Some mothers take their adult daughters on shopping trips. Others join them for gals’ weekends in Las Vegas or Palm Springs. Facials, manicures, maybe some spa time. But not Velma Bradshaw. No, in true Methow fashion, Velma’s idea of a good time with her grown daughters is backpacking into a remote community deep in the Grand Canyon. And I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only one envious of the trip she recently took with her daughters Danielle, Sarah, Rachelle and Madison to Supai Village, population 500.
Located within Havasu Canyon, a tributary on the south side of the Colorado, Supai Village is settled and administered by the Havasupai Tribe, whose name means “people of the blue-green waters.” And for good reason, as anyone who has been to the Havasu area can attest. The river and its waterfalls are truly turquoise, and are “some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world,” Velma says.
Velma and her daughters traveled to the village on foot, hiking in 8 miles carrying all of their food and supplies for four days and three nights. The Bradshaws spent three nights at the campground — which is an additional 2 miles past the village — and day-hiked each day, exploring the canyons and waters.
The Bradshaws say they have Lynette Westendorf to thank for the recommendation; she has done the hike several times. Once the Bradshaw women heard about the trip, they were intrigued. And what was initially a lone adventure is fast becoming a semi-regular family tradition as a gals’ getaway.
Because the hike in and out is very hot and steep, says Velma, most hikers start at 3 a.m., trying to reach the village before the afternoon heat (although some people less intrepid than the Bradshaws travel by helicopter or on horseback).
As they were hiking in, Velma looked over and saw former Country Clinic owner/physician Ann Diamond, proving the point that you can go to the deepest chasms in the earth and still not escape the Methow. Ann was in Supai Village as the doctor for two weeks, “on-call 24/7,” as Velma says. (I’ll try to follow up on this experience in a subsequent column, if my Mazama colleague doesn’t steal it.)
In terms of the trip difficulty and beauty, Velma was not unprepared, having done the hike for the first time in 2013 with Danielle and her other three daughters, Melissa, Megan and Bailey. I’m not sure how Danielle finagled being a part of both expeditions, but perhaps her Outward Bound background played a role. Based on the success of the first two trips, however, I’m guessing the other sisters will get additional chances to visit the remarkable Supai Village again in the future.