Seven days. 50+ miles hiked. 40 extra pounds strapped to my back. Minus two toenails. But I made it. I succeeded. I pushed the limit of what I thought I could do, and I exceeded it. And that feels really good.
The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim hike was incredible. I’ve never seen terrain, layers of rock, and vastness quite like the Grand Canyon. It was difficult for my mind to comprehend the 1.7 billion years of geological history that laid in front of my eyes. 1.7 billion years! I am so glad I did this trip, and I appreciate all the wonderful things I got to experience and see. It is truly a once in a lifetime trip. But I’m ok if it’s just once in this lifetime. The R2R2R hike is definitely not for the faint of heart. Day 3 for example included 13 miles hiked and 4,000 feet in elevation gain to get to the North Rim.
Day 1: Descend South Kaibab trail to camp at Bright Angel/ Phantom Ranch
Day 2: Hike North Kaibab trail to camp at Cottonwood
Day 3: Continue on North Kaibab to camp at the North Rim & hike out to Bright Angel Lookout
Day 4: Hike down the North Rim back to Cottonwood
Day 5: Hike from Cottonwood back to Bright Angel Campground & hike around the river trail
Day 6: Hike Bright Angel trail to Indian Gardens & hike out to Plateau Point
Day 7: Continue on Bright Angel trail to South Rim
There were moments of frustration and despair during the hike. My poor feet and calves can attest to that. I concluded early on that I have skinny girl legs, and they are not built to carry an extra 40 pounds. Luckily by the end it was closer to 34 pounds and that felt manageable. At times I risked toppling over as I wobbled on injured feet trying to balance on one rock to the next crossing streams, overburdened by my pack. Occasionally I wanted to punch a perky day hiker making lighthearted banter like “Smile. It can’t be that bad.” Bitch, yes it is. The Coconino switchbacks are killer going up. When I finally reached the top I felt such a sense of accomplishment…and relief.
Highlights of the trip include: Lunch at Ribbon Falls, being the only campers on the North Rim, sunset dinner at Plateau Point, bathing in a creek (it’s an experience), being completely disconnected for six days (and having no work emails to return to!), and of course finishing the hike (because it didn’t always feel like I’d be able to).
Pictures can’t do it justice, but here’s my best attempt. On to Zion (and then the podiatrist)!