>To be honest, my report of my Rim2Rim2Rim run is one that I don’t want to do. Quotes, stories, pictures, and videos simply do not do it justice. This run lives up to everything everyone has ever told you. It is truly epic. It is undoubtedly the best way to see the Grand Canyon. And it should be on every (ultra) runner’s bucket list. Do it for yourself, and don’t put it off. You won’t regret it.
I would end there, but in the interest of helping others get through the run successfully, I’ll tell my story:
Jen and I flew out to Vegas on Wednesday night. You can see from this post, the trip started off quite successfully. We got a good night of sleep and headed out to Claire’s house in Flagstaff on Thursday morning. This would be the meeting point for our group, which consisted of:
Myself: You all know me by now.
Jen aka “Fun Jen”: While she got the nickname for other reasons, Jen is always up for anything. Including attempting a 45 mile run/hike despite not having run even a marathon in years.
Dave “I wash my hands a lot” Easa: No seriously, he washes his hands all the time. Dave is getting ready for Western States and is also a pacer extraordinaire as he paced me to my 2nd place at HURT and Hillary Biscay at Ultraman.
Claire “Cancer can suck it” Lears: Claire kicked cancer’s ass a few short months ago and still wouldn’t let this chance pass her by. Luckily people smarter than us convinced her to take it (slightly) easier. She’d be going down to the river and back.
Anna “I went to Penn State like a bajillion other people”: Anna is a friend of Claire’s in Flagstaff and was joining Claire for the abbreviated version of the R2R2R. They are running the Transrockies this year and I have no doubt are going to rock it.
Thursday afternoon was spent shopping for last minute supplies and packing things up. A 2:45 wakeup call was on tap and no one was really looking forward to having to figure anything out in the morning. So the more prepared we were that night, the better. Lucky for Jen and I, we were on East Coast time still and were able to fall asleep before Dave even arrived in Flagstaff.
My original plan was to go with my Nathan Pack and a 2 liter bladder. However, once I realized that with the bladder full I didn’t have nearly enough room for the gear I wanted to bring, I switched over to my Mountain Hardware BeBop Backpack. I got this at WS100 in 2009 and use it all the time. It would fit any size bladder and still has tons of room for everything else. Switching to this so I could overpack ended up being one of my better decisions. Packed inside was: 2 Liter Bladder, 2 empty handheld bottles I would use/fill for the long sections, 20 GU, 4 pieces of pizza, S!Caps, 3 Clif Bars, 3 Mojo bars, an emergency blanket, headlamp, extra batteries, hat.
Once we were up and ready to go, we started the 75ish minute drive to the Grand Canyon. Originally we planned to go down and up the South Kaibab trail. However, when we got to the park we realized that we’d have to get a shuttle to the trailhead, and be done in time to get the shuttle back to the car. So, we decided to descend the Bright Angel Trail instead. The return trip was left somewhat open ended (note: I wouldn’t necessarily do this again – making a plan and sticking to it is easier than “figuring it out” once you’re in the canyon…)
Sunrise in the canyon was amazing. As the sun came up and we saw exactly what we were running down, we were all in awe. We left the top around 4:45ish, and the car was reading that it was 33 degrees outside. Within 30 minutes we had to stop to shed a lot of clothes – it warmed up really fast and I would not have dressed that heavily if I do it again. We got stopped once behind a mule train, and it only took a couple minutes before they let us by in a safe spot. The entire descent to Phantom Ranch took about 2:30. This was a very leisurely pace and there was a lot of time spent taking pictures and just stopping to admire the views.
This is where the day really began for Dave, Jen and me. Claire and Anna were heading home and thankfully took some of our unneeded clothing (Jen and I kept jackets though).
….to be continued.