Following the Canyon Trail

On the 29th May, TRIBE adventurers Emily and Hannah (Twice the Health) ventured off to the Grand Canyon. Following the Canyon Trail, they traversed from the North to the South Rim, completing the challenging 52km trail in just under 7 hours.

When the temperature is below freezing and the altitude is above 8,000 feet, you maybe need a quick sanity check as an alarm tone. We like a challenge but, we knew this one would take us a good way beyond our comfort zone. As hard as the Canyon tried to spook us with its dark morning call, the bitter chill and the eerie silence stood no chance of putting us off. We quickly found our competition mode. Spirits high and legs still fresh we zig zagged down the North Rim Kaibab trail until we were greeted by the sight and sounds of the racing Colorado river. Looking back, it’s difficult to believe just how strong we felt at this point and how this strength stayed with us through to the 40 km mark. Adrenalin is a powerful drug.

The Canyon both inspired and uplifted us, banishing any thoughts of tiredness and plotting a most beautiful path for us. We meandered beside the river bed, following the rushing waters for around 20km before arriving at Bright Angel campsite. Carbs consumed, legs lengthened and a few stern words to ourselves later, we were back in rhythm and on track.

This was where the real fun began. With a 4,500ft climb before us, this was mind over matter time. We set off up the questionably-named Bright Angel Trail heading for the South Rim where PB&J sandwiches were practically screaming out our names from the summit. Where once there was a sturdy rocky path, now there was soft red sand. The knees were saying thank you but the calves were shouting out all kinds of expletives. The pace was simply unsustainable. We’d settled into a slower jog now only for a trying 300ft climb to give way to a sudden drop down.

What goes down has got to go up again in this landscape and we regained the lost ground without complaint. How could we complain when every time we lifted our throbbing heads from the track below our pounding feet, we beheld the wonder of this miracle of nature.
All of this romance and splendour was soon hit square on the jaw as we collided with the infamous ‘runners wall’. Three miles out, in 30-degree heat and faced by eternal uphill climb, we slowed almost to a stop. There was no disgrace in letting our faithful feet do some walking. No surrender, no loss of willpower, the power was still switched on as we lengthened our strides to fight the contours and ensure we kept eating up the yards.
Nearly there. Its yellow scar slashed the deep red rock and suddenly our fading legs found new fuel and our breath returned for the final push. Revived, we picked up the pace, striding towards the edge of the rim we had been looking up at for so long. This was the equivalent of the jog down the Mall at the end of the London Marathon. This was the victory lap and, in just under 7 hours, we had conquered the Grand Canyon rim to rim.

Blog by, Twice the Health Duo - Em & Han (