UPDATE Havasu Falls Flash Flood 201807131606


7/19/2018
We have not had an official Havasupai Media Release since the one shown below of July 13, 2018 4:06.  We have noticed they have updated their official website to indicate the area is closed to visitors/tourist until at least the end of July 2018.
Click the link for the Official Havasupai Website

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7/13/2018
UPDATE Havasu Falls Flash Flood July 13, 2018 4:06 local
Release:201807131606

Havasupai Media Release:

Havasupai Tribe’s Quick Response Ensures All Visitors Safely Evacuated Following Flash Flood.

The nearly 200 visitors onsite at the campgrounds at Havasupai Falls were safely evacuated from the area by 6 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018.  Thanks to the quick response from the Havasupai Tribal Council and the Havasupai Tourism Enterprise employees, there were no serious injuries or casualties reported.

Many had to evacuate without their packs. Grand Canyon Caverns provided food for those who were evacuated, along with showers and usage of the Cavern’s telephones.

There were two waves of flooding.  About 7 feet of flood waters hit Supai shortly before dark on July 11, 2018.  Brian Klimowski of the National Weather Service in Flagstaff contacted the tribe around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 with a flood advisory for the area.

The Tribal Council immediately activated the Tourist Office and Emergency Response Team, who promptly evacuated the campgrounds.  There were 17 visitors on the opposite side of the flooded creek that were unable to leave the area immediately.   They were able to safely evacuate the area at sunrise on July 12, after the water had receded.

The second wave of flooding occurred at approximately 3:30 am on July 12.

The Tribal Council opened up the Community Building and the elementary school for all visitors to sleep.  In addition, the Tribe opened up the store and distributed food and supplies to the tourists.

The waves of flood waters did not hit Supai Village (approximately 1 ½ miles from the campground), but there is some significant flooding in several Tribal buildings due to the rain water.  In addition, there are reports of debris, sinkholes and a bridge that has been compromised. This is throughout the Tribal Community (non-public areas).

The Arizona Department of Public Safety dispatched a field officer to Supai to assist Tribal leadership in assessing and evaluating the conditions.  The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (AZ DEMA) and Coconino County Emergency Management will also be assisting the Tribe in assessing and evaluating the conditions of the area.

Following these evaluations, the Tribal Council will determine if it qualifies for federal disaster relief designation and will consider at that time whether to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

There are approximately 400 tribal members that live in Supai as well an additional 10-15 people who are contracted tribal or federal employees.  Helicopter service is running as scheduled and anyone currently in Supai is able to leave via helicopter if they so choose.

Indian Route 18 remains closed to the public until further notice. Tribal members, law enforcement and emergency response teams will be able to travel via Indian Route 18.

The trail from Hilltop is unsafe and due to the conditions in Supai, the area remains closed to visitors  until the Tribe repairs the damaged campgrounds and determines that the area is safe.  Tourists with confirmed reservations should contact their travel agent or outfitter for more information.  If your visit is directly impacted by this closure, you will have the option to reschedule your reservation, although specifics on the process are unavailable at this time.

The tourism office estimates that there are approximately 300 reservations that may be impacted by the closure.

Please DO NOT contact the Tribal Tourism Office at this time.  All phone lines are being used for emergency services.  Updated information regarding re-opening will posted on the Tribe’s website http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/.

Video at this link is courtesy of Tara Brewer

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UPDATE Havasu Falls Flash Flood 201807121439


FLASH FLOOD News Release – Havasu Falls/Supai Area

The latest update [As of 07-12-18 2:39 pm local]

The evacuation of all visitors in Supai is still underway. All visitors are being helicoptered out of the Canyon to Hilltop.

Indian Route 18 is open to outbound traffic leaving Supai.  No inbound traffic other than law enforcement is allowed.

At this time, neither the American Red Cross or the National Guard have been deployed (as was rumored).

DPS has a field officer in Supai to assist Tribal leadership in assessing and evaluating the situation.

Authorities are closely monitoring reports from the National Weather Service.

Tourists with confirmed reservations for the coming weeks should contact their travel advisor for more information.  Please DO NOT contact the Tribal Tourism Office at this time.  All phone lines are being used for emergency services.

 

Tourists Waiting for Helicopter 7/12/18 Permission for photo release through HMA PR by Heather Mitchell

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ALERT: Flash Flooding Havasu Falls area

Attention – Alert

There are reports coming in that Flash Flooding has occurred in the Havasu Falls area.  All campers have been evacuated from the campground. The campground is closed until further notice.

The road into the Hilltop Trail Head parking area is also closed to incoming traffic.

