Well I did it. I hiked the toughest trail on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Grand View Trail) and survived. Hope I didn’t have any of you worried with my delay in posting this blog entry. It took me some time to get the photos in order.
Was it as tough as I had expected? Not really. That’s not to say it was easy, but the trail description had me thinking only the fittest survive the treacherous trail. Why I would pick a path of such impending doom from the start, I can’t tell ya, but at least it wasn’t all that.
What it was was unmaintained, steep, narrow with cliffside drops next to the path, covered in loose rocks and hot (at least on the way back up). Sounds sort of unpleasant when I put it that way, but it was actually stunning. I’d love to do it again, only go all the way to the basin and camp for a few days there before climbing back out.
We woke up the morning of the hike at 3 a.m. — just enough time to get ready, grab a bite to eat and meet in the lobby of the hotel by 3:45 a.m. for a gear check before boarding the 4:15 a.m. bus. I was one of the lucky few in the first group of hikers. The departures were scattered every 30 minutes until 6:45 a.m. Because of the length and strenuous nature of my trail choice only 3 groups hiked it on Saturday.
And I really was lucky to be in that first group of hikers – because I got to see the sunrise over the canyon at the start of our hike. It was spectacular.
The early morning was slightly cool (in the 40s) but it quickly warmed up with the rising sun. It probably got into the low 90s as we hiked back out of the canyon. The good news on that climb was as we headed up in elevation, the temperatures dropped slightly.
As the day progressed the canyon changed colors and hues. It started a muted gray/brown, becoming a much more vibrant red and then a misty greenish color. The sheer massive size of the canyon was hard to comprehend even as we climbed in and out of it.
We saw spring wildflowers along the path, somehow thriving in the rocky and desolate looking earth. And the occasional lizard. We didn’t see any coyotes, but we did see their droppings on the trail.
For more about the hike and the whole weekend, check out my photo gallery – the captions and pictures say it all.
Total hike time: 8.5 hours.
Water I drank on the trail: About 120 fluid ounces.
Food I ate on the trail: Granola bar, trail mix, grilled veggie sandwich, pretzels and dried dragonfruit.
Times I fell on the loose gravel: Once (It was a sympathy stumble – Tracey fell in front of me, then in trying to get up slipped again landing right back on her bottom. After she finally got up, I took one step forward and fell in the exact same spot.)
Funniest moment on the trail: The 3rd hike group coming into the canyon from Georgia recognized their fellow teammates in our group farther down the way and mooned us from the cliffside path.
Most touching moment of the weekend: Our Inspiration Dinner when my mentor, Lois, spoke on behalf of all the honorees (fellow participants who are battling blood cancers). The drug she is currently taking for her leukemia would not exist without the research money from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Money I raised for LLS: More than $4,000 and counting (you can still donate until mid-June)
Money raised so far by this season’s Hike for Discovery events: More than $4.3 million