Day -5 Phoenix/Grand Canyon R2R2R

Take a hike eh? A typically Canadian way of saying “Get Lost!”

Every year, my running friend from Houston, Alan Tillotson, organizes an amazing hike for a groups of friends. One year they’re off to Zion Park in Utah and another they are off to the Appalachian Trail. This year, it’s the Grand Canyon.

So, of course, I signed on for the trek.

September 12-16 – the Grand Canyon – Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R). From the South Rim (leaving at 4am) to the North Rim on Tuesday Sept 13th and from the North Rim to the South rim on Sept 15th.

Wednesday is a recovery day and Monday/Friday are travel days to/from Phoenix. The logistics are all arranged and I am just along to the ride (not normal for me but I am going to roll with it…)

I am not a hiker. I run. I sometimes run marathons but I haven’t hiked as a recreational sport. That said, I have hiked:

* The Trek to the Lost City in Colombia, and

* The Inca Trail in Peru, and

* Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala so I am not totally a newbie.

Here’s some stats on the Grand Canyon R2R2R.

• South Kaibab Trail 21 miles, 4,500 feet down and then 5,500 feet up to the North Rim.

• North Kaibab trail to South Rim 24.2 Miles.

Somehow we gained 3.2 miles but who is counting. In Mid September, the temperature will be in the high 90’s although today (Sept 3) they have an extreme heat warning with a temperature of 115 at the Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the canyon.

Needless to say, preparation is key. The climb, the distance and the heat can all take a toll. If you can’t make it up the trail, there are donkeys for rose under 190lbs, for the rest – a pricey helicopter jaunt so you need to be prepared.

Alan sent a schedule and cautioned me “Just because you can run a marathon, don’t think that you are ready. His training schedule called for long hikes, hill repeats and stair climbing.

While not necessarily faithful to the schedule, I have been hiking and climbing stairs with a backpack with 40lbs of books. I have been hiking hills, running and cycling in the heat. I have also been hanging out in saunas and hot yoga studios to prepare for the heat.

I am ready (I think) for the trek. The Air Canada ticket is booked. The Hostel (for a few days before and after the trip) is set and I am test packing to make sure I don’t forget things and to take the minimum I need to pack in and out of the canyon.

Water is an issue as the canyons water purification is offline and I will need to carry all my water (4 liters) plus a filter and purifying tablets.

Preparation is the key.

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