Category Archives: Weekend Getaways

In Search of: Turquoise Falls in the Midst of the Grand Canyon

I visited a place on my bucket list a couple weeks ago — Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon.  I’d seen pictures online several times and was a bit awe-struck by the turquoise waters.  Granted, I also thought said photos had been Photoshopped.  Nonetheless, I had to see for myself to judge.

Last February I shopped the idea around to friends.  Turned out, I had a friend that wanted to check it out too.  So I called the lodge at Supai Village.  Reservations start each year at the beginning of February.  I called at the end of February.  We’re booked all summer, I was told.  After a little maneuvering with my schedule, I made a reservation for September and waited impatiently for several months.  (The lesson here?  If you want a coveted spot at the falls during the busy summer months — call February 1, on the dot!)

During my impatient waiting, I tried to find as much information as possible about Supai Village and the lodge.  I didn’t find much.  What I did find did not paint a pretty picture.  Reviews online made it sound like I would be vacationing in South Central.  I was fully prepared to spend two nights among rude people in a garbage infested village overridden with crime.  I opted not to bring the fancy camera and prepared myself for the worst.  (I wouldn’t let anything stop me from visiting what had been lauded one of the most beautiful natural phenomenons on Earth.)

You will be happy to know (as I was) what I found was nothing like the battle weary town I expected.  The first local I encountered was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and although some locals were on the quiet side, I never felt unwelcome or concerned about my welfare.  The village was not overridden with garbage.  Yes, there was the occasional piece of trash on the ground, but it was obvious the locals tried very hard to keep the village clean.  They take the trash out of the canyon by mule, and there’s bound to be a stray fallen piece here and there.  The lodge itself was exceptionally clean.  The room was basic, but I already knew to expect that (the Havasupai website noted this).  Below are some pictures of the hike into the canyon, the lodge and Supai Village (please excuse my ridiculously dirty lens when looking at the pictures of my room at the lodge — I wanted to include the pictures anyway to give you a good idea of what a room looks like).

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After being pleasantly surprised with the village, we spent the second day of our trip at the falls.  From the village, the easiest to reach falls (Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls) are approximately a 2-3 mile hike.  Because we had the entire day to visit each of these falls, we were able to relax and enjoy the waters.  The weather was warm and absolutely beautiful, and the falls were beyond stunning.  I can tell you right now, those photos you see online when you do a search for Havasu Falls are real.  The water really is that blue — the turquoise color really is that bright.  It’s stunning.  Really, really stunning.  Here’s a bit of a warning for you though: if you’re afraid of heights (or falling, as I like to call it!) Mooney Falls is a bit sketchy to reach.  As you begin to descend the cliff, a sign states descend at own risk.  And boy does it mean it!  We had no idea what we were in for, and it’s a good thing no one was behind us.  There is a rather exposed section after you get through the tunnels, and I have to admit, there were a few points were I froze.  I had to take a few breaths to convince myself to move forward (and figure out where to put my feet next).  In the end, I’m glad we went ahead and descended.  Mooney Falls is beautiful, and how many time in my life will I have the opportunity to play in such amazing waterfalls in the Grand Canyon?  After returning home, I heard there were grape vines growing down past Mooney Falls.  I wish I would have realized this, as I wouldn’t have stopped my hike there.  Perhaps next time!  As for swimming, I think Havasu Falls takes the cake.  There are several areas perfect for swimming and lots of shaded picnic tables.  Navajo Falls surprised me most of all.  I could have spent the entire day at Navajo without feeling like I missed out on anything.  Ah, so many inspiring vistas!  How does one choose a favorite?  Here’s what I suggest:  make a reservation and choose for yourself!

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The Power of Perspective

What do you do when you’re floating in a state of indecision? Take a road trip to a middle of nowhere desert, almost run out of gas, find the only station within a hundred mile radius, meet a cashier named Carol that moved to that almost-town for love and then drive home with a new appreciation for things like paved roads.

Never underestimate the power of perspective.

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A Boulder Pit Stop

When people ask where I’m from, I generally tell them I’m from Vegas.  Which is sort of true.  I lived in Las Vegas for several years before I left Nevada.  On the other hand, I didn’t actually grow up in Las Vegas.  I grew up in a small suburb just outside of Vegas called Boulder City.

It’s this little town where everyone knows everyone, and your parents let you run around outside on your own at a pretty young age.  I didn’t realize it at the time (as my whole purpose in life from about the age of 10 was to leave), but I was pretty lucky to have grown up there.  The same things that I hated about it were the same things that were great about it.

Like the part where everyone knows everyone.  I hated that.  Everyone knew me.  Everyone knew my brother.  Everyone knew my parents.  And there was a good chance everyone knew our business, too.  I longed to reinvent myself as anything other than ‘Trevor’s little sister’ or ‘the smart, shy girl’. But that’s how it was.  They knew all about you, and that was that.  What I didn’t realize was that because everyone knew me, everyone pretty much watched out for me, too.  I had a lot of freedom to run around that little town without my parents worrying too much about where I was at or who I was with.  I lived my life without much fear of the dreaded ‘stranger danger’.  I walked everywhere.  I rode my bike everywhere.  I lived on the same street for the first 18 years of my life, and literally knew everyone there.

