This weekend I am heading back to my other-other favorite state, Arizona. I am partnering with Just Roughin It Adventures for a guided hike to Havasupai, and I 👏🏾 CAN 👏🏾 NOT 👏🏾 WAIT!
Thanks to social media places like Havasupai, Devil's Bridge, The Wave, Yosemite and other natural sites are seeing an uptick in annual visitors, and with more people come more problems. Trash, lost or injured hikers, wildfires caused by camper error, etc. It's important that people take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and our environment when on the trail. These are two primary reasons why I am a major fan of guided hiking trips for these newly wildly popular destinations.
1. Because I don't know what the hell I'm doing
Havasupai ain't Georgia my friends. It's smack dab in the middle of the desert and a quick 10-mile hike through rocky, sandy, and HAWTTT 🔥 terrain. The hike is fairly flat with the exception of the first 1.9 miles of switchbacks which are sure to try to kill me on our hike out (more on that later). Not considered a very difficult hike on a scale of 1 to 10. Havasupai lands at a 4 difficulty rating on the Just Roughin It Site, but it's my first time hiking in this area and I would rather be safe than sorry. Yes, I've hiked the Grand Canyon before and on a much more difficult trail, but the typography of the desert can vary so wildly from region to region. I believe in playing it safe and checking your ego at all times when dealing with Mother Nature because she don't care. Snakes, twisted ankles on loose rocks, flash floods, heat exhaustion, are all possibilities. I don't write this to scare you. Not at all. I write this because it's the smart thing to be aware of and plan for all the things that can go wrong so that you can be prepared to act accordingly. My guide from Just Roughin It knows exactly what to do in alllllllll of these situations plus those that I'm not aware of. On my first trip to the Grand Canyon I learned so much from my Guide Jeff and felt so encouraged to backpack and hike more. Fast-forward 2 years and hundreds of miles hiked later, I'm returning to the same company for another guided hike. I am fully confident in the skills I've gained since my initial trip but I'm more comfortable going with a guide.
But you say you watched your favorite Youtube traveler's vLog on their trip to Havasupai and they hiked in on there own. See point #2 below.
2. Because people don't know how to act
Other than the obvious benefits of using a guided service (include a guide, most of the camping gear, all meals) I think it provides a bit of a babysitter for those who need it. Yes, I know. That sucks, it's not the guides job to babysit or monitor the activities of others but honestly guys, sometimes people need it. Have you ever been camping and wanted to turn in early because you had a big day on the trail the next morning, but the group next to you continued to party well into dawn? Have you ever left a site and noticed that the fire at the site next to yours had not been properly drowned? Or had the beauty of a location ruined because there was a plethora of trash everywhere? User error or indifference, the more people who discover these special places through social media the more mistakes there are to be made. People are known to curve their natural behavior when they are around strangers or are at risk of being reprimanded. There is also the possibilty that you just don't know and using a guide (like me) can help you learn more about hiking an camping properly. So unless you have years of experience under your belt hiking and camping or have a history of properly LEAVING NO TRACE, check out using a guide.
As permits get harder to acquire, and spaces get more crowded guided services can be your ticket to experiencing these beautiful locations while doing so responsibly. Learn from a pro while protecting our popular natural spaces and helping support a small business while you do it. Check back soon for my post on our trip to Havasupai with Just Roughin It and lots and lots of photos and my detailed review of the hike.