Thursday, October 31, 2013





  What is a Havasupai adventure?  Well read on and I, MELVIN ZWICK, will tell you.

   A Havasu Adventure is a heart throbbing walk through a South America.

Jungle where there are ants as big as cats, 


Giant blood sucking bats  

and native Indian that have poison darts they shoot through the likes of Kyle’s baseball mortar. 
   Moreover, why would anyone want to go on a Havasupai Adventure?  Because at the end there is a party hosted by Miss McKenna and Miss Cassidy serving Bowes kiddos cookies.  There are thousands of books for the Bowes kids to read, the fastest sneakers for Miss McKenna, thousands of earrings for Miss Cassidy, all the chocolate one could want for Chocolate loving momma, a web master to teach the computer lady all she ever wanted to know about web design and the most advanced satellite connection and computer for Ted and Chuck.

Attending the party is well worth the dangers in getting there.

   There you go again Melvin Zwick, telling another tall tale.  A Havasu Adventure is not in the South American Jungle.  It is an adventure in Arizona.  There is one thing true about your description though.  It would be worth any trip to attend a party hosted by Miss McKenna and Miss Cassidy serving Bowes kiddos cookies. 

   So get on with telling the real story of a Havasu Adventure.

  Grandpa you are always interrupting my exciting stories.

  OK.  OK.  Here goes.  A Havasupai Adventure is an extreme hiking adventure.  It is an eleven mile hike down 3500 foot hill to a place called Mooney Falls.  It is an overnight camping stay at the falls.  Then it is an 11-mile hike up to the trailhead roughly 3500 feet above Mooney Falls.  It is another 2 miles to Beaver Falls is one wants to go there.

   Why would anyone want to put themselves through such stress?  Because it is a beautiful hike.  The falls and pools are like nothing you will ever see anywhere else.

   It is the Havasu village where the Havasupai Indian tribe lives. 

   It is three waterfalls each one prettier than the last.  It is a fourth water fall that is much harder to get to and not quite as beautiful as the other three.

   That gives us a brief description of the Adventure.  Now to get into the specifics.

   Why would the great MELVIN ZWICK want to write about a Havasupai?

Adventure?  Why you ask?  Because your adventurous Grandpa hiked the trail three times.  The last hike was a little different from the first two.  The description of the third hike will surprise all of Grandpa’s family.  The story of that hike will be told at the end of the story.  No Kiddos do not jump to the end.  You must read the entire story first.

   On to the description of Grandpa’s adventure.  The head of the trail of the Havasupai Adventure starts at a point about 75 miles north of Peach Springs, Arizona.  There is a dirt road from Peach Springs to the trailhead at Hualapai hilltop.  Where is Peach Springs you ask?  I, MELVIN ZWICK could send all of you on a map adventure to find where Peach Springs is but I won’t.  Peach Springs is about 30 miles North West of Seligman, Arizona.  Where is Seligman you ask?  Well if you keep asking where things are I, MELVIN ZWICK, will not be able to tell you about the Havasupai Adventure.  OK. All right.  Seligman is ninety miles west of Flagstaff, Arizona.  Flagstaff is where the Bowes family lives for a while and Aunt Kelley went to college in Flagstaff. 

   Where are we now?  Oh Yeah.  At the trail head of the Havasupai Adventure. 

Grandpa’s car was parked at the trailhead.   

    When Grandpa did his hikes, there was nothing but a dirt parking lot at the hilltop.  I, MELVIN ZWICK, have been told that the Havasu Indians have built a store next to the parking lot.

  There are no photographs of Grandpa’s hike because I, MELVIN ZWICK, and the great photographers Cassidy and Lydia were not along with him.  I, MELVIN ZWICK, know better than to walk 11 miles down hill and 11 miles up hill and Cassidy and Lydia were not born when Grandpa hiked the trail. Therefore, I, MELVIN ZWICK, will describe the hike in general as told to me by Grandpa the Adventurer.

    This is what the start of the trail looks like.  I, MELVIN ZWICK, think it is not a very uninteresting area.   It looks very dull without any plants or color.

   The trail drops about 2000 feet in the first mile from the trailhead. 

   A problem for all you Kiddos.  Grandpa covers about five feet with every full step.  That’s from left foot to left foot.  A mile is 5280 feet long.  How many steps does Grandpa have to take to cover the first mile? 

