GRAND CANYON R2R2R PART DEUX RECAP: DAY 2

If you missed my recap of Day 1 in which I crossed the Grand Canyon from South Rim to North Rim, you can check it out here.

The second day, the plan was to go back down the North Rim but then go back up the South Rim through Bright Angel Trail. I didn’t remember much from the first time doing the second day two years go because I was beat up exhausted, lol! So in a way, there was a lot of newness for me this time, which I liked.

Unlike going down the South Rim, going down the North Rim allows you to actually run if you wanted to. Last time I did this, I hardly ran at all, but this time, I was feeling pretty good and I was with my husband which automatically makes me feel safer and more adventurous. So as soon as our group started, we all bolted and ran down. All the way down. To Phantom Ranch. A little over 13 miles.

There were some not-so-safe sections where we did slow down…like here

#notafraidofheights

Can you see me? #notafraidofheights

and here

Can you see what's around that corner? Yeah, me either.

Can you see what’s around that corner? Yeah, me either.

but really, the majority of the way down, we ran. It was just so freaking awesome running through the Grand Canyon. I mean, not many can say that they ran through the Grand Canyon!! It was exhilaratingly amazing. Surreal.

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I was definitely sore from the day before but I just had an energy that I can’t describe. An energy that compelled me to keep going and run. I felt so strong and I might’ve not been going very fast, but I felt like a total badass.

There wasn’t much photo-taking or eating on the way down. Hardly at all, actually. I made sure to hydrate and we made one pit stop at Manzanita where I had to use the restroom. There, I munched on a snack, but we pretty much went the whole way without a whole lot to eat. We skipped the last stop, Cottonwood, and went the 7+ miles stretch all the way to Phantom Ranch.

You can see our route coming down from the North Rim to Phantom Ranch in this map

You can see our route coming down from the North Rim to Phantom Ranch in this map

We were anxious to get to Phantom Ranch as we knew that once we got there, we’d eat and then begin our climb out. But when we got there, we realized we had to go through security.

Shhh!!! There's a deer over there!

Shhh!!! There’s a deer over there!

There was a beautiful deer blocking the trail to Phantom Ranch!! We waited a bit and then the deer went running off.

We hung out for about 20 minutes or so, not long all, eating some Beef Jerky and drinking some lemonade. We refilled our packs, and headed out! I thought I’d want more rest but really, I was ready to go. I knew the heat awaited us and the later it got, the worse it would be.

From Phantom Ranch, you can go back up through the South Rim Trail (where we started yesterday) or you can go back up through Bright Angel Trail, which is what we had planned to do. I remembered from my last crossing, that we would be exposed to the sun for most of the climb up.

People ask me if going up the North Rim is harder than going up the South Rim (through either trail) and honestly, each is its own beast. Going up the North Rim for me is difficult because you’re talking about going straight up. You’re covered though, as there are a lot of trees lining the way but it doesn’t make that climb any easier.

The South Rim/Bright Angel Trail is difficult because of the sun. So not only are you going up, up, up, you’re doing it with the heat on your back. If I had to choose though, I’d say going up the first day (South and up through North) is harder.

Anyway, we hit Bright Angel Trail and were on our way.

Go up this way! :)

Go up this way! 🙂

Crossing the Colorado

Crossing the Colorado

Like I mentioned earlier, I had forgotten most of the second day since the last time I crossed, and one of the things I completely didn’t remember was the soft sand that made the up climb even harder.

What is this sand you speak of?

What is this sand you speak of?

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It was so weird to see this soft beach sand at the bottom of the Grand Canyon but it made sense since the trail was right with the water. The trail wasn’t sandy the entire way up but you’d see it in parts along the way, even allll the way up.

We took a pit stop along the way to get some of the sand out of our shoes and eat a snack. Then we noticed that the upness we had been doing started to go back down and we met the water again. This was so disheartening because we really thought we beginning our ascent and now it felt like we were starting over.

But onward we went. I kept on telling my husband that Devil’s Corkscrew awaited us–some not so very nice switchbacks–and I waited for them but really, everything started to look the same to me that when we reach a flat landing where we could look down, we had already passed it!

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I was so tired. The heat was beating on me and I felt like I couldn’t drink enough water. I had been taking salt tabs the entire way and I had some sugar candy so I didn’t feel malnutritioned; it was just the accumulation of two tough days of climbing.

Very little pictures were taken going up. It was like last time where I really just wanted a Coke. I was ready to be at the top.

We reached Indian Gardens, finally, which was our last big stop. We filled up our water packs one last time and took a quick look at the map–4.8 miles to go. Hours.

I was losing steam and beginning to feel bummed, but then my husband would say something funny and I would remember how much I loved having him there.

When you get closer to the top, you start to see a lot of tourists who come down a few miles. It got to be very crowded and I wanted a sign that said, “I’ve been climbing for 20 miles!!! Get out of my way!!!” Some groups would take the entire trail and not pull aside for uphill climbers.

We made a turn and then I could finally see the top top and it was a glorious sight. It was a ways away, but I could see it.

