|Pre - hike|
He was terrified and he had only entered the trail. She on the other hand was yelling at him to go to her and take a photo. he was scared out of his mind. I told him to not go any further and ignore her but he tried to go further down the trail. It was a sad sight to see and was really cruel for her to do that to him. I do not know if he continued down but I hope not and I hope he gets her out of his life.
After that little show it was time to eat! When we drove through town before, I made fun of the restaurant called "We Cook Pasta and Pizza". I thought it was a really dumb name and figured they named it that so foreigners would know what they did. Well the other van wanted to eat there and the food was a joke. I got a plain cheese pizza because I knew they could not screw it up too much. But I hear the pasta was awful.
Perhaps the sign should of said "We #$&% Up Pasta and Pizza"! After our meal we headed to the hotel to unpack and figure out the plan for the next day. The plan was I was going to lead the early group and the rest would go later. Some would try to do the whole thing while others would go to phantom ranch and back.
|Michelle & Kristina|
But I found the parking lot and we hiked the 3/4ths of mile to the trail head. Everything went well until we got to the first mule station. The trail seemed to disappear and it took me 5 plus minutes to find it. The above photo was taken around 4:20am.
As we descended, the winds started to pick up a lot. I left my head lamp on just to keep my hat on. Kristina was still able to take photos despite the crazy conditions. On the way down to the we only caught one group of hikers but we did have an odd encounter. Around 4:30 am we went around a bend and an old Indian just appeared out of nowhere on a mesa. At first I was not sure if I was seeing things but the girls so him too. Where he cam from and how he got there is a mystery.
Our first view of the river and the reason you only descend South Kaibab. Note how the trail changes from red to grey. SK doesn't have any water stops on it either.
If you can not hike out of the canyon, I guess you can pay for a mule ride but I am out of luck because the mule weight limit is 200 pounds. I read that the mules are from Tennessee. I have been to Tennessee and it is pretty and green there. If I was a mule I would be pissed to be in the desert going up and down the canyon for the rest of my life.
It is about 8 miles from the SK trail head to Phantom Ranch:
- Mile 1 - 20:17
- Mile 2 - 26:58 (Where we got lost for awhile.)
- Mile 3 - 20:55
- Mile 4 - 20:06
- Mile 5 - 20:25
- Mile 6 - 16:31
- Mile 7 - 22:36
- Mile 8 - 29:02 (Stopped to eat and get water.)
Often the runner were not obeying trail etiquette at all. We were climbing and they should of got out of our way but that rarely happened. The backpackers were much more friendly and thoughtful
Of course the first 8 miles out of Phantom are very runnable and we made up some time there. The runner with the yellow hat passed me Cottonwood camp but then some how I got in front of him again. He was surprised to see me the second time. I saw him again descending the North Rim. He was the only person to catch us going to the North Rim.
About the time I saw him, Michelle decided to turn around and head back to the South Rim. This just left Kristina and I from the first group and we were being pursued by four from the later group as we headed to the hardest part of the hike.
It is about 8 miles from Phantom Ranch to the base of the last 5 mile climb to the North Rim:
- Mile 9 - 1703
- Mile 10 - 1244
- Mile 11 - 1348
- Mile 12 - 1001
- Mile 13 - 1629
- Mile 14 - 1926
- Mile 15 - 1941
- Mile 16 - 1754
- Mile 17 - 2218
When we started the climb, I was ahead of Kristina at the start but she caught me about half way up the North side. We caught a number people going up the North Rim and it is always amazing to see people on the trail who really should not be on the trail.
I saw three really big over weight people a couple miles down the trail who could not break 45 minutes in a 5k if their life depended on it. When we descended later in the day, they had barely moved and a ranger was with them trying to coordinate a rescue. I guess that helicopter landing pad at the base of the climb comes in handy. Earlier in the day I got to watch a helicopter fly into the canyon and land on it.
We also saw several families with little kids on the trail and that seemed crazy but truly crazy was the bare foot runner with a one year old baby in tow. Kyle saw the mom trip with the infant on her back and actually grabbed for her near a cliff. later in the day they we on the trail below hiking during the hottest part of the day with the infant. Totally crazy!