The trail to and from the Trail Head and the Village is closed. They are not allowing anyone to hike out.

Do not attempt to call into Supai. That includes the Lodge and Camper Check-in office. They want the phone system open for emergency services.

We are hoping members eventually get photos and video to us. Have friends and family subscribe to our email to get the latest notices direct into their inbox. Subscribe to our Email list

Photos, Video’s, and your stories can be submitted to info@toponautic.com

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Touring Grand Canyon Caverns

Wow touring the Cavern [Near Peach Springs, Arizona on Old RT 66] was a great side trip.  I am sorry we never did it sooner!

If you are intending to camp, or even considering camping, at the Grand Canyon Caverns Campgrounds, or simply passing by on old RT 66.  Be sure to allow time for the Cavern Tour!

Did you know you can have your meal down in the Cavern?  The combo meal & tour is very reasonably priced.  When we looked at the menu and the tour, as individual prices.  Having the experience in the cave, was a no brain’er!

Follow the link over to the full article.  In the article there are links to other points of interest.  Also our experience camping in the campground.  Grand Canyon Caverns Article.

Subscribe to our Email List if you haven’t already.  Receive our latest Blog Posts and newsletters.  They are packed with Interesting & Informative content.   Don’t miss out on Upcoming Events.

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GATOR & THE CHAIR

Gator & the Chair is a comical reminder for planning any backpacking trip. Reducing Carry Weight, while gathering gear, food, and necessities for a trip is probably the most important goal to be working toward. Way in advance of any upcoming trip.

I have gone pack heavy on some previous backpack trips. I can assure you, overloading your pack can really ruin, or at least dampen your thoughts, of ever backpacking again.

Click here to view our expanded discussion on Pack Weight & Total Weight

Here is our comical discussion about gear you don’t need. Titled “Gator and the Chair”. Our friend Brian (a.k.a Gator) is a good sport and always has us laughing.  It’s sometimes hard to tell whats really true.  This video is for you that want everything along on your back. We may laugh, but we have all been right here. At one time or another. Or to some degree.

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CAMPING AT THE TRAIL HEAD PARKING AREA Can I do it?

Technically no.  But to date, and to our knowledge, there are no official rules prohibiting it.

There are no camping facilities.  No water source.  No electric.  No artificial lights.  For the most part no room to place things like tents, cots, chairs, or sleeping bags, unless you don’t care about pissing people off.

It can be noisy.

No shade.

Hotter than blazes during the summer months. Many complain it is noisy throughout the night. Cold nights during the cooler months.

There is only a pit toilet near the trailhead.

The parking area fills and people start parking along both sides of the narrow road.

Some self centered people think it is OK to park, then set up chairs or sleeping bags in the parking space next to them. They are actually posting it on social media as the way to start the trip. Come on people…that is not OK to be fair to others. This is the kind of behavior that ends up creating conflicts, rules, and restrictions.

There are often not enough parking places to go around just for vehicles.  Starting in 2018 it appears they are upping the headcount allowed to visit on a given day.  So parking will become even a bigger hassle.

The reservations in recent years have been completely sold out. The parking lot overflows as it is. If you are inconsiderate enough to take extra parking spots to set up sleeping space or gear, and say “to H&LL” with others.  Be prepared to deal with belligerent people trying to find a parking space. This is a good way to put yourself in a bad situation with escalating conflicts.

Some people are silent complainers.   You might win a face to face confrontation.  But this is the kind of stuff that gets your vehicle messed up once you hike away from it.

That doesn’t even count the chance of getting run over/backed over accidentally in the dark if camping on the pavement. We are all here to enjoy this area. Be courteous and think of others. Don’t cause a situation. None of us are here for a negative experience. Plan better and please do not subscribe to, or promote this type of thinking.

Sleeping in a Van and Truck is certainly more doable.   Depending on the season of course.   Even then this area is my last choice for sleeping accommodations.   I have slept in my van once in the parking area.  There are way better options for a more enjoyable adventure.

In some cases you might be able to park along and off the side of the road and stretch out between your vehicle and the guard rail….or your vehicle and the canyon wall on the other side. Or the other side of the guard rail.  But there are hazards we will mention below, in that scenario too.

Once you get there, and see the situation, most have the same recommendation we have.  Check Google Earth to appreciate the recommendation not to sleep here, given just the terrain.

On the rising canyon side, there is a concern about falling rocks.  Bad enough a rock may land on your vehicle.  Worse if you are out in the open and one lands on you.

On the dropping canyon side…falling kids, if you have them along.

On the dropping canyon side there is often not even enough room to park a vehicle off the pavement.

