Friday, July 9, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ Reflections, Arizona

The picture above is us toasting our Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike at the El Tovar Restaurant ~ notice the writing on the shirts! :-)

As we talked about the backpacking trip, we came to a lot of conclusions. First, we were a bit surprised that we really felt fine. Yes, we were hot and tired sometimes during the hike, but when we were done and a few hours had passed, we were far from as sore as we thoughts we’d be ~ we’ve both been stiffer and sorer from a day hike or two. We truly believe it was a combination of eating the right foods (salty), drinking enough water and adding electrolytes to some bottles, wetting our shirts and bandanas at every opportunity - thus staying cool, using the hiking poles, and incorporating the rest-step in our ascent.

People have asked us if we “trained” for the hike. Yes, to a degree – we’re both in pretty good shape and have hiked a lot (but not recently), but we did want to get used to hiking with so much weight on our backs, so we loaded up our backpacks with weight, put on our hiking boots, went to the gym, put the treadmill at 15% (the last 1 ½ miles up-and-out is a 14.5% incline) and walked. We didn’t do it as often as we planned, and got a few questioning looks at the gym, but we think it did help to some extent – heck, doubt it hurt!

We also talked about the instant camaraderie we felt with other rim-to-rim’ers ~ we kept running into people we met on the shuttle ride, or we all happened upon the same drinking water/restroom area at the same time, and there was an instant solidarity and companionship. As we were on the last leg of the hike, a man who had done rim-to-rim many times (including rim-to-rim-to-rim, river-to-river-to-rim, etc… all in less than a day) hiked alongside of us and kept us company, chatting, and congratulating us on the hike, even though he’d done far more and far more strenuous hikes than our 3-day’er. It made us feel like we were part of something special. In fact, once we were at the south rim, we realized how hungry we were and went directly to the Bright Angel Dining room for lunch – backpacks and all. The sign said, “shirts and shoes required.” Well, we were wearing shirts & shoes – okay, so we were dirty, stinky, sweaty, wet, and gross looking, but they sat us (in the front, nonetheless) and while we were there, people who saw us hiking the last bit came up and congratulated us – it was then that we realized that this was more than a simple hike – it really was an accomplishment. :-)

1 comment:

Jerry and Suzy said...

Congratulations, you two! A real major accompishment to one day tell your great grandchildren about!

Just don't tell us old great grandparents about it again, 'cause we're already exhausted just thinking about it!

Follow us by Email

Blog Archive