At long last we got to the North Rim trail head. I got to the North Rim in 7:50 and Kristina was a little ahead of me. We only stayed there for about ten minutes. We filled up with water and threw away our trash and then head back to the South Rim. I think getting to the North Rim is like being 2/3rds done despite only doing 22 of the 46 mile hike. We were in a good mood going down and were really happy and surprised that the fast boys did not catch us (we had a 2 hour head start.).
The last 5 miles to the North Rim climbs 5,000 plus feet almost:
- Mile 18 - 2728
- Mile 19 - 3050
- Mile 20 - 4020 (Stopped for water.)
- Mile 21 - 3506 (Lunch at North Rim)
- Mile 22 - 1831
Not far behind was Travis's Sole 2 Soul boss Scott who was looking a lot better than the young guns. He was joined by Josh who would later help Scott get the young guys back to the South Rim. I was told that Scott and Josh beat Kyle and Travis to the North Rim. Josh had just had staples removed days before the hike. His lung had collapse earlier in the month.
- Mile 23 - 2535
- Mile 24 - 2556
- Mile 25 - 2009
- Mile 26 - 2610
- Mile 27 - 2242
Then a few minutes later Scott came running up and I found out what was going on. Kyle was still throwing up and Travis's legs were blown up so Josh stayed back to help them and Scott went ahead to get to Phantom before it closed at 4pm. So I ran to Phantom with him and got a delicious lemonade.
- Mile 28 - 2324
- Mile 29 - 1639
- Mile 30 - 1751
- Mile 31 - 1637
- Mile 32 - 1600
- Mile 33 - 1714
- Mile 34 - 1856
- Mile 35 - 1103 (Scott caught me.)
- Mile 36 - 3056 (Phantom Ranch Lemonade Time)
Scott got them drinks and food and decided to wait for them and Kristina and I left around 4pm for the last 9 miles of the hike. But first Kristina had to go over another bridge.
But she survived and we headed up the Bright Angel trail.
- Mile 37 - 2531 (Crossing BA bridge.)
- Mile 38 - 2152
- It took us a little over 2 hours to do the last 9 miles from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim (left PR at 4pm and got to top at 8:07pm)
So it looked like I would be doing the last 4 miles on my own but after a half mile I caught a group who told me that Kristina was hiking up with one of their friends. This was good for her but bad for me because having a strong partner is always good. But IIcould see her and I started catching groups of hikers so I thought I had a chance to catch her.
At the 3 mile water station, I finally caught her and her new friend (Who has done the hike over twenty times.) and fell in behind them. The rest of the hike we just tried to keep moving and not run out of light. Then just before it got dark, we finally got to the South Rim. Our total time was 16:47 and we finished at 8:07pm.
In summary, I would like to thank Scott of Sole 2 Soul Sports for putting together this trip and inviting me to come! Scott also hooked me with my Hoka One Ones and my Black Diamond Ultra Z Poles too! They made the hike a lot easier!
Also I want to thank Matt who was the driver of my van. He did an outstanding job in difficult conditions. I have driven home from the Grand Canyon and it is a long boring drive and he had a lot of wind to deal with.
And lastly I got to thank Travis "0 and 2" Hobbs!
In 2011, I did the Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim but I hiked from the South to the North in about 11 hours and spent the night and then hiked back the next day (2011 Blog HERE.). So my total time was 37 hours or so (I left at 4am and got back at 5pm the following day). This year I did it in 16:47 and it was a lot more enjoyable. Spending the night on the North is not really worthwhile in my opinion when trying to do a R2R2R.
You have to carry everything with you and you really do not get to sleep very much. So you end up spending money on a cabin and food and do not get that much rest.
lastly I want to thank my hiking partner in crime Kristina. She is one tough momma. She had done one 50 miler (American River) but you could not tell by the way she moved up those final switchbacks. We were a good team out there and pushed each other. I would not stop very long and would leave water stops before her but she would always catch me.
Plus she was always so upbeat and happy to be out there!