One of my life long dreams came true: I finally visited the Grand Canyon. And though I was planning on a run, I decided it was just not practical: too many visitors and the path was just not wide enough to skirt around them all the time.
So instead of making a nuisance of myself I adapted by hiking the Bright Angel Trail but at a higher speed. I got up at 6am for an early start because of all the warning signs not to hike when it’s too hot and to be back by 10am. I brought enough water, bananas and granola bars for myself, and a few for others if necessary. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a towel or an extra shirt, which I highly recommend you do. As long as you are hiking, you don’t feel yourself sweating so much, but as soon as you are back at your car, you’ll notice that your shirt is soaked through and through, and the airco has a chilling effect which is uncomfortable to say the least.
Back to the Bright Angel Trail – it’s a narrow dirt path with the occasional stepping stone so make sure you wear comfortable shoes with a good profile. It had poured during the night and rangers were repairing the path, which at times made it a bit difficult to navigate around them and their horses. But the sun was shining which gave me some amazing views. The path is quite steep, which is a bit noticeable descending and all the more hiking back up.
Sometimes you hike in the sun and at other times the path turns so you walk in the shade. Parts of the path are relatively flat, but some parts are quite steep and you have to use the rocks to maintain a firm grip with your shoes. I saw enough parents with young children hike down but they did not always seem happy about it.
What is gorgeous about the trail is the view of the rock surfaces – as you descend into the canyon, you come close to the rock walls, and you can see the formation up close. Watching millions of years pass in front of you is an incredible sight, not to mention the wide variation in colours.
I hiked to the 3 Mile Resthouse which was a good stopping point to refuel. By then you’ve gone from 6700 feet elevation down to 4700. As it had taken me about an hour to hike down, I decided no to continue due to the increasing heat in combination with the distance (another 3 miles). I hiked back to the start of the trail, maintaining a consistent pace which was strenuous but ensured I got a good workout over 6 miles.
By the time I was back at the beginning, my calves were thanking me as I finished – needless to say I did not go for another run that day.