After I graduated high school, I moved to Vegas and pretty much left Boulder City behind.  At first, I would go back to visit my parents.  But once they moved, I stopped going altogether.  So, last week, when I was in Vegas visiting family, I made a point to go back.  I met up with Carrie, one of my best friends from high school, and we drove to Boulder City to check out the sites.

Of course, it took us all of 15 minutes to see the sites.  The city hasn’t much changed.  It’s still tiny.  The biggest difference?  It would seem the library moved locations, and the old library building is now the senior center.  (I know.  Pretty Earth-shattering, isn’t it?) We drove down my old street and stopped to check out the tiny house I grew up in.  The new owner’s haven’t changed much.  Same yellow siding with white trim.  And then we stopped for dinner at the Pit Stop.  We reminisced over our favorite burgers and fry sauce.

Yep.  It was a lovely afternoon.  Good friends.  Good conversation.  Topped off with a trip down memory lane.  All in all — good stuff.

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Vegas Vacation

Things were a little quiet around here last week (on the blog, that is).  That’s because I was in Vegas!

For the first time, I actually gave myself time to enjoy the trip.  My usual trips to Vegas last a day or two, and I’m gone as quickly as I appear.  Inevitably, those short trips always left me feeling guilty — there was always someone I didn’t spend enough time with (or didn’t see at all).

Did I mention that I’m originally from Vegas?  Yeah, I grew up there.  So this wasn’t some crazy, binge-drinking week of partying.  It was a trip to visit friends and family.

Given our impending move to Seattle and the fact that Seattle is way further from Vegas than Pasadena (where I live now), I decided to take a slightly longer trip than my usual.  I drove up on Tuesday and left on Friday.

As I tend to forget to use my camera whenever I go to Vegas, I made a point to take pictures this time.  I did pretty well, with a few unfortunate exceptions.  For instance, I stayed with my grandparents during my visit.  And, wouldn’t you know?  I didn’t take any pictures with them (or of them).  I’m really disappointed about that.  Oh well, I suppose that gives me another excuse to go back soon.

I spent the week visiting with my brother, my sister-in-law, my grandparents, a few awesome friends and, of course, my absolute favorite niece and nephew in the world.

I still don’t feel like I spent enough time there.  I suppose when you grow up in a place, there are always people you wish you could hang out with more.  That said, the trip was still great!  (I miss you all already.)

Below is a collage of some of my favorite pics from the trip.  If you’d like to see a larger view, click on the photo.

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Vegas, Baby!

No, I wasn’t I wasn’t in Vegas drinking and gambling (though I’ve always wondered how different the place would be if I were a tourist).

I went to Las Vegas this weekend to visit my family – I grew up there. Even though I live fairly close, the drive sucks. I don’t visit as often as I should (or would like), so I took advantage of some free time this weekend and headed out. The weekend flew by, and it was a fun couple of days! (Though I wish I’d had more time to see everyone.)

I headed out on Saturday morning and arrived at my grandparent’s house around noon. I chatted and caught up with them the next few hours, then headed over to my sister-in-law’s house for some girl talk and appetizers. I took a moment to raid her closet and admire her burgeoning shoe collection. I even walked away with a fabulous new pair of my own – super cute, peep toe, patent leather, wedge Mary Jane’s. You’ve got to love ’em!

After a full dose of girl talk, I headed to my brother’s house to hang out with him and his girlfriend – and my absolute favorite niece and nephew in the world. (Okay, so they’re my only niece and nephew, but even if they weren’t, they would still be my favorites!) You have to agree; they are adorable. We played golf (or something like it) in the backyard, then headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for what else…but wings. Okay, I actually had a veggie burger, but everyone else had wings. The kids serenaded me with their rendition of “Low” (Flow Rida featuring T-Pain).

Apparently, these eight and four year olds keep up with their hip-hop. We went back to their house for ice cream cones before the kids were off to bed. I chatted with Trevor and Brandy for a while, then realized I was late to meet my friend, Lisa, for her celebration of returning to singlehood. I threw on something other than my blue velour sweats and rushed off to meet her.

When I arrived at the bar, Lisa was d-runk. It was fabulous and too funny, and we had a great time catching up. After Dick’s we headed to Susan’s house and spent the rest of the night chatting. I got back to my grandparent’s house way late and crashed in bed after tip-toeing into the house in an attempt not to wake anyone up (I don’t think I succeeded).

Sunday morning I spent talking with my grandparents. I don’t get to talk with them near enough, and it was great to catch up. I was supposed to visit my friend, Carrie, but the time flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to drive home. (Carrie, I promise to make this up to you next time!)

I was so tired when I got home, I nearly fell asleep waiting in line at the grocery store.  What a busy but fabulous weekend!

photo credit: James Marvin Phelps

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