Escape Day 3- Devil’s Bridge

Friday was our last full day in Arizona and as amazing as the Canyon is, we wanted to see some other sights as well. We were up early and headed off for Sedona.

Sedona feels like a completely different world from the Grand Canyon. There’s just something about it. We were both super sore from the previous 2 days so we knew we weren’t up for something intense. So after a stop at the local Golden, errr Teal, Arches, my mother says- hey I found a trail. It’s called Devil’s Bridge and it’s only a 1.8 mile round trip hike. Ok, sounds pretty chill.

The trail head was crowded so we had to park on the street just as many others were doing. That should have been the first sign. Since it was a short hike, I didn’t feel like taking my pack and almost didn’t take water. I grabbed a bottle at the last moment and shoved it in my handheld.

As we walked into the trail area, the second sign appeared. This one literal- Devil’s Bridge, 2 miles from this point, take water. Hmmm, ok, I knew we parked on the street but it shouldn’t be 1 mile to the trail head??? And it wasn’t. Color me confused.

We picked up the trail and headed out. I was even more confused as there were a lot of cars in the trailhead lot not to mention those that parked on the street- but there was no one on the trail? The only people we saw were a couple of mountain bikers who were headed for a different trail. This continued for almost a mile. Were we lost?? The trail finally dumped us out onto an OHV road with an arrow saying it was the way to Devil’s Bridge. Ok?

Other than the deep sand we were walking in, the trail was fairly easy. But there was no way this was 1.8 miles roundtrip. Then we hit another trailhead. Huh? This one was only accessible by foot or by a high-lifted 4X4. Interesting. Not only were we running into more people, the trail was getting a little more technical. Ok. We kept going.

The views were amazing, so the extra distance wasn’t an issue. I had a Buff so I was keeping it up when people got a little close on the trail. It also helped me hide my facial expression when I overheard a conversation. A woman and man were hiking together and judging by their gear and clothes- they were athletes- runners or cyclists- something. But then I hear the woman say that she doesn’t like how spaced out the stone steps/ dirt was. It just wasn’t working for her stride and she wished it was different. Huh????? Sure, let me call Mother Nature about that right now.

The offenders

The trail became more intense the closer you got to the Devil’s Bridge- like you now needed your hands to climb up rocks and steps to reach higher parts of the trail. Again, the parents letting their children run wild surprised me. There was a lookout point and then one last rocky climb up to the level of Devil’s Bridge– only to discover where all the people were. There was an hour+ line for top of the bridge photo ops! What??

No, I didn’t wait. There were way too many people. I tried to take some arch pics from where I was and then I headed back. Now we had to negotiate those same rock climbs going down- and I ate it on the first one- like I bounced. So much for having a big backside- other hikers told me they heard my tailbone hit rock. Yep, felt that one. Ouch.

Lies

Then we hiked back out following the OHV trail the whole way. Where once again we saw a sign- it too said Devil’s Bridge was 2 miles from that point- but it was still 1/2 mile or so to the other sign that said the same thing. So the true length of the trail is anyone’s guess. My watch showed 4.6 miles roundtrip.

The trail was gorgeous but I was a little broken- so the rest of the day was spent just strolling around downtown Sedona, hitting all the tourist stops. I would love to go back and spend more time on trails, maybe just in better shape.

I just liked this rock formation

Oh and my backside? Bruises that rivaled my dog attack- and it hurt to sit for over a week.

Escape Day 2- Rim Trail

I woke sore and a little tired the morning after Bright Angel. Ok, my calves were screaming a little.

I headed back to the Grand Canyon later in the day, I had some fool idea about taking it chill on the Rim Trail and then watching the sunset at the Grand Canyon. Now, if you’ve ever been to the South Rim or pay attention to anything related to a compass or sunsets/ sunrises you might think this doesn’t make sense. Because it doesn’t. The sun does not set over the Grand Canyon, at least not from this rim. Which I realized I knew but forgot? Told you I needed a vacation.

Back to the trail- the Rim Trail is not a “trail”, it’s a paved path that runs the length of the South Rim. A one way trip on the path from point to point is around 13 miles. Even paved, I didn’t have that in me. I started at Bright Angel and headed East towards the Mather Point.

The path takes you along the Rim and is fairly accessible to everyone. That also means it was more crowded than Bright Angel the day before. My buff was up over my face most of the time. That didn’t detract from the views at all. Again, I think I took a few hundred pictures.

The path took us through The Trail of Time too, a exhibit about how the Grand Canyon formed over millions of years with rock examples. My former wanna-be geologist self was geeking out over the rock displays.

The various lookout points were the most popular so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. I was surprised at how many parents let their kids run wild. Most of the path is not secured by a fence or guard rail of some sort. It wouldn’t take much to slip or fall. But then I am also clumsy so I generally think of worst case scenarios.

Seriously?!?

And of course, there were the rule breakers- the ones who jump fences and go down rocks all to get a good selfie. The number of people backing up to edges was ridiculous.

The Rim Trail is advertised as little to no elevation change. And had I not done Bright Angel the day before I might have agreed. But the 600 ish feet we gained and lost in the 6ish miles we went did not feel easy. Ha!

I kind of feel like the Grand Canyon is the Disneyland of trails. Plenty of trash cans, recycle bins, bathrooms and water stations. I have never seen so many rangers out working the trail before either.

But for the love of Pete, pick up your damn masks people!

Escape Day 1- Bright Angel

Ever feel like you need to run away?

That’s kind of how I have been feeling for a while now. I had PTO to use, so I packed up the car, made a fairly last minute reservation and ran away. Ok… I drove away. And yes, I packed plenty of hand sanitizer, masks and clorox wipes.

