First Trip Report after devastating July 2018 Flash Flood

Note From Editor/Admin.  The following trip report is a contribution from one of our readers and associated Facebook group membership.

As you may, or may not be aware of, the Havasu Falls/Supai, Arizona area was devastated by a Flash Flood on July 13, 2018.  In some estimates there was in excess of $250,000.00 worth of damage to the village, the campgrounds and the trail.

The area was closed off to tourists, campers, and visitors while safety concerns were eliminated, and repairs were made.

Click this Link to follow over to the Full Trip Report with photos

The long anticipated reopening of the area was on September 1, 2018.   We expected physical alterations to the natural beauty of the area.  It has occurred in the past.  This is an ever changing environment.  We have been hoping someone would let us know what to expect.

Lower Navajo Falls – September 2018

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Supai – Havasu Falls area reopens 9/1 /2018

We just received wonderful news.  An Official Havasupai PR Media release.  It reads as follows:

The Havasupai Tribal Council confirms that the trail and campgrounds will re-open as planned on September 1, 2018. The necessary repairs to the trail and campgrounds have been completed and the areas are safe for visitors.

Visitors are advised to be prepared for the monsoon season, which typically runs through September 30, 2018.

All visitors need to be alert at all times throughout their visit and to carry plenty of water as temperatures in the summer soar to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).  All visitors must comply with posted signs and instructions from Tribal officials.

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Riding horses rather than hiking

In 2016 when we started creating our website, riding horses was very limited.  The Official Havasupai Tribe website was not even showing pricing at one time.

Recently it was brought to our attention, this service is once again available.  Info showing up on the Tribes Official Website.

We do caution, you may find old pricing posted at various sources on the internet.  Especially on some tour groups that offer guide services.

We suggest you go to the only official source.  That being the tribal website.  Below we are listing their pricing as found today 8/16/2018.   Below that info we are listing the Official Havasupai Tribal website.

 Saddle (Riding) Horses (fees are per Saddle Horse)


Between Campground (or Lodge) and Hilltop Trailhead: $250 one way.

Between Campground and Village: $175 one way.

Limitations: Maximum body weight of 250 lbs, small daypack no more than
 10 lbs, long pants, and at least some prior horseback riding experience.

http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/Havasupai-Mules/havasupai-mules.html

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July 26, 2018 Update on the Supai area Flash Flood

This is an official update/media release statement provided to us.
This came out 7/26/2018.
See below

Tribal Council Passes Declaration of Disaster Resolution

The Havasupai Tribal Council passed a Declaration of Disaster (Resolution #39-18) declaring a state of emergency for the Havasupai Indian Reservation trails leading into Supai, Village in Northern Arizona.  On July 11, 2018 several waves of flooding hit Supai village and Havasu Campgrounds. The storm caused catastrophic damage in the form of mud and rock slides to the Hualapai Hilltop trail, including the dislocation of large boulders which are blocking the only access for food, medical and mail supplies in and out of Supai Village.  The United States Postal Service has temporarily ceased mail delivery by mule train to Supai (this is the last location in the US to be served in this manner).  In addition, critical food and supplies are cut off to the Village except through helicopter.

The declaration states, due to flood levels and rock slides the main trail leading into Supai, Village has been declared dangerous and needs major repairs.  Currently, Hilltop Trailhead is closed to all hikers and mule trains into the Village out of concern for the life, health, safety and well-being of the residents and animals in Supai.

“The unstable and dangerous conditions of the affected areas and our Tribe’s limited resources necessitate the need for federal assistance,” said Chairwoman Muriel Coochwytewa.  “The Tribal Council, in consultation with The Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (AZ DEMA) and Coconino County Emergency Management, have determined that the cost of emergency repairs is expected to exceed $250,000. With our limited resources, we are unable to undertake this effort without federal assistance.”

An initial assessment by State and County Emergency Officials the disaster requires major remediation and recovery efforts.  The Tribe is taking steps to qualify for disaster assistance from the United States.

According to Chairwoman Coochwytewa, the Tribe’s primary source of revenue is the tourists who travel from all over the world to experience the Reservation’s unique blue-green waterfalls.  The closure of Tribe’s tourist economy will be devastating to the economic status and directly affect tribal members employed by the Tourism Department as well.

“The immediate and extended closure of Havasu Canyon will cause severe financial harm to the Havasupai Reservation and our Tribal members,” said Chairwoman Coochwytewa.  “The trail from Hualapai Hilltop is unsafe and due to these conditions, will remain closed allowing the Tribe to ensure that the area is safe.  The campgrounds and the lodge will re-open on September 1, 2018.”

Visitors with confirmed reservations at the campground or the lodge that are impacted by this closure are encouraged to contact the Tourist Office to reschedule, 928-448-2141. Please be patient as the Tourist Office works to accommodate all requests. 

The flooding necessitated the activation of the Havasupai Tribal Emergency Response Team who initiated the relocation, housing, clothing, feeding and evacuation of all visitors.  This was done at the Tribe’s own expense, totaling an estimated $25,000.

The Havasupai people reside primarily in Supai Village, remotely located in the bottom of a canyon in Northern Arizona adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park.  At the time of the flood, it is estimated that 400 tribal members as well an additional 10-15 people who are contracted tribal or federal employees were in the area.

“The Tribe would like to thank all the agencies and individual tribal members that responded during the Emergency including the Havasupai Tourist Office staff, BIA-Law Enforcement, Supai Café/Store/Lodge staff, IHS-Indian Health Service, BIE-Bureau of Education, Papillion Helicopters, Airwest Helicopters, and DPS-Department of Public Safety, and the Hualapai Tribe,” said Chairwoman Coochwytewa.

The Tribe is currently accepting monetary donations.  Donations can be made to the Havasupai 2018 Flood Relief Fund at www.HavasupaiReservations.com/donate.

Donations of supplies are also accepted and may be delivered to Hualapai Hilltop or the Tribe’s office in Flagstaff at 5200 E. Cortland Blvd, Ste. D-5, Flagstaff, AZ 86004.

A list of needed supplies: https://bit.ly/2JKaRZZ.  Additional information will be updated on the Tribe’s website at http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/.

 

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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

************************************************************************

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.

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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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