Monday, April 21, 2008

Grand Canyon: Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim

“Go outside
and face the east
and greet the sun
with some kind of
or chant
or song
that you made yourself
and keep for
early morning”
*excerpted from The Way to Start a Day by Byrd Baylor

On April 19th, 2008 I embarked on another Grand Canyon, Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim odyssey (my third time running this route)

This year, I almost did not attempt the Big-Deep double-back. A recent car accident left me stunned and a bit physically damaged. It also fueled self-doubt. I began to wonder if anything mattered……Why did that guy bash into the back of my car? Did my life matter? Do I positively impact or contribute to anyone? Am I a good mother? Do I uplift and contribute to other peoples’ lives?

With much guidance from the right source, I was able to settle my mind and set goals for the run. These were:

1.) to focus my mind “in the moment” for the entire duration of the “run”
2.) to think only loving thoughts
3.) to lead with my heart wide open

Starting by headlamp at 2 am, I slowly and gently descended the Bright Angle trail reaching the North Rim in just 7 hours. Feeling strong, after a long break, it was time to return to the South Rim. By focusing on being fully present, the experience was timeless and pleasant…..until…….until….until I Bonked!

It seemed like I would easily break 13.5 hours for the round trip …until I passed through Indian Gardens on the last ascent. With 3.5 miles to go, my body was done…cooked….toasted. In short, I bonked hard. Staying with the experience, reaching outside myself, I slowly, ever so slowly, took 2.5 hours to climb the last 3 miles back to the Bright Angel trailhead. Ugh!

I’ll probably need to run this route two to three more times before I get the hang of doing a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. Upon reflection on the goals I'd set for this adventure....I successfully achieved each one in excess of anything I've ever accomplished or experienced before - that was indeed a true miracle.

My favorite piece of gear on this year’s outing was my Backcountry Access Stash Diva pack. The freezeproof hydration system performed brilliantly, keeping my water supply cool despite the blistering 90-degree heat.

Rim Job Stats - Bright Angel Trailhead, start and finish
47 miles roundtrip
11,000 ft elevation gain
15 hours, 50 minutes (includes over 60 minutes of breaks)
Carrying a 13.5 lb backpack

Have a great week.