I headed for Arizona. And some dirt.

On Wednesday morning, I was up early and prepared for an adventure. I headed to the Grand Canyon. And the Bright Angel trail.

As soon as I knew I was heading to the Grand Canyon, I checked out a couple of posts over at Running to Travel-very helpful. I also poured over the NPS site for the Grand Canyon. I didn’t have a lot of time and I knew I was super out of shape so I knew I couldn’t be too crazy.

Ice, ice

I got there early but not too early as I knew November could mean ice on the trail. I loaded my pack, laced up my shoes and hit the trail. Even with my research, I fell within less than 1/4 mile. I hit ice and slipped but pulled out out before falling. Only to fully fall less than 4 feet later. I landed on my butt and kind of slid across the trail. I was more startled than hurt and bounced up fairly quickly. I then continued my trek.

The Bright Angel trail continues for miles down the side of the canyon- down to the River rest house and back would be arround 15 miles. Luckily, I am not that stupid and I turned around at the 3 mile rest house. There was also an option to turn around at the 1.5 mile rest house but I wanted to push further than that. As much as I love a good downhill on a trail, this had some steep moments and my left knee was none too pleased. Someone help me with trail shoes, please?

I laughed at the sign at the 3 mile rest house- Going down is optional but going up is mandatory. And it was time to go up.

My mom was also with me and she was starting to have some issues. She occasionally has hip issues and it was acting up in a very bad way. In some ways the climb back up was easier to me than going down as there was less ice to worry about. Also for some reason, my body likes a good trail climb. My brain turns off and my legs take over and they just go.

Which sounds ok until I realize I have way outpaced my injured mother. Oops. And that’s not to say I was moving speedily up the mountain side- the Canyon is a beast. Which I knew going in but I don’t think I fully realized it.

Even as I was huffing and puffing my way up the trail, the amazing-ness of the view was too much to ignore. I think I took a few hundred pictures. No joke. I am having a hard time choosing which ones to post here.

There were other hikers out so I masked up anytime another person was near. I was kind of surprised at the some of the things people were wearing on the trail though. I saw sandals, jeans, Vans and even a woman carrying her purse. It made me wonder how far they were going- how did they not slip on the ice?? Was I really that out of shape or were they going to have serious regrets later?

Dude, the Bright Angel trail is hard. After 6ish miles and lots of elevation loss/ gain -I was whipped. Yes, I am out of shape, but still. How was I going to a do a few more days of slightly adventurous things?

Rambling on ???

I could look up the number but nah…

I have planned on writing all last week but a headache rolled in hard on Monday and seemed to want to hang around. I’m didn’t win.

It’s only 5 errr, 9 days into November but I’ve already watched more than a few cheesy Christmas movies. Maybe too many? Or not enough. Either way, there are so many more to go.

I have been eating such crap lately. It’s like the beginning of lockdown all over again. Even pizza doesn’t taste as good. I feel like I just need weeks of greens and colorful things. My wonky GI system wouldn’t appreciate that but the rest of me would.

And speaking of systems, I finally made the doctor’s appointment I have been putting off for almost a year. Which netted me an EKG, tons of labs, a referral to an ENT and a referral to a dermatologist. Yay? Actually I am looking forward to the ENT- I am tired of having a half working nose. Except they won’t call me back and make an appointment. Boo.

Oh, and I finally ordered new glasses. Have I ever mentioned how blind I am? I mostly get by with contacts but use my glasses for nighttime and first thing in the morning. And that enabled me to be super lazy and my prescription is like 6 years out of date. And while one eye stayed the same, the other did not. I finally caved after realizing my right eye was basically useless in my glasses. Except now I feel kind of drunk when I wear them.

I have been running… kind of. I also have some ambitious plans for the next week or so, so wish me luck.

I’ve also signed up for a few more virtual races. Some I should tell you about. All that I still need to run. Oops?

I complained about the late season warm weather and asked for fall. Someone delivered- maybe a little too much. Sub 30 anyone?? Means something different when it’s the temp and not a 5k race time.🤣

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MCM 10K (virtual) Recap

A good chunk of runners will say that their dream race is Boston.

Mine is Marine Corps Marathon. Or Leadville but that’s another story.

2020 being what it is, I decided to register for the virtual version of the MCM 10K.

Race weekend dawned and oops, I’d been super lazy. Hadn’t run in almost 2 weeks. Longest run previously was the Giants 10k over Labor Day weekend. Oh, I was totally ready for a 6 mile run. Yep. I really wanted to run it on the actual, original race weekend so I sucked it up.

Thankfully, the weather gods gifted us with some almost fall weather so I was even able to be lazy and sleep in on race morning. Yay!

I headed out in the early afternoon and told myself that I would run/walk 3 miles and walk 3 miles. I could walk as much as I wanted but I could never stop. No breaks. Those are my new “race” rules.

I headed for the river path and what used to be my long run route- in other words, an uphill start but a downhill finish. Woo hoo!

I knew that being out of shape, I would tire quickly so instead of running the first half and struggling to finish the last half, I walked the first 3 miles. So, does that mean I walked the part of the route that was uphill and ran the downhill? Yep!

I even found some crowd support!

Not gonna lie, I was feeling tired towards the end but that was really no surprise. And my shoe was coming untied but I refused to stop. Good thing I didn’t fall on that last half mile. That would have been classic.

I finished and stopped to stretch. Oh, I was going to be feeling that later.

Finish- 1:28:34

Hey, and somehow I was faster than I was for the Giants 10K! On a much hillier course. Gotta take those wins where you can find them right?

This was not the MCM of my running dreams but it did help me prove to myself that not all is lost. I just need to get out of my own way.

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