It’s been a rough year health-wise, with various injuries hampering all running and most hiking. So after 2-3 months of couch surfing and sloth, we spontaneously decided to drive to Arizona and hike 42 miles back-and-forth across the Grand Canyon (the famed R2R2R). No, it didn’t even make sense at the time. But when has that stopped us? This is little more than a quick summary of the hike, largely to remind myself how miserable it (I) was so I don’t keep doing these idiotic things…
After the decision to go at around 10:30 am on Tuesday, we ended up at the South Kaibab pullout (across and east of the drive out to Yaki Point) around 8:30 pm. We were sacked out in the back of the car for some Zs by 9:30 and woken up by the park police at 11:00. If you ever want to know what it’s like to live directly on the face of the sun, just stand in front of a police truck in the middle of the night. So many lights. Apparently, we weren’t allowed to camp in the car (anymore) after problems they had with garbage left at the site. But he took pity on us and let us sleep until 2 or 3. Guess we didn’t look dangerous or littery.
We walked groggily to the trailhead and got started at exactly 3:40 am. It was chilly, in the low 40s maybe, but felt fine (and we knew it would heat up quickly on the descent). The moon was a brilliant white orb that lit up the canyon, and there was no ice or snow on the trail. Ideal conditions. Let the suckfest begin!
Down the South Kaibab / 3:40 to 6:00 (2:20)
Slow and steady, but still managed to fall over myself several times. Bled a little. Twisted my ankle. No idea what was up with all that; maybe more tired than I thought. It was probably our slowest descent ever, taking a full 2:30 to get to Phantom Ranch. But at least my hamstring tendons felt fine.
Up the North Kaibab / 6:15 to 11:55 (5:40 / 8:15)
Another 2:30 to Cottonwood Campground (slow), but no pain. Just long and slow. Water at Manzanita, then the climb began. Felt pretty good until just below Supai Tunnel, then started to crash. Pretty pooped by the Rim; the Coconino part just dragged on, and on. Bleh. Still no pain, but pretty tired. Back seized up while resting in the chill in dappled light.
Down the North Kaibab / 12:15 to 5:10 (4:55 / 13:30)
Everything hurts. Back, knees, stomach, soul. Ironically, tendons are fine. Then water at the Pump House. And now the tendons hurt! Met some people going way too slow to be believed. They may still be there. Hot box. More box. Never ending damn box. Laws of physics broken. Soul crushed. Phantom ranch like tiny little heaven, well, almost.
Up the South Kaibab / 5:30 to 9:55 (4:25 / 18:15)
Quick pull up to Tonto. Kam way too fresh and peppy. My body started to fail just after. Body fine except stomach, which was terrible. Then…things…slowed…down. A lot. Kam didn’t leave my body there, for which I’m grateful. Nearly puked. Hurray. Probably my slowest ascent with Kam aside from that time I nearly died.
Failure to Eat
I just want to say for the record that everything in Tusayan AZ closes at 10 pm, except McDonald’s, and it’s the worst McDonald’s in the world. Don’t eat there. Ever.