Grand Canyon – Havasu Falls – Part 2

We set out for this 3 day Grand Canyon adventure knowing the weather conditions were going to be cold and wet.  I had a couple new items of my gear for the Appalachian Trail that I was eager to test out (Ill get to that later).  It was forecasted for 48 degree high and 28 degree low with rain.  The drive is about 5 hours so we usually stay in a motel about an hour or 2 from the trail head.  We departed at 7:30 am after breakfast and it started raining/snowing on the drive there.

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The parking lot and down was a little better.  It was 34 degrees, so no snow, but it was lightly raining.  We descended the 10 miles to our campground

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We arrived around 4pm, the sun was already behind the cliffs, and it was cold.  We wandered down to mooney falls to see if the camping spot I have had my eyes on was open, and there it was!  Open.

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It’s located just to the right of the falls, if you are looking at the falls.  We set up camp, ate, and went to bed because it was cold!

We slept in, til about 8:30 today. My hat was over my eyes so I had no idea it was morning. I actually thought I turned on my headlamp and tried turning it off, only to find it was daylight. I opened my tent, remembering that I was on the top of the waterfall and lay there for a while looking out. And there was a rainbow. Seriously?

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It was very relaxing, we had the entire campgrounds to ourselves. I got out of my tent to a temp in the 30s, made my way to the bathroom, and got us all water. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the top of mooney falls where we camped to the water station, and it was nice to not see anyone . Strange, but nice. Some couple coffees and oatmeals later, we had lounged for about 3 hours. It was warmed up to the high 40s, 48 had been the forecast.

IMG_1410  I tried out my iPhone 5s video slow mo here – pretty cool.  https://vimeo.com/80515139

We departed for the bottom of mooney falls around noon. It was a cliffhanger, literally. They put ladders and chains down but the mist from the waterfall made it treacherous. It was thrilling, wet and cold. My gloves were soaked from the climb down. We stayed about 30 minutes at the bottom and hiked up to havasu falls. A group of Asians were there just absolutely murdering that waterfall with photography. I stripped down to my shorts and suddenly all lenses were pointed at me. Waded out and jumped in, invigorating! It was probably 45-50 degrees out so it took awhile to warm up.

IMG_1461    IMG_1484 (Don’t be fooled, it’s in the 40’s, the water is always 67 degrees-ish though!)

When we were all dry we headed to the top of the falls to see if we could steal some sunlight, but it was already behind the canyon.. I headed back to campsite, threw on some sweats, ate dinner and the we drank some jack and played cards. Goodnight!

Waking up Monday was surreal, the sun was shining, it became 50 degrees and we set for the top of the cliff.  Made it up after about 5.5 hours.

The gear I had recently purchased and got to use –

MSR Hubba 1p tent – rainfly worked perfectly did not get wet

Thermolite reactor 20 degree synthetic bag liner – I had a 40 degree sleeping bag, and was able to keep warm during the cold nights, great purchase.

Thermarest Neoair Xlite regular (12 0z) Sleeping pad – Seriously light and small, I have heard complaints about it being noisy, but we were camped next to a waterfall, couldn’t hear anything.  Did well in the cold, comfy!

Rain jacket – Patagonia Torrentshell – No complaints, was able to keep baselayers of smart wool and just this jacket to keep warm.  Kept dry til I went swimming!

Still have a lot of work to do/gear to get before hitting the trail in March, but this was a nice exercise in the cold!

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