Grand Canyon R2R2R #6

I went down to Grand Canyon this last weekend, Saturday April 2nd, for my sixth Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim. This was sort of hastily planned and ended up being a solo trip. Unfortunately, I remembered everything except for a camera. This ended up being a bummer because the conditions were significantly different from previous trips being early in the season and such a high snowfall year. Instead, I’ve included a few photos from some previous trips and will describe some differences.

This was first time I actually began the run in the light. I knew I’d have around 13 hours of light and didn’t see taking more than 12 hours. At least this is what I rationalized when I said F/U to the 3:45 alarm I had set and snoozed it for another hour. This ended up being wonderful and was able to enjoy the beauty of the Canyon right from the start.

I reached the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch in just over an hour. Heading out I noticed how strongly Bright Angel Creek was flowing. Normally, creek is a pretty accurate description for it; however, being a warm early Spring day the flow was off the hook.

As an example, below is a picture of place where we cross the creek taken from last November. This time I waded knee-deep upriver about 15 feet from where I was sitting in this picture. The rock I was sitting on in this picture was well below the torrent.

At this location water was cascading down and I got drenched from the downpour each direction. Luckily it was warm because ice here would have been a show stopper.

Speaking of show stoppers, I had quite a surprise when I reached the ranger house about half way up the North Rim. I didn’t even bother checking conditions because I knew water would be off at the top where snow was still almost 3 feet deep.

What I didn’t even consider was the possibility of water being off at the ranger house. I sat there for a good long while considering turning around but really didn’t want to. In the end, I decided to just take water out of the creek. I wasn’t too worried about any critters, but all the same I really didn’t want to drink any more than I had to. As a consequence, I was pretty dehydrated when I got back to Phantom Ranch and sat there for a good while and pounded almost 60 ounces of water like I was in a chugging contest.

I felt refreshed and pretty strong heading back up South Kaibab Trail. I ran significantly more of this stretch than I had before. I think feeling so good helped me enjoy the experience more. Instead of being completely trashed and being fixated on getting the hell out of the damn hole, I just lost myself in the Canyon’s majesty and beauty.

Before this trip I was wondering if I’d be bored with the Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim. In fact, the opposite ended up being the case. I sort of wish I didn’t have another race in a few weeks so I could go back. The amazing trail, challenge, and scenery was just what I needed.

Above all, there is something that sets Grand Canyon apart from any other race or adventure I’ve done. For me, the scale of the upper canyon and  ancient rock in the inner gorge acts like a sink that drains away malaise and frustration which I had in abundance before this trip.  One can’t help but feel pretty insignificant in Grand Canyon and even the heaviest weight seem rather petty afterwards.