HIKING DISTANCE: 16 Miles
VERTICAL: +4,380′ / -4,780′
TIME: 5 Hours 20 Minutes
I hopped on the earliest shuttle I could from the Village to the South Kaibab trailhead. With 16 miles ahead of me and over 9,000 feet of vertical. I hit the Colorado after just two hours and decided that I could finish in under five. Close, but not quite. When I first set out, I didn’t have a goal in mind. I just wanted to make it. To think- I was concerned that the experience would be so challenging that I wouldn’t even get to enjoy it. Quite the contrary; I was having the time of my life. My adrenaline was pumping. Runner’s high. Here I was, hiking the Grand Canyon for the second time in four days.
I was on pace to reach my 5-hour goal until I was about two miles short of the rim. That’s when I bonked, hard. I’d only had about a liter of water and hadn’t eaten anything all morning. I knew it would catch up to me, but I hadn’t expected it to come on so suddenly. I’ve never bonked before. It was like one switchback, I’ve got Hermes wings on my boots, then the next, my feet are encased in concrete. I was at a snail’s pace already, then I had to stop completely for 10-15 minutes. I was still a mile and a half from the top and only had 20 minutes left to make my goal. I figured it was a lost cause at that point. I slowed my pace, upped my water intake, and put down a bag of trail mix.
I topped out after 5 hours 20 minutes, which is about a 3 mi/hr pace. Not too shabby, all considered. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, actually, even given that I didn’t reach my goal. I’m totally spent, and totally stoked. Good day.