I arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim at 10pm & found the Backcountry Office to read up on all the new shuttle restrictions. My trek had to start at 6am. I got my day bag ready & spotted a shooting star in the beautiful sea of lights above & knew this day ahead was going to be extra special. 🤩
For my birthday, I typically try to find a physical & mental challenge that will test me to my core. 🥳 16.5 miles approx 9-10 hrs – South Kaibab rim trail down to the floor of the canyon at Phantom Ranch & then back up the Bright Angel trail to the rim. (As a reference, it would be like climbing the Eiffel Tower almost 9x). Typically a 2 day trek but doable for those crazy enough in 1 very long day.
After trying to sleep in the car for a few hours, I got in the shuttle line at a chilly 36 degrees at 5:25am & was #15 in the line of 40+. The bus only serves 15 so I skated by, not that I wasn’t nervous enough!
The 3 hr trek to the bottom of the canyon was truly breathtaking & inspiring around every bend…not much can compare to sunrise from this vantage point & the freedom of being on the trail.
As I crossed over the Bright Angel suspension bridge aiming to start the long, grueling haul back up the canyon, I had an overwhelming twinge of pride. I stopped dead in my tracks & knew this was the spot. All the planning, preparation & sacrifices to get here was a beautiful journey that I made happen. No excuses. No matter how many detours & obstacles, I powered through to make my dream a reality. But the hardest part was still to come – everything worthwhile is uphill & the canyon was approaching heat in the mid-90s still in mid-Oct. Was I going to rest or accept the next formidable challenge?