Rim2Rim: A Grand 24 mile Adventure in the Grand Canyon
Twenty-four miles, three friends, 5k+ feet of elevation change, 102 degrees, and 9+ hours of trekking add up to a one grand adventure through one of the Wonders of the World.
This recent adventure far surpassed my first experience at the Grand Canyon which occurred when I was nine years old and consisted of a 15 minute "pit stop" during a four week road trip with my parents and older brother. Although muscles would have preferred another "short but sweet" type of stop, traversing the whole Grand Canyon was truly amazing, even if I was walking funny for several days after!
I have been on many successful, and some unsuccessful, outdoor adventures and I believe a key component to a successful adventure relies on good preparation. On paper, this adventure was well planned out, but in hindsight, my body would have appreciated more lunges and squats in my training plan. Although I was in good shape leading into this hike, my body struggled a bit with the 4+ hours of straight downhill followed by 4+ hours of straight uphill. Even if my quad and glutes had more training, it still would have been hard! In addition to being in the right type of physical shape, having the right type of gear is also essential. And, I believe that if if you look good, you feel good too!
Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes
Lululemon crew socks + an extra pair
New Balance running shorts
Under Armor Heat Gear T
Gap lightweight synthetic long sleeve T
Salomon running hydration vest (1.5L bladder + small bottle of electrolytes; water refilled 2x on the trail)
Small first aid kit + 50 SPF sunscreen
PYW logo hat
Garmin Fenix watch
Nutrition: Water, Nuun, PB&J, ClifBars, Snickers, peanut M&Ms, jelly beans, cheese sticks
My original packing list also included a headlamp but our later than expected morning departure meant I didn't have to bring it along. To take it's place, at the last second I brought an extra pair of socks just in case I developed any blisters on my sensitive feet. Luckily, I did not experience any blisters or hot spots, but I did make use of the second pair of socks after a quick dip in the stream mid-hike. An extra pair of socks is forever going to be on my list of "must haves" for any hike from now on!
Our morning started slightly off-plan due to our later than expected start time. We had pulled into our camp spot at Demotte Campground, about 30 mins from the North Rim trailhead, later than expected the night before which trickled into the later start the next morning. Luckily, it didn't seem to effect our trip AND we saved ourselves to nuisance of carrying a headlamp for 24 miles. Our road trip crew consisted of five people - three hikers and two spouses. As the hikers moseyed down the trail, the two spouses packed up the RV and started the 4 hour drive from the north rim to the south rim. Without this convivence, I would have been more resistant to tackling the Rim2Rim trek. It is certainly doable with careful shuttle planning, but the ease of getting dropped off and then having all the things (shower, food, Gatorade, and a camp chair) immediately at the end of the hike was essential for my physical and mental well-being.