• James E Aarons DVM

Supai, You're Almost There!


“Those are the Wii’igliva, or the Watchmen,” Ellen, their guide and cook continued. “They are the male and female protectors of Supai. According to their legends, the day those towers fall will mark the end of Havasu Canyon and the Havasupai people.”

“That’s because it’ll kill everyone underneath when one of them falls,” Rory decided.

They continued their way along the shaded, dusty road of red dirt underneath large, green-leafed cottonwood trees until they were in downtown Supai. The place looked to Rory like a third world town. Curious, skinny dogs came to greet the travelers, looking for treats from the newcomers. There was no mechanical noise. The occasional barking of mangy canines was accompanied only by the buzzing of many flies. Young children, barefoot, and wearing only underwear played in small groups.

Midway past the half-dozen buildings of the ‘business district,' Ellen found the Post Office. “Wait here, you guys.” She opened the squeaking screen door.

“We’ll be next door,” Katie pointed to a building adjacent to the post office. They set their packs on a picnic table and went inside. Ellen came out, opened her retrieved package, and divided the dry goods and two backpacking stoves into four piles. The hikers would each carry their share for the remaining few miles to the campground. The others came out of the store with cans of Coca-Cola. Cold-water droplets coalesced and flowed down the aluminum sides. “Here, Ellen, I bought you a Coke.”

“Thanks.” Ellen donned her pack and sipped happily as the others loaded their bags. “Okay!” She said. “Let’s finish our hike. Oh!” She stopped abruptly. “I forgot to mail the letters. Get your letters out,” she said returning to the picnic table. Earlier, Ellen told everyone to write themselves a vacation note addressed to home. By sending mail out from Supai, you get instant celebratory status by having a piece of mail hand stamped with: ‘THE MULE TRAIN MAIL. HAVASUPAI INDIAN RESERVATION’. It's an instant souvenir, especially if you address the letter to yourself. Ellen gathered the letters and dropped them into the mailbox.

“Now it’s time to find a campsite,” she said as they started out once again.

Forty-five minutes later they arrived at the campground. It was set up in a large, flat spot where many stream tributaries branched off. The flowing blue water meandered through the trees, bubbling and gurgling as it made its way to the Colorado River miles below.

“Let’s camp here.” Rory sat his pack on a picnic table in an empty campsite. Nearby the creek expanded into a wide wading area, its waters held back by a dam of mineral buildup that formed a retaining wall perfectly level with the water's edge. “You’re right about this place, Katie. It is stunning.”

Thank you, Erica, for allowing the use of your pictures.

EricaMeyerPhoto.

You can contact her at AsHerWorldTurns@gmail.com.

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