Another American Southwest Road Trip
Another American Southwest Road Trip – Within the Grand Canyon lies Havasu Falls; An oasis of turquoise blue waterfalls within the vastness of the deep desert canyon. The location has become extremely, extremely popular with hikers and photographers flocking to it’s beauty. And since not seeing images of the falls on social media has become impossible, I’ve now become quasi-obsessed with seeing and photographing the falls myself. Having a wedding to go to in Las Vegas earlier this month, I figured I’d take the long way home and spend a few days down exploring the canyon.
The waterfalls of Havasu are located on Havasupai tribal lands and permits need to be obtained from the tribe to camp in the canyon after the 10-mile hike in. These permits go on sale for the entire year beginning on February first and typically sell out within the first few months. I had read they were difficult to obtain because it was simply challenging to get through to the tribe on their limited phone line. (When initially doing my research, no website was available – that has apparently since changed…) First thing in the morning on February 1st, me and my buddy, Ryan Dearth, began making our calls – first one through to them for the permits, wins. When I went to bed later that night, I was hearing busy signals in my head – thousands upon thousands of phone calls later, no dice for either of us. We would receive either a busy signal or the “All circuits are busy” message – every.single.f*cking.time. We tried again the next day – nada.
We pretty much gave up and came up with Plan B where we’d still try to call every once and a while on the off-chance we could get permits, but we’d most likely just do a long southwest road trip instead.
For a Plan B, it worked out pretty great. Over 11 days, I hit up Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside Las Vegas, went west into California to photograph Death Valley National Park, and came back through Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Nearly 2,500 miles of desert exploration.
63 days after initially trying to get Havasu permits, I picked Ryan up at McCarron International Airport in Las Vegas to begin the road trip. Before leaving Vegas and heading west we even tried one last time to get through to the tribe…busy signal…