   Grandpa and his best buddy Lee Kelley hiked the Havasu trail two times and Grandpa hiked it a third time with a surprise guest, which will be revealed at the end of the story.  Grandpa camped out at Mooney falls for three days the second time he hiked the trail.

   Who in their right mind would want to hike here?  But wait. Its gets better.
   The trail can be seen on the left center of the photo.  You can see that the first part of the hike is not very interesting.  It is nothing but gray sandstone.  Grandpa told me MELVIN ZWICK, there is no water on the trail.  The hike can be very warm in the summer time so one has to carry lots of water.  Grandpa says that people can go a long time without food but it takes a lot of water a day to hike in the heat.
    The mules on the trail have the right of way.  Hikers are expected to stand on the edge of the trail nearest the drop off.  A hiker quickly learns to plan ahead when mules are near.  It is best to find a wide spot in the trail and stand there until the mules pass.

   Wait a minute.  I, MELVIN ZWICK, thought that I did not have a picture of Grandpa and me, MELVIN ZWICK, on the trail.  So what are Grandpa and me doing in this photo?  Note that Grandpa is doing the right thing and standing on the downhill side of the trail.  I, MELVIN ZWICK, on the other hand am doing the wrong thing sitting on the up hillside of the trail.

   The Indians insist that their mules are more valuable than the hikers are.  That is why they want the hikers to stand on the downhill side of the trail as the mules pass by.  They would rather have a hiker fall off the trail than one of their mules.  Do not forget, the Havasu Indians own the canyon, the land above the canyon and the trail.

    Here the scenery starts to look a little more colorful.  Boy, just look at that long trail.  Grandpa was in very good shape during the times he hiked the trail.

   Grandpa walked this trail after he climbed down the first mile.  This part of the trail is about 2 miles long.
    This is a photograph of the canyon taken from a helicopter.  The trail can be seen at the bottom of the canyon.

    Grandpa entered a dry creek bed within a ravine after he left the trail shown above.  The trail is soft sand and loose gravel and is surrounded by towering walls of pink and red sandstone.  It is beautiful and impressive.  The towering cliffs makes a person feel very insignificant. 

   Grandpa had to be very alert as he walked this trail.  Monster snakes live in the cracks of the sandstone cliffs.  They are known to attack hikers that are not on the lookout for them.


   Oh boy Melvin Zwick what a phony storyteller you are.  There are no monster snakes in the cracks of the cliffs.  The only critters in the cliffs are ones the Bowes Critter Getters could handle.


   Eventually the trail reaches the crystal clear water of the Supai River.  I, MELVIN ZWICK, know what a river is and this is no river.  It’s called a river but it is nothing more than a stream.  Grandpa walked over a wooden footbridge to cross the cool stream.

   Just a thought from the great MELVIN ZWICK.  If Grandpa cooled his feet in the stream what affect might that have on people who are drinking the water downstream from Grandpa.  One has to ask them self if they would want to drink water Grandpa washed his feet in especially after he hiked down the trail.

   This is the village of Supai where about 400 Havasupai Indians live.  The Havasupai Indians have lived in this area for centuries.  It is a very pretty and peaceful place to live.  The Indians grow their own crops and raise sheep and a few cows.  They all have horses as that is the only means of travel.  Some Indians are concerned about the hikers so they leave couches in front of their homes for them to sit
Melvin Zwick I sure do not know where you get all these crazy ideas.  The Indians do not leave couches in front of their homes. 

   Well if they don’t how did I, MELVIN ZWICK, get the above picture?  How did I get it?  Just tell me that Grandpa.  How did I, MELVIN ZWICK, get it?

   You got into Grandpa’s Photo Shop again.  A little cut and paste and Grandpa is sitting on a couch in front of an Indian’s house.

    You modified the photo just like I, Grandpa, modified this photograph of Lydia and McKenna.

  Grandpa you caught me again.  I guess I will just have to continue the story.

   The Indians all have a horse as that is the only means of travel. It is common to see horse tied in front of the houses.  There are no cars, motorcycles or bicycles in the canyon.  Any items the Indians need from the outside world have to be delivered by mule down the trail or helicopter.  There are no Wal-Marts nearby.  The village does have a country story where hikers can buy things, that is, if they have lots of money. 

   I, MELVIN ZWICK, have been told that there is now a restaurant and hotel in the village.

   The two tall slender delicately balanced sandstone pillars standing guard over the village of Supai are called the "twin sisters.”

