Grand Canyon Run

We started planning a Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim run many many months before the targeted date of April 18, 2023. But over the winter, we watched reports of serious snowfall, and worse, rock slides on the North Kaibab trail. A few in our original group decided not to go, but five us forged on. We had planned to go as far as we felt reasonably safe, and then turn around. There were reports of several runners making it al the way, but many more reports of people turning around. How far would we get? But then a few days before we flew out, the National Park Services closed the North Kaibab trail, and our hopes for a full R2R2R were finally off the table.

We opted to come up with an alternate route, including side trips to a few places we would have missed such as Plateau Point and Ribbon falls….. Route chosen was down Bright Angel to Plateau Point for sunrise, then back to Bright Angel continuing down to the river, crossing, hitting Phantom Ranch, and heading north until the trail was closed at Cottonwood. About a half mile short of Cottonwood there was a stream crossing that a few of the guys decided not to do, so we turned back. Then there was a major stream crossing to get to Ribbon Falls, which I had actually decided not to do, but then saw Hans on the other side, so across 2 of us went, while 2 more headed back to Phantom. The video makes this crossing look really sketchy, and maybe it was — but it was also relatively safe in that if you did slip and fall, you’d end up hitting the shore in short order without the chance of too much damage done. Ribbon was really worth it as you can see in the video. Then it was up South Kaibab, and 3 of us ran the rim trail back to Bright Angel, while 2 took the shuttle back.

I ended up with ~40 miles and ~8500′ of elevation.

I made a video include that here in lieu of photos….

A few more details….

  • Kelly and I flew out and met our friend Beth at the Airport. Riley and Casey also made the trip, with a slightly different itinerary.
  • But we saw them the 1st night at a great restaurant in Sedona, Javelina Cafe.
  • Met up with the guys, some for the 1st time, hung out in the canyon, etc.
  • Saturday I did a 6 mile hike down Bright Angel, partially scouting the trail to see if there was enough snow/ice to warrant spikes — there wasn’t.
  • Sunday I was up at 3:50, to get ready for our 4:30 a.m. start. The 1st issue was that our little hotel fridge had frozen my hard boiled eggs, and after one bite, I decided I would just put them in my pack and eat them later!
  • Riley and Casey had planned on just hiking to Bright Angel to Plateau Point, but when they were there by 9 a.m., and didn’t know what they’d do the rest of the day, they headed on to Phantom Ranch and up South Kaibab, turning a 12 mile day into a 22 mile day! I was shocked to hear Riley calling “Dad, Dad…” when I came in to Phantom Ranch from the north side!
  • Kelly and Beth planned on down South Kaibab, Phantom Ranch, and up Bright Angel, which they did, though they were both suffering at the end. I had finished up my run and could see them on Life360 not too far down, so decided to run down and hike up with them. While Kelly was surprised to see me, she was grateful I had a handful of potato chip crumbs leftover, just enough to give she and Beth the last bit of energy needed to finish.
  • I do hope to go back and run the full rim to rim to rim someday, as well as go back and backpack – it would be great to stay in the bottom of the canyon a couple nights someday.
  • And finally, I re-read this book leading up to, during, and after the trip. One of the all time great adventure books. And it reinforces my desire to some day take a wooden dory down the Canyon. With a guide, of course!

Ok, maybe a small photo gallery after all. Order is reversed — oh well!

1 thought on “Grand Canyon Run

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