Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mooney Falls (Arizona Series)

(GPS: N36° 15.770 W112° 42.530)
Time to wrap up my time in Supai, AZ with the Mooney Falls. After getting some rest on a bed at the lodge I went over to the restaurant and had a burger and fries. It was in the middle of the afternoon that we stuck to the plan of heading back on the trail we took to Havasu Falls and continued to Mooney Falls.

So we passed some of the smaller falls I showed in the lost blog on Havasu Falls. We passed Havasu Falls again as well which looks a little different without the sun. From what I can tell to get the sun to completely wipe out the shadow during the day you really have to be there during the time of the summer where you get the most sunlight.
From here we continued on past the campground where there were a lot of people. There was an animal sound we kept hearing through there too. I'm not sure what animal it was, nor do I completely recall the actual sound. I just remember it went on and on as we went through. We finally saw it about a mile away from Havasu Falls.
It's hard to get the perspective here, but these falls are much bigger than the big Havasu Falls. Can you see the little people just to the left of the falls at the top. Mooney Falls was named after a miner who fell to his death here. Mooney's remains are buried somewhere around here.
A nice drop off. As one moves down it switchbacks some to the base of the falls. There is a small cave you have to go through to get down there.
I got through the cave and I was sort of lucky when I did the video of it that no one was coming from the opposite direction. It did take some work maneuvering down there.
At this point you hold on the chains as you descend. I decided not to do that. Yeah, I was tired, my legs were starting to give a little from all the mileage, but the main factor is there were too many people around. I just didn't have the patience for waiting on everyone. Had I been there earlier in the day I would have done it. So, I just took a picture and video from there instead.
After enjoying these falls we walked back to the lodge, spent the night, got up early, and we were back at the hilltop parking by around 8am. One can take a helicopter out from Supai to the hilltop parking, but it's just cheaper (FREE!) to walk out. The final uphill was really not that bad, but it was still early in the morning and cool which made it a lot easier than in the middle of the day.
I wanted to say a few things before I wrap this part of the trip up about Supai. I didn't mention too much about the history of the Havasupai people that live here. Much as been written about them. In their hstory, they spent part of their life in what we call today the village of Supai (spring, summer, early fall), then spent their winters higher up further to the east. When the white man came there were many disputes over the winter land which a good portion of is in Grand Canyon National Park. Many legal battles took place which finally culminated in a passing and signing of a bill by President Ford allowing them to get their land back in 1975. For more on this please check out the book called, I am the Grand Canyon by Stephen Hirst for the history of the people and their legal dispute.
I've mentioned a few times that this place felt like the Old West to me. Of course, I've been to a lot of Old West areas and been to a lot of the filmed Old West spots, but in the mind of most people these types of rock formations in Arizona are what people think of as the Old West. In the past, I have heard or read people say that this movie location or that one resembles the authentic Old West locations in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. No, they all resemble the spot they were filmed at. All California movie locations look like...California locations. If you think otherwise, then you are not looking hard enough. There are certain geographical features that always can give away where they are really located. In any case, the isolation in a desert canyon with Arizona's rocks is what really triggered the Old West sensation in me.
I should point out that this area really has not had much filmed on it due to the fact it is an Indian reservation. It turns out that Nicholas Cage and Jessica Biel were here for the movie Next (2007). Cage is a friend to the tribe here so he was able to shoot some scenes of that movie on reservation land. In the movie, they do walk into the village and the restaurant was shown. They then show them walking to Havasu Falls.
A few links if you have further interest: