A gigantic hole of gullies and side canyons. A main channel several mile away that’s so deep you can’t see the Colorado River from Grand Canyon’s edge. I’ve blogged about floating there, an eighteen day rafting adventure. It was on my fifth trip I met I guy named Steve with a booming voice and sense of humor to match. We became instant friends and he told me of hiking from one rim to the other, of crossing Grand Canyon by foot in a day.
Steve and I kept in touch, skiing Alta’s chest deep powder in the winter. Then he invited Janilee and I to take the epic hike. The first time we went south to north, descending the South Kaibab Trail with headlamps until sunrise halfway down. We crossed the river at the bridge near Phantom Ranch, then ascended the North Kaibab trail to the Rim where it was snowing.
It’s ludicrous. Going down four thousand feet and then up six. It’s stupid to make my body do so much in a day. Nine hours of hiking over twenty miles—blistered feet and deep friend muscles lasting into the next week. All but the superhuman don’t walk right the next day. It’s called “The Kaibab Shuffle,” a self-imposed affliction earned by adventurous hikers.
On our rim to rim hike a few weeks ago, Janilee kicked my ass. I ran for weeks, tried to lose some weight, got good sleep the night before but the last four miles sucked. My metabolic fuel was spent as I turtled my way up what I swore were never ending switchbacks. She always kicks my ass. I love every second of it. She was waiting for me at the top as I limped up the last switch-back to Mumford and Sons on my ipod and “fell heavy” into her arms.
Two weeks later, I’m thinking of my next hike. I can almost walk pain free.
I understand people who bike from Logan to Jackson, and those who lose toe nails to marathons. My desire to achieve is no different. I hike rim to rim because I can. When I reach the top and look across the massive hole, thinking my feet were on the other side ten hours ago, the accomplishment eclipses the pain. It’s an obsessive kind of stupid.