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My little brother is stationed in Phoenix and I live in Las Vegas. Every year we meet up at Hilltop, AZ and backpack into Havasupai Falls for 3 or 4 nights. This year was really special because my 11-yr old son came with me for the first time. It was his first trip into the Grand Canyon.
Primary Gear used:
pack: Mountain Hardwear Maestro (5 lb 12 oz)
tent: Easton Mountain Kilo 2 (2 lb 13 oz)
bag: Sierra Designs Zissou 12 (2 lb 10 oz)
sleeping pad: Klymit V (new) (1 lb 2 oz)
cook kit: Soto Micro Regulator (new) and Snow Peak Mug (5.4 oz)
Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance FL Z poles. (15.5 oz)
Boots: Asolo TPS 535
Camera: Nikon D5100 w/Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6
My Son's Gear:
pack: Osprey jib 35 youth
bag: Eureka grasshopper
sleeping pad: Thermarest
Trekking Poles: Komperdell kids (he only uses 1)
Camera: Nikon 1 J3
Before we started our trip I was at the trailhead tightening all the straps on my pack when I pulled one of the strap grommets right out of the pack. This was a brief panic but I did a quick repair and we were on our way. We started out at Hilltop and hiked 8 miles to the village of Supai. We checked in there, paid our fees and proceeded 2 miles to camp. My son did awesome. At about the 7 mile mark his backpack started irritating him a bit so I carried his pack for him for a couple miles to give him a break. He recovered and made it into camp a bit sore and tired. Every night we were in camp we were lucky to have a huge, brilliant full moon. It was a real treat. We ended up staying 3 nights and hiked to the falls to take pics and swim in the pools during the day.
It was busy in camp but we found a sweet camp spot. It was fairly quiet in the evening. Nobody was too loud or unruly. No campfires that I noticed so everyone was respecting the rules. I did notice there is a lot more guide activity over previous years. Backpackers into Havasupai are officially the minority these days. Most people pay to ride mules or ride a helicopter in. Kind of sad but what are you going to do. I am going to write a letter to the tribe suggesting they designate some of the better small camp spots for just backpackers. I also notice people had their dogs there. I thought dogs were banned but I guess if you can get them on a helicopter and you pay then all good.
It took us about 5 hours to hike the 11 miles into camp and about 7 hours to hike the 11 miles back to hilltop. It isn't a terribly hard hike, just long and when you reach the switchbacks at the rim it is a good test for any backpacker. Overall I would estimate we hiked around 30 miles in 4 days.
We had an absolute blast and I couldn't be more proud of my son. He proved that he is quite the little trekker and I can't wait to experience many more places with him in the future. He also got to learn the fine art of playing poker during our evenings of hanging out at camp. His uncle got him hooked on poker. lol. Always a fun camp pastime.
Looking forward to the next adventure!!