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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grand Canyon: Rim to Rim


From October 30, 2009

On Friday, I ran (mostly) from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Because I'm not really a runner (the collar of my team bike jersey says, "Running is for Criminals"), it felt like a long way and now my feet hurt. But it was worth it and was a great adventure -- definitely something I'll remember for a long time.

We left the Wasatch front on Thursday night, drove to Panguitch, had dinner at the Cowboy Smokehouse (great restaurant!), proceeded to Kanab, then to Jacob's Lake. We got to Jacob's Lake Lodge about 1 am in the morning and slept for a few hours. 4 guys, 2 beds -- I can handle it. We got up at 5:30 am and drove 1 hr to the North Rim. When we got to the trailhead, it was 7 degrees.


From October 30, 2009

For whatever reason, I've never been to the Grand Canyon. I guess I've kind of thought that it was too touristy or too mainstream. I've been missing out. I was pretty much stunned as we descended the North Rim. "Grand" barely describes the the landscape and strata laid out before and under us.


From October 30, 2009

The trail from the North Rim descends from a little over 8000 feet to a little over 2000 feet. The first 3 or 4 miles are quite steep, so we fast walked this portion.


From October 30, 2009

I would stop and take pictures, then run and catch up with the group. In the photo below, you can see the group descending on the trail just as the sun began to hit the cliffs. Magical.


From October 30, 2009

After Cottonwood Campground, we ran. We ran through the "Box," a narrow canyon section that follows Bright Angel creek, which eventually empties into the Colorado River.


From October 30, 2009

Bob, stretching out after running through the Box.


From October 30, 2009

Barry and Bradley running out of the Box.


From October 30, 2009

By the time we hit the Canyon floor, the temperature had risen significantly. People were perspiring. And I could smell some major BO. As I was running through the Box, I was thinking, man, someone stinks. I haven't smelled that smell since Day 4 of the Pierra Menta -- after everyone had been wearing the same skinsuits for 4 days. It was strong. When we hit the Colorado River, I paused on the bridge to take it all in.


From October 30, 2009

As I was standing on the bridge -- all by myself -- I was surprised to smell the BO again. And it got me thinking: I am the only one on the bridge, I smell BO, it's definitely BO . . . wait, could it be me? I smelled my shirt. Gag. It was me! But it couldn't be me I thought. I know what I smell like. I've been smelling myself for 35 years. So I smelled my left armpit. Gag again. It was me! But no, it couldn't be.

So, there I stood on the middle of the bridge over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon smelling one armpit and then the other. Frantically. What was going on? What did I eat? How could be happening? And then I figured it out. Last week, in preparation for this run, I bought a fancy running hydration pack at the REI garage sale. I made a point to choose the cleanest looking, least-used pack, and the one that I settled on was a woman's model. It fit, so I bought it. I should have sniffed it.

It turned out that as my perspiration soaked into the pack, it was bringing to life some rank BO spores or some wild-living-bad-smelling thing. Not only had my shirt been contaminated. My body seemed like it was emanating that bad BO. Gross. I was wearing a pack that belonged to a woman with really really bad BO. And now the BO was on me. Here I am, wearing the BO pack, comtemplating jumping in to the Colorado to cleanse myself. Oh, and the shirt also happens to be a Smartwool woman's model as well.


From October 30, 2009

Once you hit the Colorado River, the trail starts heading up again. There are two options to the South Rim, the South Kaibab and the Bright Angel trail, which we chose. We thought this sign was amusing, but a little misplaced since it is at the bottom of the Canyon.

From October 30, 2009

Before heading up, I scrubbed my pack and washed my shirt in a stream. I didn't put my shirt back on, and instead ran topless from the bottom of the Canyon to the top of the South Rim. Here's a shot with 4 really steep miles to go. South Rim is on the top.

From October 30, 2009

Unfortunately, because I was out of breath and because my camera got a bit wet during the BO cleanse, I didn't get many pictures of the south side. And I have to admit that I was unable to run 100 percent of the last 7 miles. I ran the first 5 miles, but as I gained altitude and as fatigue set in, I couldn't keep the legs going. The last 2 miles I would run a few hundred yards, then walk, then do the same again. By the time I hit the South Rim, my legs, particularly my feet and ankles were pretty well spent. The full trip was about 25 miles. As I sat at the top of the South Rim waiting for my compadres, I thought of the crazies who do a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. That would really hurt.

The reward for crossing the Grand Canyon was a 4 seat Piper Arrow waiting for us on the South Rim. While Rim to Rim by foot is less than 30 miles, Rim to Rim by car is 225 miles. Stan, the orchestrator of the trip, arranged for a plane to fly us back from the South Rim to Provo.

From October 30, 2009

Bye Grand Canyon. I'll be back.

Anyone want a pack?

2 comments:

Luke said...

Jared, That sounds like a ridiculously awesome trip, I have been wanting to run the r2r2r really bad all year, and this just fueled the fire. Awesome pics too!

Piton said...

Nice!

I did the Rim to Rim to Rim about 6 years ago with a seasoned ultra-runner. I wanted to shoot myself in the head on the last 3 miles to the south rim. Fun, only in retrospect.