   The Indians grow fields of glisten corn and fruit around the village of Supai.   

   Every now and then, an Indian on a horse passed Grandpa on the trail as he walked through the village.  Grandpa had to watch his step to insure he did not step into some used hay left by the horses.

  The trail wonders past a few houses here and there. 

   Navajo falls, the first falls after the village, comes into view after about a half-mile trek from the village. The falls tumbles about 75 feet in a wide stream of clear Havasu water.  The water has picked up copper salt and has taken on a powder blue color.  The color of the water is so thick you cannot see your hand placed 6 inches below the surface.  The stream is like nothing else you have ever seen.
    Grandpa hikes another half mile and the beautiful Havasu falls comes into view.  The Havasu stream falls about 100 feet in a spray of mist into an aquamarine pool.

    The limestone and miscellaneous chemical salts in the water creates dams forming many shallow pools.  Just the place to rest a weary hiking body.  Look at the color of the water.  It is unbelievable.

   By the way.  How does the Supai word Havasupai translate?  Havasu translates to blue water and Pai translates to people.  Havasupai translates to blue water people.  Now you all can speak some Havasupai language. 

   Hey kiddos how do you pronounce Havasupai.  It is pronounces just like it looks.  Have a soup and a piece of Valerie’s pie. 


   Come on MELVIN ZWICK, so far you have been accurate.  However, have a soup and a piece of Valerie’s pie is a little weird.  I know that Valerie’s pie is on our minds but the word is pronounced, “Have a soup pie.”
    Well I, MELVIN ZWICK, cannot help but think about Valerie’s pie and all the cookies the Bowes kiddos made.  And who ever heard of a soup pie?

   Grandpa camped out at Havasu falls after about a seven mile hike and swam in the cool pools of the stream.

   And here we temporally leave Grandpa with not a care in the world sleeping soundly in his sleeping bag.

   The rest of the story will be told in part II of this story. 

   Oh by the way Grandpa took about 1056 steps in the first mile of the hike.  That is, a mile is 5280 feet divided by a 5 foot step equals 1056 steps.

   When we left Grandpa he was sound asleep in his sleeping bag at Havasu Falls campground.

   Grandpa and his buddy Lee Kelley awoke early and fixed themselves breakfast.  There is nothing like steak and eggs with biscuits first thing in the morning.  Coffee brewing in the pot over a campfire sends of an aroma that pleases a person’s sense of smell.  What a way to wake up. 

   Melvin Zwick you have apparently not been on many backpack camping trips.  Let’s see where you went wrong. 

   Number one there is no wood at the campground so there would be no campfire.  Especially in a confined area like the Havasu campground which is surrounded by sheer cliffs.  One would have to carry wood in their backpack if they plan on building a campfire.  Wood would add a lot of weight to a person’s backpack.

   Number two a hiker does not carry eggs and steak when he is backpacking. That would require ice to keep the steak and eggs from spoiling.  That would add extra weight to the backpack.

   Number three there is no way to bake biscuits.  Even the Bowes bakers could not bake any of their cookies on the trail.  The most fire one might have is in a can of Sterno.  You know the little cans of fire they use under food trays at weddings to keep food warm. There would not be enough heat to bake biscuits and any utensils needed to bake hem would add weight to the backpack.

   The one thing you do not want to have is a heavy backpack when going on a long hike.

   The best thing for breakfast is Granola bars or a handful of trail mix.  Lee Kelley and I used to enjoy Constant comet tea.  The kind of tea that was not in tea bags.  The tea would be thrown into water in an aluminum cup which was part of the Military style water canteen.  Place the cup on a can of sterno and let the water boil.  When the tea leaves dropped to the bottom of the water the tea was ready to drink. 

   So much for your lack of knowledge Melvin Zwick.  Get on with the story.

  OK Grandpa.  You caught me again.

  When the boys woke up they ate their Granola bars and drank their Constant Comet tea.  Then it was back on the trail.  After walking about two miles the sound of Mooney Falls could be heard.  The trail comes out at the top of Monney Falls.  The hike to the base of Mooney Falls is an adventure people faint of heart should not try.

  From the top of the falls the trail drops very steeply for about 200 feet.  Grandpa had to pass through two tunnels in the rock and descend on footholds in the cliff face while clutching slippery wet chain.

  The trail at this point will even cause some concern to an experienced hiker.  If you fall and break something you will be in a world of hurt for a long time until a rescue team can get you out. 

