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.
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?