My husband and I have been together thirteen years (yikes!) and married for seven. We've only had one real vacation together in all those years where it was just the two of us. All the other vacations we've taken have been separate of each other or together with friends. Until recently, our work schedules just never meshed well. When I had vacation time from teaching, my husband was in the throes of the peak greenhouse season. When he had downtime in the winter, I was in the midst of teaching biology to a bunch of pubescent teenagers. Once I left my teaching career to assist him with our small business fulltime, we finally were able to schedule in a real vacation....just the two of us.
I must admit I was a little nervous. We spend a lot of time together at work and at home, but we'd always had buffers when it came to extended trips together. What if we got bored with each other's company? It wasn't a serious concern, but it was something to ponder during lulls in conversation. How would we get along together for a week without any traveling buffers around?
When it came to deciding where to go, I really wanted to take my husband to
We arrived in Vegas and spent the first several nights absorbing the overt stimuli of the Strip. I much prefer nature to nightlife, so it wasn't the best part of the trip for me, but the hubby got to gorge himself at a couple major buffets and check out a couple shows, and our visit to Hoover Dam was impressive. We left for the South Rim of the
After staying a night in Tusayan, we loaded up our gear and set out for the
These waterfalls aren't nearly the biggest in the world nor the most beautiful, but there's something about the color of the water against the surrounding landscape, as well as their unique setting, that makes them so brilliant. Some experiences can lose their luster when repeated; the novelty wares off. I was really hoping my return trip to the waterfalls of Supai would be equally as gratifying as my initial visit.
We set off from the trailhead around lunchtime and completed the eight mile hike down to Supai in three hours. The weather was perfect and the scenery was expansive. Once we arrived in Supai, we checked into the lodge and relaxed a bit in our spartan room before heading to the cafe for a filling dinner of burritos.
The next morning we loaded up water, lunches, and cameras for our six mile roundtrip hike to three different sets of waterfalls. We came into view of
We continued our hike and made it to
a mile downstream. These falls had also changed since my last visit. The
rerouted water upstream has resulted in water flowing over just a third of the rock face
it had covered before the flooding events. Even though Havasu Falls in now much narrower, it is
still a beautiful waterfall with inviting side channels and pools. Havasu Falls
After a lunch break and some gin rummy at the base of
we hiked one more mile to reach Havasu Falls . These are the tallest of the
falls we visited, and it was a precarious climb to reach them--one that
required crawling through tunnels chiseled through the rock face
and climbing down steps etched into the sheer cliff. Mooney
Later that night after hiking back to Supai, we fell asleep to the muffled sounds of three dozing yet alert village dogs lying outside our lodge door. (Impressively, these same dogs were dozing in the shade at the top of the trailhead the next morning.)
We began the eight mile hike back to Hualapai Hilltop early the next day. We fell into a good pace and were at the 6.5 mile marker before we knew it. The last 1.5 miles were the most daunting since they’re composed almost entirely of steep switch backs cut into the canyon wall. We took it step-by-step, rested when we needed to and reached the top without too much trouble. Surprisingly, we made the eight mile hike out of the canyon in the same amount of time it took us to go down. Our speedy exit was likely a result of my competitive nature coming out. When I have a destination to reach, whether it's by walking, hiking, biking, or skiing, I fall into a racing mentality. I end up in either an imaginary race with myself, or if there are people in front of me, in a race to beat them. Regardless of the pace I set, my husband was right on my heels the entire way and took the lead for the last, most difficult mile.
|The final ascent to Hualapai Hilltop. Notice the mule train, which provides a good scale for the size of the climb.|
All in all, it was a great trip. My husband and I spend a lot of time together at work and at home, but it was nice to spend time together outside of our daily grind. It was nice to be on a solo adventure-- just the two of us--and my halfhearted fear of having no buffers along was totally unwarranted. Even after being together for thirteen years, I think our little vacation actually made our relationship stronger. We're sometimes a bit too competitive with one another; we frequently argue over which of us has worked harder on a given day even though we both regularly put in over seventy hours of work each week. During this vacation, however, I felt like we were a well-oiled team, especially while heading in and out of Supai. We accomplished the adventure together, and I think we both needed to temporarily escape from our day-to-day lives to gain an improved perspective on things.
I'm very glad I made it back to Supai. Not many people can say they've been there, let alone been there twice in their lives. In a way, I can't help thinking that it was a last hurrah for my husband and me. We've come to the consensus that we'd like children in our near future, so this might have been the last chance for the two of us to take a trip like this as a couple--at least for the next decade or two. I realize that having children means postponing some adventures, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m okay with that. I may never get back to Supai again, but I'm glad my husband and I made it there together.