Waking up on Friday morning, I was more nervous to run than ever before. No marathon, ultra, training run, or otherwise had given me butterflies like this in the past. I was almost 1,000 miles from home, at elevation and ready to spend the day, from sunrise to sunset, in Arizona’s biggest hole.
We’d packed up our gear the night before, spent a few weeks checking maps and routes and gathering tips from friends, but no amount of preparation could shake my nerves and excitement. Luckily I’d read a few chapters from Wild on the plane, and had hoped to carry the author’s mantra with me on the trails.
Our adventure started just as light was sneaking up over the skyline on the South Kaibab Trail. It was 5:45am, and we’d gotten a little bit of a late start. Starting off down South Kaibab, the trail was a little steeper and more technical than most people prefer. Charlie had decided that we should do this section on our way out of the South Rim because it has no water and we would be most alert in the morning with the trickier trails than on our way back. A few miles later, the sun peeked out over the rim, turning the entire canyon a gorgeous orangey red color.
We ran down slowly, spotting some deer and hikers on our way. About 7.5 miles later, we made it to the Colorado River crossing and made our way to Bright Angel Camp.
The further into the canyon we dropped, the warmer it got. And even before 8am, it was warmer on the trails than any day I’d spent running in San Francisco. From Bright Angel, we headed North, taking North Kaibab […]