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In 1985, I spent several days camping in Havasu Canyon with the First Husband-to-be. Havasu Canyon lies just outside of the western border of the Grand Canyon National Park. The Havasu campground is on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and run by the Havasupai tribe. Havasupai means people of the green blue water.
Havasu Canyon is known for its gorgeous waterfalls that run down to the Colorado River. And, yes, the pools of water were a spectacular green-blue color when we were there. I've seen photos on the Internet that show they still are.
To get to the campground back then, you either flew in on a helicopter or hiked the winding 10-mile trail down to the canyon floor.
I was (and still am) a slow walker, so the First Husband-to-be got to the campground office before me. The reservation was under my name so he and the office manager patiently waited for me to get there. The two men were talking when I entered the office. I immediately recognized the manager's voice. I had spoken to him over the phone a month earlier.
"Can you tell me if it will rain in April there?" I had asked.
"It's hard to say," the office manager had answered.
"Does it usually rain in April over there?" I had rephrased my question, thinking he didn't understand that I wanted a general idea of what the weather was like that time of year. I figured he'd tell me what the weather forecasters in his area said.
"Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it doesn't rain."
I had hung up from our conversation rather flustered. Years later, I realized how silly it was to ask about weather that had yet to happen.
"Hello," I said, noticing that he looked at me oddly. I thought maybe I had something on my face.
Not much of a small talker, I just got to the point. Pulling out my wallet, I asked, "How much do we pay?"
"Nothing," he said.
"You don't have a camping fee anymore?"
"For you, it's free."
"Free? Okay. Thank you."
"What tribe are you from?"
"Tribe?" I hesitated. The First Husband-to-be said later that he was hoping I'd say, the Ilocano tribe.
"Uhm, I don't belong to any tribe. My parents are from the Philippines. They're Ilocanos."
He looked disappointed.
"I don't mind paying," I said.
"That's okay," he said, shrugging his shoulder. "We're all the same."
|A much younger Su-sieee! Mac takes a break on the Havasu Canyon floor.|