It all came together because Susan and I were trying to get a last minute permit to backpack in the Grand Canyon for 3 days for my birthday. So, with such late planning, we had to visit the back country office in person (any permit request under 3 weeks has to be made in person).
I, of course, offered to do it. Not only could I secure a sweet trip backpacking below the rim but I could slip a run in too. Needless to say, I was psyched. Finally, a bit of adventure.
Well, our first choice of the Boucher/Hermit loop was already booked up so we opted to get a permit for hiking the Hermit to the Tonto and then down Monument Creek to Granite Rapids to camp for two nights.
I'm pretty excited to do this as I have run past Monument Creek many times and vowed secretly to myself just about every time that I will camp in this area sometime in my life. Well...here it is. Next weekend we will be hanging by the beach on the Colorado at Granite Rapids for a few days. Good times. Great idea Susan! Thank you for the great birthday present.
So, the run...
Well, I'll say one thing. I am out of shape. Yep. I learned on the run that I have not been running nearly enough elevation and miles to cruise down there yet (I also ran 10 miles and climbed pretty hard the day before too...hmmm). I struggled for much of it, feeling my legs on the way down and up and walking the last 3 miles out the Bright Angel Trail. Oooof.
Not to say that I didn't enjoy the run. It was awesome. No matter how much I get my ass kicked down there it is always the right place to be. I love it down there.
I chose to run down the Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch, up the S. Kaibab to the Tonto Junction, across the Tonto back to the Bright Angel Trail and then back up to the rim. Believe it or not, this is my first time going DOWN the Bright Angel. I always seem to be going up it instead, coming from some other trail.
Well, the loop was a good one at about 20 miles and I really enjoyed the Tonto section (probably because it was one of the only flat sections...).
Here are a few photos from the run...
(Looking down from the rim at what I'm about to be running through. YES!)
LOTS OF SNOW up high on the Bright Angel. Microspikes were key!)
(There was snow all the way down to the 3 mile house.)
(Looking back up from near Indian Gardens at the snow on the rim. Beautiful view. The Bright Angel Trail descends the gully in the right side of photo.)
(Nearing Indian Gardens.)
(Above video shows one of my favorite sections of running on the Bright Angel Trail.)
(Awesome section of the Bright Angel Trail cutting across the hillside in the distance.)
(Just before reaching the Colorado River on the Bright Angel.)
(I always love running on the Tonto!)
(A favorite spot of mine on this section of the Tonto.)
(Heading back up the Bright Angel in the heat of the day and super sloppy conditions.)
(No run on the Bright Angel would be complete without walking behind a mule train! On this run I had the pleasure of walking behind them for a mile. I wasn't running much at this point anyway so whatever...)
Yesterday: 20 miles in the canyon, 5,000 feet of gain and loss, 4 hours 57 minutes (I was stubborn and ran the last bit to make sure I was under 5 hours. Silly, I know...). Very slow day in the canyon for me. Gives me good incentive to get more miles in, more elevation and more speed. Good day out!
Today: 3 miles (easy to work, home and then work again)