Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What's Not to Like?

Cascades Below Supai Falls

Well, I finally got down to Havasupai.

The Shangri-la on native land contains one of two tributaries of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon which run turquoise (with the Little Colorado River whose mouth is almost 100 miles upriver) except during rainstorms when it turns brown and can carry fierce, life-threatening flash floods.  I’ve wanted to shoot there for a long time.  Waterfalls, narrow canyons, bounced light.  What’s not to like?

Despite carrying only the essentials, perhaps 40 pounds of mostly camera gear & water, this middle-aged body worked pretty hard at the 3100 foot 10 mile descent.  Humbling, but that’s another story.

The falls, pools and cascades were breathtaking, whether glowing blue or reflecting the orange morning light from the canyon walls below.

Sometimes, living in the Southwest, we take our color palette for granted. Easterners often comment on the red rocks of Sedona and Southern Utah, saying that they can’t possibly be real.  I’ve had similar comments about the turquoise water in my social media posts from Havasupai.  We have a hard time comprehending what we’re not used to.

Reflections, Rock Falls area
Navajo Falls was completely rerouted during the 2008 monsoon flash flood and now appears in two parts, both much more rocky than travertine-smooth like the older cascades.  I was mesmerized by the abstract patterns and colors in the creek between the two falls in the morning light.  I even did some satisfying black & white work in this area.

Havasu Falls and Cascade
100-foot Havasu Falls is a short, easy walk from the campground and available to photograph from a variety of angles night and day, which we did.

The short but steep climb to the base of Supai Falls (200 feet or so high) is legendary and not for the acrophobic.  I thought it was good, dirty fun.  There are some stunning cascades and pour-overs downstream from Supai, so the climb is worth the trouble.

High Above
Part of me wanted to head on down canyon to Beaver Falls.  I’d hiked there from the Colorado River on several raft trips and liked the idea of covering the last few miles of canyon I’d not yet hiked.  The other part (the middle-aged part) vetoed that suggestion.  I’ll save it for another time.

I’m pretty sure there will be another time.

More images are in the Grand Canyon Gallery at