• Tag Archives grand canyon
  • Grand Canyon North Rim

    Through a coworker, Lloyd – yet again, we had the chance to go for a quick hike in the Grand Canyon, this time from the north rim.
    Not many people visit the North Rim as its a bit of a drag to get to.
    It took us 9 hours to drive there (vs 5 to get to the South Rim).
    Something like 16 million visit the south, only a few hundred thousand visit the north. Fewer still hike in from the north.

    Just like a lot of mountain ranges, one side gets more rain and so has more vegetation than the other side, so the north rim gets more of everything and so tends to be more woodsy than the south rim.

    The fun part is that its also at 7000 feet, not 4000, so rain tends to be snow.
    When we arrived Thursday afternoon, this is what greeted us;

    Snow. Feet of it!
    And a howling subzero wind just for good measure.
    At this point we three (Lloyd, Terry and myself) seriously considered calling it a bust and going home…. But after talking to the ranger who assured us that the weather in the canyon itself was beautiful, we figured we could survive the first mile or two and go from there.

    Next day, we parked the car in the snow and black ice, shouldered our packs and tried to find the trail.

    Thankfully it was the opening weekend and so the rim to rim (to rim) runners had beaten down the trail and it was very clear where we had to go.
    It was just a matter of watching out for ice. The top of each step was slick. The snow was Okay, but the steps, of which there are many many many of, were really a trap that had to be avoided.

    As hopped, the views were amazing.

    The trees and snow made for some really quiet and peaceful hiking.
    We spread out and just got lost in our own worlds for a good hour or so.
    Very pleasant.

    Before long, snow to turned to mud and slush and then to damp earth and then to the usual dry trail.
    Sure enough, it was a beautiful day for hiking in the canyon.
    Terry in the famous tunnel.

    Lloyd crossing the bridge about half way down.

    Terry and I got to the camp site first.

    Did not take us too long to get a bit settled and the hunger hit.
    So we heated up some freeze dried food and tucked into lunch.
    Unfortunately Terry’s meal sort of exploded and stuck to his hand causing a pretty nasty burn. We had a full first aid kit and so were able to dress it, but it took a little of the shine off his day.

    We went for a walk after lunch, but there was still plenty of down time.
    Terry took his Kindle to read a novel, Lloyd also brought some reading material and I slept.

    Before you know, dinner rolls around and after dinner, desert!
    Terry had cheese cake, but Lloyd and I both had apple cobbler.
    The instructions for ours were rather complicated, and I was not in the mood to mess about, so I just put hot water in mine and called it done, we ended up with this really bad textured apple custard weird hybrid mix…. It looked bad, but tasted pretty good.
    Lloyd was a stickler and so followed the instructions, here is the bit where it has to simmer in a pan with a lid for 10 minutes.

    No star photos, too cold for me to get out of the sleeping bag!

    Next morning, up and out.

    The snow had largely melted and it was another beautiful day.
    8 miles in and 8 miles out. (25ish kms)
    Fun little hike.

  • Running the Grand Canyon

    If you think you are a little bit fit and get it in your head that running the Canyon in a day would be a good idea. Just don’t. Take it from me. Don’t. Do. It.

    Right, with that disclaimer out of the way…..
    Freddy and I headed out there a few days before the run to kick back and spend some time together since I have been away so much due to travel.
    Photos of those few days coming – soon – I hope…..In the meantime, here is one of us at the rim.

    Ok, so we got up at o-dark thirty and got dressed.
    I had looked at the forecast, but still figured it would be cool enough for the leggings. It wasn’t. Ended up pulling them off less than halfway down and carried them the rest of the way… Glad I went with the shorts over the top!

    Considered also taking a flashlight, but eh, it’s just more to carry for the bulk of the trip, so skipped it and just took it easy for the first bit.

    It was soon light enough to see what I was about to step on (or not step on as the cliff edge case might be).

    Turned the major corner and it was blowing a gale. Almost lost my hat and so turned it around for a good while.
    It was still a bit cool at this point, so needed the hat as a bit of a beanie. (The heavy overcast meant that I really didn’t need it and thus ended up carrying it for way too long)

    Things settled down and we are making good progress. Not as fast as I want, but I am keeping an eye on the watch and know that its too easy to go too fast and tap out, so we are watching the heart rate and steps per minute pretty close as I know my numbers I need to keep things even.
    This is my first view of the Colorado River. Im pretty excited.

    Half way and we meet the Tonto trail. I badly want to run this one at some stage as well.

    Also at half way is a long drop dunny and temperature gauge.

    It really was perfect weather for the run.
    The overcast and breaze was perfect.

    Check out the switchbacks we are running!

    You know you are there when you hit the tunnel.

    So, here we are at the bottom.
    1 hour 20 min.

    Bright Angel Creek runs into the Colorado and is always worth a look.

    I even took a moment to enjoy some of the local plant life.

    For the most part I am enjoying going uphill……

    Once I hit mile 14 things took a turn.
    I just ran out of everything. Cold, clammy skin, vomiting and cramps.
    Totally unfun with 3 solid uphill miles to go and tons of tourists to battle my way through…. yuck.

    But we made it.

    Beat up my feet. Again.

    Wanted to do it in 4 hours. Took me 5.
    Disappointed? No. I gave it all I had and left nothing out there.
    I got to know my limits.

    Totally worth it.

  • Rafting through the Grand Canyon

    At very late notice, Lloyd, the guy from work that took me into the Canyon for the very first time all those years back, had to bail his trip of a life time (you have to book 2 years in advance). At such late notice, his fully paid trip was non-refundable, so he asked if I wanted to be him for 8 days.

    There is zero signal of pretty much every kind at water level of the Colorado River, so I will be out of the loop for about 8-9 days.

    This page here is the best description of the mob I am going with and about the trip, if you only look at one thing, flick through this page;

    This page has a lot of the nitty-gritty about the trip prep and stuff;

    I have a few blog posts on auto pilot, so you will not miss me at all.