Below is a photo off Google earth to indicate what I am referring to.

Click LINK to Activate Google Maps for the Hilltop Trail Head Parking Area

Sleeping in this area is a tough way to start out this trip, if you are tired.

During, Spring, Fall, Winter, at least the heat won’t be much of a factor.  More likely the cold will creep in on you.  Ideally, if this is your option for an early start, you have a van or can sleep in the back of a PU Truck.

There are Hotels and Camping about an hour, to an hour and a half, before the intersection of RT#66 and IR#18.  Check Peach Springs Arizona, Seligman Arizona, and  Grand Canyon Caverns Campgrounds that also has lodging.

Many people opt for these…and they fill up too.  So reserve early.  Then get up and on the road right as it begins to get light. (Before actual sunrise)  Make this last hour or so of the drive and arrive just before or around full light.

The switchbacks will remain in shadow and be the coolest of the day for about 2 hours.  You should have no problem making it down the switchbacks before the sun gets high enough to shine on you.

Don’t travel that last 60 mile stretch of road in the dark.  It is “open range”.  Lots of dark cattle, elk, deer, etc.  The road is desolate and no lights.  Failing to heed this warning might very well result in a very damaged vehicle or something worse.  Don’t be in that big of a hurry,

Though I have never personally had issues with vehicle break-ins, from time to time there are reports this occurs.  Be it a local or some tourist, I have never heard.  But this is like any other parking lot situation.  Do not leave valuables in your car.  Things you do leave behind stash out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk.

ONE DAY TURN AROUND HIKES Not Allowed

A one day hike in/out, “Day Hikes” in an attempt to see and visit the area or waterfalls are not allowed. You must either have a confirmed overnight reservations for the campground, or Lodge accommodation reservations, to enter the area.  On top of that you have to pay an Entrance Fee as well as an Environmental Fee…..plus 10% Tax.

You must check in at the Camper/Tourist Office in the village of Supai.  That is located about 9 miles into your hike.  You are given a personal Tag or Wrist Band indicating you are paid and checked in.  You can then proceed beyond the village once you have your wrist band or pack tag.

Some of us that live near the general area have asked if we can hike down the first day of reservations (February). Secure reservations rather than going through the nightmare of the phone calling system. Then hike back out that same day. We were told that is a no-no and not allowed either. It would be a long round trip not to secure your reservations you thought you might get.  Or get turned away at some point on the trail because you lack a reservation.

In 2017 visitors hiking in, were challenged at several points along the trail by a local/ranger. You are asked about your reservations and the name of the person the reservation(s) were made under. They have a paper list of all the names for that day. They were turning people around that didn’t match their list.

NIGHT HIKING

One of the Tribal rules is no night hiking.  There is also no one day turn-around hiking.

Night hiking applies to the Main Trail, and any other areas.  This applies to hiking in from the Trail Head.  Also Hiking out to the Trail Head.  This applies to hiking the area when set up in the campgrounds.  This also applies to the village.  A walk to the campground pit toilets at night is an exception, if you are camping there.

Even though this should be mostly common sense, you will find some who disregard the rules.

Between the hours of 6pm and 4am you are not supposed to be walking/hiking/backpacking through, or in, Supia Village. You will more than likely be confronted by tribal law enforcement and not allowed to pass into or through the village.  Some apparently are never confronted because we sometimes see stories of people hiking at any given hour.  If you are one of these types you need to be more considerate of others.  If that isn’t possible please at least follow the rules.  This rule was confirmed by one of the locals that works in the Camper/Tourist Check-in office, in the village of Supai.

Should you come into the village at night, at a minimum you will be unpopular with the locals.  It might not be just tribal law enforcement that confronts you.  Be respectful, this is their home.

Some people have no respect, and will more than likely ignore this warning. The main walking path through the village wanders through the locals housing area.  About the time you get their dogs barking after dark, you won’t be too popular. Can you imagine your house right on the path?  Then at night, people  hiking through, with no regard for waking the locals up?

As for tourists wandering off the main path in the village, this is a no no at any hour!  Stick to the main trail.

Please have respect for the people that live in Supai, so they have respect for us that have visited for years without trouble. There seems to be more and more people with no common sense, and someone has to spell things out.

In addition, you must stay on the main trail when hiking during normal hours.  Other trails are off limits and require special permission from tribal authorities to be on them. Remember you are not suppose to be wandering through the residential area off the main trail.

Other area’s such as Tribal Burial Grounds are off limits, at all times.  The locals do not want you taking photos of the Burial Grounds.

If in doubt find Tribal law enforcement or a Tribal ranger to ask.