Sep 30, 2009

Steve's Bucket List: Grand Canyon R2R2R

This is part of a series of posts where I discuss items on my "bucket list." the introduction to the series is here.

Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim: Start at the southern rim of the grand canyon & run to the opposite side. Then turn around and run back.

47 miles, 11K feet of climbing, wide temperature variations, limited water sources, and difficult rescue.
Rim-to-rim hikes or even day hikes from rim to river and back are strongly discouraged by the National Park Service. Rescues are frequent. People overestimate their abilities and underestimate how strenuous such an adventure can be. Another key factor is the hot temperature of the canyon. Temperatures in the lower canyon are typically more than 20 degrees hotter than the rim. Many hikers end up suffering from heat exhaustion. - Davy Crockett
No, it's not something I'd take lightly, and so I probably will not attempt it until I'm a much more experienced ultrarunner - that is, I'd hopefully have a couple of 100s under my belt before attempting this. This can't be an effort where the objective is to "prove I can do it." Rather, the goal would have to finish it comfortably, which means starting it well-trained, fit and confident.

I've never been to the Grand Canyon, and I'm sure just being there is going to be an awesome experience. But, as those of you who know me can attest to, "just being there" is rarely a satisfying end for me in any place worth visiting, and I have to make a challenge out of it - a part of me believes that I can't attain a meaningful experience from the tourist's viewing platforms, rather I need to be "in" it - go down into the wilder parts of it and go ahead and let it challenge me, and possibly spank me. It's for this reason I want to return to Yellowstone. It was totally cool to see the volcanic activity, but the whole time I was there I wish I could have strapped on my running shoes and gotten out on those trails. So with the Grand Canyon, I'd like to stand on the rim and marvel with the crowds at the giant hole in the ground, but if that's all I did, I'd feel like I wasted a trip. Much better to go down in that hole, see what's down there, and see how it can challenge me.

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