Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim 2007
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04/20-22/2007

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim
Bright Angel Trail down to Colo River, North Kiabab Trail to North Rim, and back again
~47 miles and 11K elevation
13hrs 51mins
16 fun-tastic folks on a long stroll

Not sure how I got talked into doing this again, I think it was Nicholls and Bershaders constant haggling. Training fell by the way-side, miles were not being added to the yearly totals, and here Jean and I stood in the airport heading to AZ to meet up with everyone on Friday morning. A busted rib from choking on a hunk of cow the w/end before gave me serious doubts whether or not I would even step foot off of the South Rim into the Canyon. Oh well, a pocket full of percocets and a tolerance for pain diverted my attention from the sore legs throughout the day!
Jean and I met up with Carol “lightning” Gerber in the PHX airport and we carpooled up to the Grand Canyon with a chill in the air and overcast skies. Chilly? Yes. Perfect running weather? YES! The Friday night group dinner was great Grand Canyon 07.JPG (207457 bytes) fun filled with laughs and bad service. Jean, myself, Steve, and Sarah were camping so we found our way back to camp to hydrate and carbo load with beers around the campfire before the way-too-early 3:15am alarm. Steve and I took off to meet up with Keith, Carol, Joey, and Matt for our 4am kick off while Jean and Sarah slept in for a Rim to River to Rim hike later in the day. The others were already in the Canyon from a 3am start. It was pretty damn chilly at the TH but it only took a few switchbacks to heat up and stash some layers in our backpacks that wouldn’t come out again except for the brief snow storm on the North Rim. It’s always fun trying to run by headlamp and the sun coming up always brings on a new wave of energy. We got toGrand Canyon 09.JPG (177338 bytes) Indian Gardens (mile 4.5) within an hour and were refilling our water across the Colorado River (mile 9) in just over two hours. A quick stop to eat and fill up water as Keith wrestled with a bag of trail mix the size of a bowling ball! Through The Box Canyon with perfect temps and overcast skies lead to some drizzles, but nothing warranting a jacket just yet. It’s deceptive through this part, but the trail gains over 1000ft before Cottonwood Campground, but looks mostly flat. Just penny’s under 4hrs I found myself at Cottonwood Campground (mile 15.5) with Carol quickly disappearing and Keith and Steve right on my heels. Atleast the weather was improving with some blue skies poking through and tunes on the mp3 player keeping me moving. The slog up to the Grand Canyon 10.JPG (198902 bytes) North rim was just as pretty as I remembered it, and just as painful as I remember it. In comes the snow storm and a helicopter hovering around, landing near Steve and Keith. A beer-copter perhaps? One can only wish!
Carol and I topped out on the North Rim (mile 23.5) after 6hrs 25mins, no marching bands or celebrations…. Just some strange dude wandering around. More food and off we went. This would be the last I would see Carol until Sunday as she turned on the afterburners and disappeared. This is my favorite part of the trip as you get to see everyone either coming up or heading down within about 20mins! High fives and congrats were exchanged and every step was one closer to being done. At times it felt like my rib was poking out of my side, that was the queue forGrand Canyon 12.JPG (248977 bytes) another round of pain killers. I was running slower and slower downhill but just kept motoring along until Cottonwood Campground (mile 31.5) once again. A “faucet shower” was in order before the 6.5miles through the Box Canyon back to the river. This went relatively fast considering it’s mostly downhill. I was whooped and ready to be done, every time I looked up I was hoping to see Phantom Ranch but instead just saw another corner or another pile of mule shit.
While refilling at Phantom Ranch (mile 38), Steve caught up and we talked about how much fun the last 9 miles of uphill would be. While he ran a couple short sections on the other side of the bridge I shouted every derogatory thing I could think of at him. The miles peeled away quicker then we thought they would and I was Grand Canyon 14.JPG (260874 bytes) getting grumpier by the step as I slumped into a serious bonk by the time we hit Indian Gardens (mile 42.5). Now comes the 4.5miles of tourists! Atleast some of them looked worse then we felt. We ran into Jean and Sarah who were on their way back from their fun hike. The first thing Jean said is, “oh my God, you look TERRIBLE! You look like absolute SHIT!” She did make me feel slightly better by saying that Steve looked horrible too. We keep pounding away with a 14hr finish in our minds. Besides sore legs and ribs, I start getting horrible stomach cramps that I couldn't shake. The last couple miles sucks, no other way to put it. Aaahhh finally, the last tunnel! The watch stopped for us at 13hrs and 51mins. We were ecstatic to be finished and beat 14hrs after running/hiking 47 miles.
We missed the girls as they came up but soon after saw some dude truckin’ up the switchbacks practically knockingGrand Canyon 16.JPG (233439 bytes) people out of the way. None other then Keith looking fresher then ever and just about running! We made quick time back to the campground for beers, hotdogs on a stick, laughs, and stories. Saturday night was sleepless from painful ribs and loud neighbors howling at the moon and being drunk and obnoxious. Sunday it was fun to see everyone hobbling around but with huge smiles and a sense of accomplishment! Jean, Carol, and I took the scenic route back to the PHX airport through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona.
Grand Canyon 18.JPG (204170 bytes) For the record, Steve and Keith have joined my “banned for 2007 list” along with Jagermeister and Hot Damn 100, for talking me into this adventure. It was absolutely awesome to hang out with a huge group of great folks and see everyone throughout the weekend. Congrats to everyone on their fantastic times!!!

Link to a 5 minute movie of pictures and video's throughout the Grand Canyon. (15MB)

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