Looking back at what we crossed and kinda sorta done with pictures, lol

Looking back at what we crossed and kinda sorta done with pictures, lol

I was renewed with energy at having seen the finish line and I picked up my pace. Finally, after many many miles–over 45 in two days–we were done!

The smile that is the elevation map of a Grand Canyon Crossing :)

The smile that is the elevation map of a Grand Canyon Crossing 🙂

I sat down on a bench and became overwhelmed with emotion. I held my husband’s hand as I let the tears flow. I was so happy. So happy to have shared this amazing experience with him. This would be something we both could have together, forever.

A woman nearby asked if everything was okay and my husband told her we had just finished a double crossing in two days. She begin applauding me and then told the people she was with who begin applauding as well. A mini crowd of people began applauding, and I smiled a “thank you” through my tears. It was such a special moment.

Crossing the Grand Canyon is something life-changing. It really is. You test your body and mind and when you make it to other side, you really feel like you can do anything. It’s hard of course, and yes, the climbs are difficult, the heat makes it worse; there are snakes, insects, animals, along the way–but you push through all of that. You find something within yourself to make it happen. I know that my husband gave me a lot strength, but he didn’t cross for me. I did. Like so many hard things in life, you just do it.

You just do it. 

Thank you all so much for following my crazy adventures. As I’ve said many times, I’m so grateful to have this little corner of the web world to document my journeys. If you have any questions about crossing the Grand Canyon, feel free to shoot me an e-mail and I’ll help as much as I can. Don’t think this is something you can’t do. ❤ , helly

 

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A-Hiking We Will Go!!!! Off to the Grand Canyon!!!!

I’ve been a little MIA from the blog-o-sphere as I’ve been life busy and life has a way of letting you know who’s boss–lest you ever think otherwise…lol!!

But this weekend, I’m off for another adventure. I did the Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim a couple of years ago with my running group and even though it was absolutely amazing, I said I’d never do it again unless my husband decided to do it.

And this year he decided.

It’s fitting that the both times we’ve EVER visited the canyon it’s to cross it both times, lol! And we’re both native Arizonans!

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The photo above depicts the routes we’ll take. The first day will be South to North Rim and then the second day will be North Rim to Bright Angel. Total amounts to around 45 miles.

We don’t plan on running but taking our time as this will be our last visit to the bottom of the Grand Canyon  and we really want to enjoy it. Though a part of me would really like to do this all in ONE day someday (I know, I’m crazy), I’m really just excited to share this adventure with my husband, and if it’s really the last time I do this, I want it to be with him.

So until Friday, it’s all about packing and making sure we have everything we need. I’ll post the amazing details when I return!!

–Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon??

–What “Wonder of the World” is on your list”?? The Pyramids would be really cool. And the Great Wall of China. There’s so many!! 😀

 

 

 

Grand Canyon Here I Come!

My weekend plans include doing a rim to rim to rim crossing of the Grand Canyon.

To say that I’m a little nervous about this is an understatement.

I’ve been doing a ton of trail running the last few months in preparation but I’m not sure you can ever be ready for the Canyon. At least that’s what our group leader keeps telling us and she’s done it 10 times!

The day after we returned from Europe was our mandatory Death March trail run– 18+ miles in the Arizona heat to get us prepared. It’s meant to be the equivalent of the 20 mile marathon training run. You do it because it’s part of your plan.

Well,

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I got in 13.1 miles before jet lag, the heat, and my longing to spend time with my kids took over. I hadn’t seen them the night I got in and didn’t see them when I left the house at 5 the next morning. There was one more loop left, a little over 5 miles, but I just couldn’t and didn’t.

Everyone said I was ready and that the fact I made it out in the first place was admirable. That made me feel better as I really wanted to make sure I was prepared for the intense adventure we would soon embark on.

After the second loop and where I said I was done

After the second loop and where I said I was done

Rim 2 rim 2 rim is another once in a lifetime opportunity and I really can’t believe that it’s going to happen, that I’m one day away from doing something not a lot of people have done or will ever do–44.5 miles and 20,000+ elevation change.

South Kaibab to North Kaibab to Bright Angel

South Kaibab to North Kaibab to Bright Angel

My husband isn’t doing this with me and it makes me a little sad that we won’t be sharing this experience together. But, I’m so thankful of his support and encouragement in all the crazy things I want to do. He loves telling people that his wife is going to cross the canyon or that his wife ran a marathon (or insert distance). What *I* love is hearing him–he says it with such pride that it makes me want to continue doing things that make him proud. And when I’m running and start to feel like I want to give up or slow down, I think about all the confidence he has in me–how he thinks I can do anything–and it keeps me going.

Sorry, I got a little sappy on you. I’ll stop now. 🙂

I’m ready for this new challenge and am so looking forward to coming back and tell you all about it. I’ll be away from the blog but will be posting on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page if you’re interested in following.  Keep on the lookout for a recap next week!

Have an amazing weekend!!!

~helly

–Who is the cheerleader in your fitness journey? Who do you cheer?

–Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? (this will be my first time (because I’m not counting when I was 6 and can’t remember) 🙂 )