This place attracts people from all over the world. The fact that, space available, you can helicopter in and out or have your bags carried in and out by mule or even stay at a little lodge in Supai Village means you’ll see people from all walks of life. We saw those with packs overflowing so much that loose gear was strapped to the outside (been there). Metal frame packs they probably don’t make anymore. A girl carrying a purple sombrero. A group of men, some of whom were carrying GAP clothing bags and another carried a Coleman three man tent (there was four of them). It was as if he had just plucked it off the shelf in Target and was carrying it by the tote strap around the store. We saw a few small children, a person barely getting by walking with a cane and groups of girls in yoga pants who told us they planned to stop every mile for breaks.
I have learned not to judge people when it comes to the backcountry. Even if someone helicoptered in they would still have to walk 2 miles one way to the campsite. Even if a mule carries your pack in and out you’re still walking, minimum, 20 miles RT. A hike down to the base of Mooney falls requires 200 feet of down climbing using chains and ladders over slippery muddy rocks. Hike to Beaver Falls you’re adding in another 6 miles RT. The confluence is 8 miles one way from Mooney Falls. Suffice to say, no matter how you look at it, everyone here is getting around on their own two feet...especially if you want to see what you came here for.
So it really annoyed me when a guy we shared our campsite with told me I didn’t look like a hiker. And he said it in a derogatory way. I wanted to point out the fact that here I was at this place, hiking. That I’d completed 53 of Colorado’s 14ers, some of which were 14 miles or more with 5k elevation gain. That our backpacking trip last year spanned 42 miles altogether. That I ran a 16 mile trail run race in Alaska and I’m not a runner. That I hiked 26 miles in 3 nights and 4 days going up and down 12k in elevation over 4 passes carrying a 35lb pack.
But I didn’t. I let him think what he wanted of me. Because in my heart I know I’m a hiker...and I don’t need anyone’s approval.