Our first major hike was to the Native American village of Supai which is at the bottom of a canyon in the Western Grand Canyon. It is an 8 mile hike descending 2,004 feet, with 1 1/2 miles of very steep switchbacks at the beginning. I'm just being very honest when I tell you that from the minute Little Helen told us about this hike, I obsessed about it and worried, worried, worried. I just figured no matter what we did to try and prepare, it would be hard. Additionally I was very worried about holding Mr. Helen and Little Helen up. Remember, my foot was still a bit wonky and I was carrying that extra weight I'd gained - not to mention that we would be hiking with packs that had to hold everything we needed for 2 overnights and the 2 hikes: about 20-25 pounds. Worried was my middle name.
The road to Hualapai Hilltop, where the trail to Supai begins, is right around the corner from the lodge where we stayed in Peach Springs. It is a paved road that literally only goes to the Hilltop and is 65 miles long. The Hilltop has a helicopter pad as all supplies into and out of Supai arrive via helicopter or mule train; mules for rent to carry tents and supplies for those who might be camping or for anyone who might not want to hike their items down; and a few horses should one desire to go to Supai via horseback. Once at the Hilltop, you find a place to park, secure your belongings and go. Literally cars are just parked everywhere and it feels sort of odd leaving your vehicle behind knowing you won't see it for days - but it's safe.
It was overcast, cool and windy on the hilltop so we all put long sleeved shirts or jackets over our short sleeved shirts. Little did we know how grateful we would be for those overcast skies.
Just as you start on the path, there is a big sign with the rules which basically are people going down yield to people coming up and everyone yields to the mule trains. Which we did, almost immediately upon stepping foot on the trail.
These mule trains would pass us by for the first 4 miles or so of our hike as lots of people were coming out just as we were going in. I couldn't believe how much they packed on these animals.
After we got past the first couple of switchbacks, the view opened up a bit and suddenly we could see a good deal of the trail that was to come.
We familiarized ourselves with the small village - found the post office (to mail post cards from as they get a special mule train stamp), grocery store (for jugs of water) and restaurant. When we saw that the restaurant closed at 6 p.m. we decided to get an early bite to eat since all we'd had all day hiking was Cliff Bars, trail mix, and water. The tribe's restaurant has very basic food - and a lot of it fried. Stuff like french fries, hamburgers, fried chicken, etc. When I saw they had a green salad on the menu I ordered it as I was definitely craving vegetables and that was literally the only vegetable option. Thankfully I ordered a hamburger as well because the salad, which Mr. Helen and I had intended to share (we were basing that on the price of it: $6) was about a cup of iceberg lettuce with a couple pieces of cucumber and tomato. It tasted fine but just wasn't very much, or very nutritious. Right then we all decided that we had an idea why there is such an obesity issue within Native American tribes. Especially sad in this village as there are NO vehicles and the natives and tourists alike walk everywhere. Well, I take that back,we saw one "police" golf cart which I thought I'd taken a photo of but missed somehow.
Anyway, we enjoyed looking around at what would be our home for the next two days.
Our next adventure: hiking to Supai's famous falls.