GC2017 Trip Report [Day 17 | 31 January 2017]

A pretty laid back river day. Only three rapids, all class 3 or lower.

The big exciting adventure of River Day 17 was our stop at Havasu Creek.

Havasu Creek is my absolute most favorite place in the entire Grand Canyon.

It.is.beautiful.

The turquoise blue water is so surreal that you almost can’t believe it’s actually that color.

The cascading turquoise water makes this place seem so magical. What makes it especially unique is the contrast to the muddy brown of the Colorado River. One minute you’re rowing down a chocolately brown river angling for the Havasu Canyon pull-in, the next minute you catch the eddy, turn your boat around, and are awestruck by the blue-green beauty of Havasu Creek.

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Gives me goosebumps just describing it.

So. Why is Havasu Creek such a stunning turquoise blue? Dissolved magnesium and calcium are suspended in the water and calcium carbonate reflect sunlight to create the turquoise color. The riverbed is made up of reflective limestone, which makes the color appear even brighter [I looked this up #nerd].

When we visited Havasu Creek during GC2015, the only way I could describe it was that it looked like a magical fairie land. Nick had confessed to me after returning home from GC2015, that he planned to propose at Havasu creek, but he couldn’t get me alone.

Everyone had a blast playing in the turquoise blue water. We were all like kids.

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that the cause of my wet pants the day prior was a leaky butt zipper on my dry suit. I watched most of the fun from the sidelines while Nick tried to fix my zipper.

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The water level was higher this time around so there was no dry means of getting up Havasu Creek, Instead, we got out of the boats into waist deep water, had to wade in [up to] chest deep water to reach the rocks that you climb up to reach Havasu Trail. The moment I was in waist deep water I felt a flood of water come into my dry suit through the butt zipper. I was so upset. I had a hard enough time keeping my feel warm, and now I’m soaked from the waist down.

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You Need to Wade Quite a Ways in the River to Reach the Trail

Havasu Creek is actually a location in the Grand Canyon that you can access from the rim. Along the way up or down you encounter two waterfalls– Beaver Falls and Mooney Falls. Unless you want to spend most of your day at Havasu Creek they are a bit far to hike from the river. The Day Hikes from the River book calls out 3 hours minimum to reach Beaver Falls from the river. Going into GC2018 this is high on our list of things we want to do. We want to structure the trip to spend a full day hiking at Havasu Creek to make it to Beaver Falls, and maybe even to Mooney Falls.

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When we got to camp that night I dumped a significant amount of water out of each leg of my dry suit. I was thankful (1) that we didn’t have many big rapids remaining so I wasn’t worried about my clothes getting soaked and not having enough time to dry and (2) that I decided to pack my neoprene wetsuit pants at the last minute. They kept me warm even when they got wet and they dried quickly each night.

We got to camp early enough for a nice little hike up Tuckup Canyon. You can go pretty far if you’re into the whole climbing thing, but I was content just to hike up the canyon.

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There’s Nothing Better than a Sunny Lunch Spot on a Winter Grand Canyon Trip

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Quick Hike Up Tuckup Canyon

River Miles: 13.0 miles
Camp: Tuckup [mile 165.1]

Sinyella [class 2]
Havasu [class 3]
Hundred Sixty-Four Mile [class 2]

Water Flow: 11,000 – 16,000 cfs

Temperature: 33 – 62 deg F
Precipitation: 0.00 in
Wind: 2 – 7 mph, no gusts
Weather Event: N/A