This is the entrance to the tunnels that take you to the bottom of the falls. 

  The surrounding cliffs are molded into strangely shaped limestone sculptures and festooned with bright green mosses and ferns. You can see Mooney falls off and on as you follow the trail.

  Getting down this part of the trail takes a little butt sliding.

    There are many formations formed by the chemical in the water as shown on the left.  That same chemical forms the dams that form the shallow pools under the falls.

   The Havasupai named this most sacred of waterfalls Mother of the Waters. The present name is that of a prospector who died here in 1880. When assistants lowered Daniel Mooney down the cliffs next to the falls, the rope jammed and Mooney hung helpless as the rope frayed and broke. He fell to his death on the rocks below, but 10 months passed before his companions could make their way down to reach and bury the travertine-encrusted body. A rough trail descends beside the falls along the same route hacked through the travertine by miners in those months after Mooney's death. Grandpa passes through two tunnels and then eases down with the aid of chains and iron stakes. At the bottom when Grandpa‘s knees stop shaking he a swim in the large pool. Miners extracting silver, lead, zinc, and vanadium from the drilled holes you see high on the canyon walls.

    If you look up at the vertical wall you will see a vertical steel ladder that was installed by the miners.  The top of the ladder is probably 200 feet above the stream.  There is a ledge cut horizontally in the cliff face that leads from the top of the ladder to the mining tunnel.

   On Grandpa’s second trip he continued on the trail for about two miles to Beaver Falls.

   The trail to beaver falls is not as defined as the previous trail.  The stream has to be crossed several times.  Beaver Falls is not as tall as the other falls but the area is just as beautiful.  Grandpa spent a short time here than started the hike back to the Hualapai hill top.

   The twelve mile hike out of the canyon from Beaver Falls is tiring and not as thrilling as the hike down the trail.  The walk seems to take forever.

    This is what Grandpa saw as he started up the last mile of the trail to the hilltop.  This part of the hike is definitely not much fun.

   Grandpa finally reached the hilltop and the car.  A short rest than the drive back to Phoenix.  This day was very long and tiring.

  And now on to the special trip Grandpa made down the Havasupai trail.

  Charlie Ester, one of Grandpa’s friends wanted to go on an interesting hike.  Grandpa suggested a hike down to Havasu Falls with a night stay at the campground then back home.  Charlie had a friend, Stan, who wanted to go on the hike.  All agreed that once at Havasu Falls they would decide if a hike to Mooney Falls would be in order.  Each of the friends wanted to take along a friend so Grandpa took along a friend.  All members agreed that they would all stay together.  No one would break from the pack.

  So it was off to Havasu falls on a nice warm summer day.  Everyone was fascinated by the beautiful scenery as they started their walk through the canyon. All the party reached Havasu Falls in pretty good shape.  At least that is what Grandpa thought.

  I guess it is time for me, MELVIN ZWICK, to tell you who Grandpa’s friend was. 

You won’t believe it.  Grandpa and his two buddies each took their wives on the hike.  Meemom went on the hike with Grandpa.  That’s right.  Meemom your Grandma hiked the Havasupai trail.  At the time of the hike Meemom was studying karate and was in very good shape.  Unfortunately Stan and the other two wives were in not such good shape.  Stan started to complain about a back ache.  Stan’s wife’s knees were giving out.  Charlie’s wife wore a tank top and was suffering from severe sunburn.

  During dinner Charlie decided that he and his wife must hike out after dinner so his wife would not have to walk out in the sun.  He and his wife would start the hike out immediately.  Charlie and his wife were about to leave us.  Stan and Grandpa could stay or walk out with Charlie.  It was decided that all would walk out after dinner.  So much for the promise of staying together.  

   Charlie had to carry his wife’s back pack because her sunburn would not allow her to carry It.  Stan’s wife’s knees made it difficult to walk so Meemom carried her backpack.  Stan‘s back was hurting so bad that he could not carry his backpack so grandpa took it on. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of Of all the six hikers in the group Meemom and Grandpa were the only ones who made it to the top in good order.  Charlie and the rest of the group were really suffering.  Meemom did exceptionally well.  She was a great hiker.

   Sometime later she and Robyn hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim.  On that trip she and Robyn walked out at night because they were not carrying enough water.  They made a good decision. Walking during the day requires lots of water.

   And there you have it.  The Havasupai adventure.