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The Havasu Falls I remember | by Chief Bwana
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The Havasu Falls I remember

My all-time favorite swimming hole: Havasu Falls. I was fortunate to make 2 visits here before the destructive flash floods of 1990, 1992, 1993 and 2008. The broad fall with its gorgeous terraces was displayed in all its beauty in 1988. See my Havasupai Set for more current pictures.


These architecturally-perfect terraces, made of travertine deposited on fallen limbs and leaves over decades, created a dozen spa-like pools. The main pool was wide and deep -- about 20' deep under the 100-foot waterfall. For a closer view, see this photo, and this shot of the falls in twilight.


The terraces were destroyed by the 1991-1992 floods. The powerful current gouged out a deep channel, leaving the terraces high and dry. The main fall was split into two strands, and much of the pool was filled in with silt. The 2008 flood further damaged the terraces and reduced the pool, leaving a single-stranded fall that starts narrow and ends wide, aiming to the right. It's still a beautiful place, but the pool is shallower now, and the terraces will take many years to come back. There's one good arc of terrace left with a nice pool below it.


I instantly fell in love with Havasu Falls and the surrounding area after my first visit in 1988. I have been back 7 times. None were quite as special as that first look. What artificial waterpark could match this?


I scanned this from a 35mm slide and then used ACDSee tools to try to re-create what the human eye sees. The famous blue-green water is probably a good match but I think the cliff walls would look redder in real life.

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Taken in July 1988