Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ Hiking Tips, Grand Canyon, Arizona

We did a lot of research before our Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike, and have compiled this list of tips, so that you may have as good of an experience as us:

1. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and light colored clothes. Yes, this may seem obvious, but we saw a lot of people in black/dark blue shirts – huh?! Light clothes in the sun – duh! :-) The wide-brimmed hat also helped keep us cool, as it kept the sun not only off our faces, but neck and shoulders as well.

2. Wet your shirt at every opportunity. Whenever we were near a stream or drinking water source, we took off ours shirts, wet them completely, and put them back on. They were only cold for about 30 seconds, but as a breeze came by, or even if not, we were cooler hiking than without a wet shirt.

3. Bring a bandana, keep it wet, and keep your neck cool. It was interesting how much cooler we felt when our necks were cool.

4. Hike uphill using a “rest step”. This was the best tip. The rest step is similar to the wedding march – you walk slowly and purposefully – yet your legs do not tire as much. Normally when we walk – uphill or not – we keep our legs bent a bit at the knee. The rest step differs in this regard – as you walk uphill, taking shorter strides than normal (you’ll get used to this), straighten you leg at the knee joint, thus taking some pressure/work off the muscles for a split second. As the first leg straightens, the other leg goes forward, straightens, and repeat. The premise is that it gives your large leg muscles a moments rest, thus keeping them fresher longer, as well as reduce the amount of oxygen needed in the legs, thus keeping oxygen moving to other parts of your body – such as the lungs and brain. Try it – you’ll see what we mean.

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