“Havasupai: People of the blue-green waters.”
In the aftermath of the devastating 2008 flood at Havasupai Falls, I am often asked what remains to be photographed in this remote side canyon of the Grand Canyon. Friends and fellow photographers inquire, “What’s left of Havasu Falls? Is it still worth making the long hike (11 miles) to the falls?” Having returned to Havasu Falls in 2011, I reply without hesitation: Havasupai Falls remains one of the most enchanting and photogenic areas in the Southwest.
Challenge Editor’s Choice Award, ‘The Color Blue” Contest - Capture My Arizona, June 11, 2013, NIKON D300,f/16 @ 24 mm, 1/4, ISO 200
Havasu Falls, D300,f/14 @ 22 mm, 0.3s, ISO 200
Yes, the flood destroyed much of Navajo Falls, also washing away parts of the blue-green travertine pools at Havasu Falls. The trail of destruction is not for long, though, as powerful forces of nature rapidly bring fresh plant life and new areas of cascading water to the valley.
Downstream from Navajo Falls are the newly formed Rock Falls, a dramatic formation bordered by an enormous expanse of terraced falls. Already, the travertine pools at Havasu Falls are partially restored, given the high concentrations of calcium carbonate mineral deposits in the spring waters. This process of rejuvenation is a sight to behold, attesting to the wondrous cycle of life.
Glints of canyon wall reflections in Havasu Falls pool, NIKON D300,f/16 @ 70 mm, 1/40, ISO 400
Beyond the “main attractions” of the waterfalls, the hike from Supai Village to Mooney Falls offers intimate photo opportunities: Small gurgling brooks, weathered Cottonwood trees and a few wild flowers along the way. We came across the rickety footbridge downstream of Havasu Falls, situated in quiet tree covered area. Here, a shallow creek converges with a larger stream, ultimately spilling into the Colorado River.
Terraced cascade of spring waters near the newly formed Rock Falls, NIKON D300,f/16 @ 24 mm, 2.5s, ISO 200
Finally, the vivid blue color of the crystal clear spring water is beyond description – reason enough to return to this heavenly oasis.
Lush greenery at flood damaged Navajo Falls, NIKON D300,f/9 @ 70 mm, 0.3s, ISO 200
Related posts: Landscape Photography Podcast, Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah – Part 2 Havasupai Falls, Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah – Part 1, Mountains in the Wake of Gladiator Fire
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.