by Shanyn Hosier
I just completed a 27+ mile, rim-to-rim hike in Grand Canyon National Park. And it is some kind of miracle I am alive and writing this sentence.
Hubby & I started out from the North Rim, walked 14.2 miles (descending 5,704 feet, more than a mile!) along the North Kaibab trail into the Grand Canyon, all the way down to the Colorado River, then up the South Rim for 9.3 miles (ascending 4,315 feet) along the Bright Angel trail in FOUR days. It is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. I’m so glad I did it. And I will NEVER attempt anything like it again.
Some things I learned along the way:
- I over-romanticize stuff A LOT. Hubby and I are in our 40s, and we’ve been talking about doing this hike for years. We started actively planning it at the beginning of the year. We got the backcountry permit, bought backpacks & all the gear… I was crazy excited for months—it would be such an accomplishment! Such a special time with my husband! A bucket-list experience! And I was ready to abort the whole thing within the first 2 miles. It was hard! My body hurt! There was no end in sight! THIS WAS NOT WHAT I ENVISIONED!!! WHERE WAS MY PEACEFUL, PASTORAL, ROMANTIC INTERLUDE?!?!
- It is impossible to enjoy a hard thing while you are doing it. I could barely lift my eyes from the trail and look around. The vistas were gorgeous, but I couldn’t think about anything but my aching knees, my blistered feet, my stiff back, my heavy pack. All that mattered was taking the next step forward, getting closer to the end of the agony. Looking back now, I am amazed by what I saw and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Thank goodness I took a few pictures while I stopped to catch my breath.
- I will never repeat the supremely unhelpful comments we heard a dozen times a day to any hiker I might ever meet in the future. Gee, that pack looks heavy! Glad I’m not carrying it! Yes, we brought too much stuff. Shut the f**k up, people. And to all those hyper-fit trail-runners with nothing on their backs, zipping past us like the effort we were expending was ridiculous—you are lucky I didn’t shove you over the edge in a jealous rage. Alternatively, I will never forget the wide-eyed admiration of folks near the end of the hike when they asked where we’d been. We left the North Rim 3 days ago…
- I am a BAMF. I did a thing I wasn’t sure I could do. I considered it a million times, almost with every step, but I didn’t give up.
So, my advice to anyone reading this is to do that crazy thing you’re dreaming of. Jump headfirst. Yes, it will be harder than you imagined. You will not be adequately prepared. It will not be what you expected or what you wished for. You will want to quit well before it’s finished.
Do. It. Anyway.