is good!) and hung out at my house until it was time to go to the airport.

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