This is the first of several posts detailing my hiking into and out of the Grand Canyon in one day, and what a day it was, May 9th, 2016.
The genesis of this crazy idea began, appropriately enough, on the internet. I was looking around on YouTube for hiking videos for the Camino De Santiago in Spain. Which I was hoping to hike the first half of in 2016 and still do. In the process of doing that I stumbled across videos of people hiking the Grand Canyon.
Wow – I hadn’t even considered that before. Yet here they were hiking from the South Rim to the North Rim in one day and then back the next! Even more intriguing were the videos showing hiking down the South Kaibab Trail and then up Bright Angel Trail.
I was interested and did some more research. I found out its about 7 1/2 miles on South Kaibab and 9 1/2 miles up on Bright Angel. Kaibab is steeper than Bright Angel, but there are water stations and rest areas on Bright Angel. I watched more videos, looked at a lot of pictures, and thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was planning on getting into.
In the course of all that I learned that the Park services strongly discourages people from trying to go down and up in one day. Hence this sign that can be seen, strangely enough pretty far down in the canyon when it’s kinda too late to sound the alarm.
So I knew this was officially a bad idea, I had more than a few people I know tell me it was a bad idea. So naturally and with my customary humility I decided to do it anyway! It was a decision I was to viscerally regret and appreciate later.
So I reserved a room for two nights in Williams which is an hour south of the park. I drove up on Sunday afternoon accompanied by wind, rain and winter storm warnings on I40 – in May no less!
I slept poorly that night. I was excited and had some stomach issues. Up at 4 AM I still wasn’t feeling good and didn’t eat much. I packed up and headed north in the dark towards the Canyon.
I got there and managed to find the right parking lot (or so I thought) and while waiting for the shuttle that would take me to the trail head for South Kaibab had a real attack of what my Father used to call the “Grumbly Gut Wiz (I’ll leave you to figure that one out yourself!). Thankfully I found a place to relieve myself and the shuttle finally arrived.
Finally at around 6:35 A.M. I stepped over the rim and into the most physically extreme 12 hours of my entire life so far. More in Part Two.