A Bittersweet Experience of Havasupai

Havasupai, in the Grand Canyon, is not just a canyon and a bunch of pretty waterfalls. It has cultural significance as well as a lot of history surrounding the indigenous people that call it home, mainly the Supai. I’ll include my thoughts on the Supai people at a later time, in a different journal entry. This post is regards my experiences with Havasupai and how it is changing my outlook on life. Or perhaps, it has forced me to introspect about things I would not consider otherwise?

Havasupai changed my life three years ago for better or worse in August 2008 when a massive flash flood nearly killed me. My friends, Joe and Robert were there, but this has become more of a personal experience as the years go by because I keep returning to Havasupai and each visit changes me quite a bit. At this point in time, I don’t even know if I understand myself anymore? I return to the canyon in a personal pilgrimage that is making my own thought-processes much more complex and hard to grip.

I feel a need to write down the thoughts I had while introspecting the personal conflicts I have with Havasupai and why it is so much more than a recreational/tourist destination to me. My experiences there were so life-altering that I need to share what I know with other people who love the canyon, or nature in general. My experiences have been both sweet and nightmarish at the same time. The flood that nearly killed me three years ago still haunts my psyche in dreams and flashbacks on the night when we were taken by surprise by this raging mud torrent. The snapping driftwood still lingers in thoughts.

It echoes back into reality when 72 hours ago I was sitting overlooking the famous Mooney Falls, in the solitude of the canyon in the early morning while all my friends are back in camp sleeping in their tents. The morning sunlight just starts to glisten on the highest canyon rims. Today I was still unpacking from that backbacking trip into the Grand Canyon. It was my third visit back to Havasupai since the flood and I have several complex thoughts haunting my mind and the urge to share them is hard to resist. However, I may not be able to share them all in one journal entry. . .

Comments

  1. Nate, I will look forward to reading this. From following you on Facebook and I felt the conflicts in your psyche and understand how our encounters with the forces of nature force us to examine our lives in terms of our beliefs and values. I haven’t been to Havasupai myself, but have had a few encounters with Ma Nature and feel I can relate. Best wishes, Peggy

  2. Personally, I am glad you are still here in one piece. It does tend to make one think now and then, when one’s life was once endangered. It appears that maybe you are getting some horse sense about staying safe. It has been difficult when you were younger, to wonder if you could stay in one piece. Keep that is mind for the future. I don’t want any tragedy because we need to get your book published… and I need you around to edit it and also I want to see your grandchildren. Arjean said that is her wish, to live long enough to see your kids. I am adding a generation!

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