Monday, June 11, 2007

The Long Walk

Well, I finally did it: last weekend I hiked the Grand Canyon! "The Phoenix" and I stayed in a hotel a few miles from the South Rim and then awoke early the next morning to start our hike. We hiked down South Kaibab Trail, crossed the Colorado River, and hiked out along the Bright Angel Trail. We had been talking about doing this for over a year now, and this hike is the reason I had been pushing myself to run further and further.

We went all the way down and back up in one day, which is highly discouraged by the park service. Despite all of our planning and preparation, we still ended up exhausted and overheated. We hiked from 7:30 am until 9 pm, with the last mile up being in the dark. For the next two days, my legs were so sore that I was hobbling about. Fortunately, neither of us ended up seriously injured, but I don't think that I would attempt a one-day hike again.

This is the start of the South Kaibab Trail:




South Kaibab Trail is very steep and without water, but fortunately a good portion of it was in the shade at the start.




Finally, we reached the river:


This is my proof that I went all the way:


This is near Bright Angel Campground, where we stopped to take advantage of the water supply, working toilet (!), and grab a quick lunch:


Desert squirrels are a little more scruffy looking than the beasts back home:


Taken along the Bright Angel Trail on the way up:



A small group of deer crossed our path. I guess we must not have looked very threatening by that point.


Final shots during sunset:


Although I was concerned about hiking in the heat of the day, there wasn't much we could do about it besides taking frequent short breaks. I couldn't really get heat conditioned either as it was simply too cool outside back home. What I didn't account for was hiking though that big of an elevation change. We were so exhausted by the end that breathing was labored, and we had to stop every hundred yards or so to catch our breaths.

It took us 4.5 hours to get to the bottom, where we rested for 30 minutes before our 8.5 hour hike out. The hike down was about 6 miles, with a mile crossing at the river, and a more gradual 9 mile hike out. We definitely underestimated the hike though, as it was way above our fitness level. Believe it or not, on the way up, there were actually a small group of men running up the canyon!

Best of all, "The Phoenix" and I are still friends and on speaking terms after this adventure.

3 comments:

The Phoenix said...

Great pictures!! Now I feel bad that I got onto you about wasting time taking pictures.

You should tell about the life we saved on our journey and how the park ranger thought we were suicidal.


Your Best Friend(or at least the only one crazy enough to hike the Grand Canyon with you)

The Phoenix

P.S. I got introduced as Doctor for the first time today in front of a bunch of nurses that just sneered at me. This is going to be great fun!!!!

~~Silk said...

Congratulations.

It may be a good thing you didn't mention your plans here before going. We'd probably have attemped to discourage you. They have mules, you know....

No snakes???

Chris said...

You make me feel like a total wuss. I got exhausted and dehydrated working as a volunteer at the bbq contest from 8am Friday until 4pm Saturday with one 3 hour nap.

That is a very impressive feet (misspelling on purpose in honor of your poor feet), Kate and Phoenix. You guys rock!

The pictures were simply amazing.

Ok, enough brown nosing, although you guys do kick ass.