Last October my yoga instructor invited me to join her and a group of people to do a hike called Rim to Rim at the Grand Canyon, and I thought, ok, why not. So I told her I'd go, I booked some rooms in the Grand Canyon on the South Rim and North Rim, and then in January we were going to begin training hikes. LITTLE DID I KNOW that I would end up joining this climbing club and be doing all these bananas mountaineering trips and end up not making most of the training hikes... which is obviously fine since the mountaineering trips were more than sufficient muscle training.
Fast forward to this last weekend, and it was finally time to do the Rim to Rim hike. Our yoga instructor wasn't able to make it anymore, however, there were 6 of us who still wanted to go do it.
We left Friday morning at about 6am to drive up to the Grand Canyon. We managed to stuff 6 people + luggage into my subaru (because its badd ass), and the drive went by fast with that many people to keep ourselves entertained.
About 8 hours later, there we were. The Grand Canyon. The big GC. We had an interesting encounter in the parking lot with another family that just rolled into the vistors parking area on the South Rim. This man and his many children and wife stepped out of the car, beer in hand, and looks at us and asks " So... uh... what do you do here? And can I bring my beer?"... don't get me wrong, these are both valid questions in anyone's book and beer should always be a high priority, but I guess I just imagine that when you roll into the grand canyon you know why the hell you are there and what you want to do. It doesn't strike me as one of those spontaneous highway pull offs.... anyways, it was entertaining.
We spent our first hour at the GC just looking around the south rim.
Doing yoga poses.... you know. The normal stuff.
I do not approve of this gig em photo. Go horns!
We checked out some info on the Bright Angel trail which is where we would be starting, and talked to a real live ranger man, who told us not to attempt the hike we were going to do. Oh well, we were still going to do it.
We stayed in these nice lodges right near our trail on Friday night. The plan was to sleep here Friday, hike to North Rim Saturday. Stay in North rim Saturday night, and then take a shuttle back to our car Sunday from the North rim.
It doesn't look so bad. Only a couple inches long.....
We woke up at 3am Saturday morning, and hit the trail by 4am, hoping to beat a lot of the heat. Looking back, I wish we wouldve started at like midnight or something earlier than 4 am. The heat was brutal!
But then, I guess all of my pictures would've looked like this one and that would've sucked. I guess it's good I suffered this time, and if I ever go back I am going to start earlier than 4am.
I love it when the sun rises, just so freaking pretty.
I always try my hardest to look especially sexy when I hike. Can you tell?
It feels like something out of Jurassic Park. WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE DINOSAURS!
The hike down was pretty long... I probably won't comment a lot, because welp, it was just a bunch of hiking. I'll let the pictures do the talking. I'm boring anyways.
An amazingly diverse terrain down in the canyon!
My lady hiking friends! They are totally CRUSHING IT!
This picture amazes me, seeing the entire trail like that. This hike was incredibly long!
Continuing to CRUSH IT.
The river was awesome! We got some strangers to take a group pic of us all. It was amazinig how many people were on this trail. There were all kinds of people... we even met some people who were running Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in one day. Nuts-O's.
We got to cross this giant bridge to get across the river.
And took our first longer break here to mow down on some food.
About this time, the shade was starting to disappear and it began to get very, VERY hot in the canyon.
I'm talking VERY hot!
The heat got the best of me around here. I got pretty slow from this point on. I was crushing it until this point... where I was crushing it less.
We decided to take a break from the heat at a short detour, Ribbon Falls, recommended by our ranger friend as "The most beautiful place in the world".... I told him that was quite a statement.
Turns out, yes, it was pretty, but I wouldn't classify it as "The most beautiful place in the world". Maybe he just really likes waterfalls. I dig mountains. We are all different.
BUT WAIT! Then I saw this little guy when I went to fill up my water bottle with my filter at this stream. He made the extra mileage for this waterfall worth it to me.
He was just really cool, and wasn't afraid of anything. I admired him. He really thought he was invisible I think.
Alice also made a friend... a boob friend. Bosom buddies?
I developed this weird heat rash all over my legs. We looked it up later and I read online that mostly older people get these. WHAT THE F MOTHER NATURE, I'm only 24! People on the trail started remembering me by my rash. How lovely. "Oh yaaa! your'e that chick with the rash!"
GEOLOGY! EVERYWHERE. There were 3 geologists on the hike in our group. They definitely got to look at some geo porn on this trip. Crinoids fool.
Ican't really describe how badly the heat took a toll on my speed. I was turtle speed. It kinda sucked, but I could do nothing about it, except drench my face in water and keep walking.
We started getting delusional and cracking jokes about how ironic (since we were near the end at this point) it would be if a mountain lion came in and decided it was snack time. How after all that work, it would just be the ultimate ironic ending.
Or throwing ourselves off the bridge as the ultimate hikers romantic death gesture. "I've hiked so far, I can't make it any further, I will end it at this bridge."
I guess you could say in hiking and mountaineering and climbing, you think about death sometimes. It's no big deal. Sometimes its just no fun, and you are like dang, it would be easier to just stop now. But you don't because THAT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS.
I'm sure someone reading this is now thinking I need some serious therapy. Surprisingly, this is my therapy. It makes sense in my head...
This tunnel signified the last bit of the hike that we had left! So excited!
I ran to meet the rest of the group at the top when I saw the clearing! It was a glorious moment.. and my calves were killing meee!
And then a generous soul took us to the North Rim hotel, where we feasted, showered, tended to our blisters, and passed out.
I have to be honest and say that I was a little bummed to be the last in my group to finish the Rim to Rim hike. I finished the hike in 15 hours and 30 minutes. Collectively our group finished the hike between 14 hours and my time. I've been working my butt off this year, training, hiking, pushing myself up stupidly high mountains nearly once or twice a month... I could probably venture to say I was in the best hiking shape of anyone in the group, but the outdoors, and mountains, and canyons always find a way to humble me. The heat was brutal to me, and I just couldn't recover. I am stoked, however, that my companions crushed it so hard! They all did awesome, and I really had a great time hiking with them. I feel like I know them all a little better now, and we have this awesome memory to bind us all together. There's nothing like struggling through something to bring you closer to people.
Now some freaking stats!
The hike was around 23.4 miles according to my GPS app. The elevation gain was around 6775', but the total ascent if you count all the ups along the hike was about 9,537'. Hard day.