Rim to Rim Hiking the Grand Canyon – What I “Knew”

“Why am I doing this?” definitely crossed my mind.  It crossed my mind, let’s say, only about every other step on the way up the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  A mere 15 hours after we started!  I never set out to break any records.  I succeed at that.  But I (we) finished!  And that was the only outcome that mattered.

In retrospect, I am glad I took this hike on and got it off of my “bucket list”.  It is something I have wanted to do and I also wanted to do it before I was “too old” to take it on.  And I have to be honest, I will likely NOT do it again (99.99% chance of that)!

It wasn’t anything I didn’t expect, nor was it something that I at didn’t, at least attempt to, train for.  There were a lot of things “I knew” before embarking on the nearly 27 miles of hiking for day (this included a detour to Ribbon Falls).

I knew there’d be blisters, chaffing in some strange places, a sore knee and a couple of days of shaking of the stiffness every time I stood up.  It didn’t surprise!

I knew that the hike would painstakingly descend 4380 feet to the Colorado River (the downhill is rough on the knees)…


I knew, even more painstakingly so, the hike would ascend 5850 feet to the North Rim (uphill is rough on the spirit and EVERYTHING else)…


I knew it would be cool when we started out on the Bright Angel Trail (35 degrees)…

I knew it would be fairly hot in during the the afternoon (~95 degrees) as we hiked along the North Kaibab Trail…


And I knew that it would cool off nicely as the sun started to go down (and hopefully not too dark)…

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

But I have to say (or is it admit?) that I knew it was going to quite the challenging day!  I was pretty “gassed” toward the end.  I mean, who hikes twenty-some miles and then purposely gets on a Stairmaster for six more miles (Quite a few do, actually – we must of saw a few hundred that day)?

I knew there would be a lot of amazing sights on the hike.  And I’ll let the pictures just tell (some) of the story.  Full disclosure: there are a lot more taken during the first half of the hike – the last half turned into a focus on just getting it done (or the damn thing over with!).


Rim to Rim Grand CanyonRim to Rim Grand Canyon

Most importantly, I was able to share the day with some friends and my especially my brother.  I knew it will be something we will share the rest of our lives.

This is called “The After”


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6 responses to “Rim to Rim Hiking the Grand Canyon – What I “Knew””

  1. First. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    For what it’s worth, you should do it again. The second and subsequent times will be much easier as you will know what to expect…where you can speed up, where you should save up and how much work is left to get out.

    My low point on my first time was when I was heading up the North Kaibab. I got to a switchback and FAR below me I could see a seemingly tiny white wooden bridge. The switchbacks on the other side of that bridge looked like a much too steep stairway and I thought, “Oh, man, I’m glad I’m not down there”….and then I realized that I was heading toward that (lots of cuss words) bridge.

    At that point it was, “Who in Hell talked me into this????? I need to find them and push them over the side!” 🙂

    1. Thanks! I think the worst part, besides the North Rim in general (which I was calling it something a lot worse at the time), was not being able to see the end. Every switchback felt like it “should” have been the last – but there was always another!

      A second time would be “easier” – I’d lighten the pack (I was too heavy). Force more food (I under always under eat).

      I do feel a little lost now. This has been on the calendar for the last 6 or 7 months. So all my hikes centered around getting ready.

      100% glad I did it. I’m sure that somewhere down the line, I’ll be tempted to do it again, but right now, I’ll be looking for the next “new” hike ;).

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  4. Such fantastic pictures!

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