Two weekends ago Aaron and I met in Phoenix to hike the Grand Canyon. After making the acquaintance of the poop-eating dog and watching a stranger blow up Aaron’s ego by telling her friend “Look, it’s Chris Daughtry” we headed north to the park. My all-time record for rim-to-river-and-back hikes stood at something like 4-2 when we started (hiking in the heat is not my strong point), but we set off on the 16-mile round-trip with tons of Gatorade and confidence brimming.
Before continuing the story, for anyone visiting the Grand Canyon don’t try to hike down and back in a single day. The park warns against doing this hike for a reason, but Aaron and I are both in pretty good physical condition, and more relevant, we’re both stupid people.
The route we chose took us down the Kaibob Trail to the Colorado River and then along the river before we started back up the Bright Angel trail. This is where things got interesting. Nature decided that ascending five thousand vertical feet wasn’t enough of a challenge, so she threw temperatures at us that were twenty degrees above normal. Hiking through the desert, uphill, when it’s 105 degrees in the sun isn’t an ideal scenario for someone who likes to vacation in Alaska and the Antarctic. Aaron and I were both suffering by the time we got back to the top, but sadly I was the one in worse shape. Despite having to stop frequently to rest my spasming quads this one will go into the books as a draw, which puts the current all-time record at 4-2-1. Next time, however, we’ll go in March when it’s guaranteed to be cooler, hike it twice, and put two more ticks in the win column.