Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim April 18th

"To stand upon the edge of this stupendous gorge, as it receives its earliest greeting from the god of day, is to enjoy in a moment, compensation for long years of ordinary, uneventful life."Stoddard, John 1898

Here are few photos from a crazy trip to the Grand Canyon on April 18, 2010. We had come to do a “Double Crossing” a Rim to Rim to Rim run. Starting on the South Rim at the South Kaibab trailhead (elevation 7200’) down 7 miles to Phantom Ranch on the banks the Colorado river (elevation 2400’) then 14.2 miles up Bright Angel Canyon on the North Kaibab trail to the North Rim (elevation 8250’) and then turn right around and come back. As a reference it is 10 miles as the crow flies from the South Rim to the North Rim Trail Head.

This is somewhere everyone should go. It is breathtaking and awe inspiring. The size of it all is indescribable. The photos show a little sampling of how the day went.

Here is a little overview of the scope. The yellow line is a poor representation of the trail, there are about a 100 more switchbacks than are shown.

We started at 3:45 am.

Here we are lights a blazing, Troy (me) Kent, Larry, and Dorrel (just getting in the picture as the timer goes off, that is really is best side, honest.)

Headed up it is starting to get light, the North Rim far off in the distance.

River crossing! Time to get wet or go around.

Cottonwood Camp, just before the sun really starts to come out. Water stop, I fill my bottles and see a few other trail runners headed up.

Alternate forms of transportation. Tempting I tell ya very tempting. But I am having too much fun running this.

At the Caretakers Cabin, get a little water, play a little hoops. Crosstraining. Last chance for water on the way up, fill the bottles and the tank.

Looking back towards Roaring springs.

Going up, you can see the North Rim up high. But where is the trail? It is there, just can't tell it is a trail.

A nice little bridge to cross.

Looking back down from where I came. The trail meanders all over.

Many places along the way to get a refreshing shower to escape the heat. Right on the trail.

Another little waterfall crossing the trail.

All the sudden, SNOW, and not just a little, man it feels nice. I am about 1.5 miles from the rim and most all of it is snow covered. A little post hole here and there. But overall firm footing.

Coconino Viewpoint, not too far from the top, still lots of snow at this elevation. Pretty view.

Made it to the trailhead at the North Rim, where there is just a little bit a snow. 21.5 miles down, 21.5 miles to go. Still smiling.

Supai Tunnel, if you can't go over it or around it, go through it.

This is a spooky section of trail coming back down the North Rim. Going up, I needed someone to hold my hand (and no one was around) if you are afraid of heights this section will get your attention. Coming up I was caught a little off guard and wow the drop off is amazing. The trail is cut right into the cliff face.

My ride finally arrives! Not really they were doing some work on the pipeline and they were hauling equipment up and down the canyon.

Headed back into "the Box" a really cool tight little canyon along Bright Angel Creek. I am now seeing areas that I covered in the dark hours earlier.

A little bit of heaven (shade) as I head into Phantom Ranch.

Here I am at Phantom Ranch for a little pit stop, the Cantina has lemonade and limited food, so I got me a Snickers bar and 2 lemonades to go. 35 miles done and I am feeling okay, it is hot, 90 degrees. So I drink up and hit the trail. Time to cross the river I crossed in the dark.

Here is one of two ways to get across the Colorado. The Black Bridge. It is a really cool suspension bridge. I couldn't even begin to get it to sway, I tried, my 210lbs was not enough.

Making my way across, the planks in the middle are for the Mule teams to walk on, they tear the wood up, it is concave and that isn't dirt is wood that has been scraped out by the horseshoes, or mule shoes. Either way it is there for them and not me.

Step inside the real fun is about to begin. It is all up from here. 5000' of it.

The views are spectacular going up the South Kaibab trail.

A little piece of the South Kaibab Trail going up.

Made it! Here I am with my new friend Adam from Colorado, we played cat and mouse all day to the top of the North Rim. Then we pushed each other up to the top of the South rim and our goal of the South Kaibab trailhead. You can see from the salt stains in my shirt it was a hot day and a long pull up that hill.

An excerpt from the sign in the background, posted at the trailhead. Rim to River and back is a very tough 14 miles. Obviously we weren't too worried about sickness or death.

The Park service does everything they can do discourage what we did. They will not provide info as to conditions or if water is or is not available. This is all to avoid risk or liability which now a days is a huge concern. Although I find it terribly ironic that at the cantina they sell rim to rim t-shirts (yes I bought one I earned it, twice) showing mileage and highlights. Concessions rule.

It is my opinion that if you are going to the North Rim and back there is less chance of illness or death. Because you are already out of your mind to think that you, could, should or would want to do such a thing. It was a great experience. I hope to be able to do it again. It was very tough and amazing. I am not fond of heights and it is the perfect place to tackle that fear head on.

South Rim to North Rim to South Rim is 43 miles, Adam and I got done in about 14 hours. 3:45am - 5:45pm.

Here we have Larry and Dorrel, they both got 22 miles in and are all cleaned up and happy to see me alive.

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