Hooray! I've booked it. Well- at least in my brain. I will be starting at the South Rim. Hoping to convince my DH to come! Flying into flagstaff does seem to be ridiculously pricey so we may fly into Vegas (ugh). I haven't raced since my 50K and I was thinking about what I wanted to do- and voila. There it is! Nothing like a little 48 miler to set a goal!
The last weekend all the water is open! It was EPIC (as my boys would say) doing R2R- but this time I want to hang out and stay at the south rim. I'm currently recruiting but this time I'm so well planned in advance I will reserve the room I want!!
Nothing like a little long term goal to keep me going.
Anyone want to join?
was thinking of doing a R2R in Sept or Oct 2013... If I'm still living in the Flagstaff area in 2014 though I'd love to join in.
My not-entirely-running-related 'Gram
You should do it! Then do it again! I believe all the water is turned on until Oct 13 of this year. It is a WONDERFUL and INSPIRATIONAL day to do it. There are so many people out- and at the top, so many cheering! The top trail is lined with people waiting for friends and family to finish. It is inspirational. I'll see if I can find my RR just so I can relive it!
Hmm-my photos aren't attaching but here it is.
With a hope and a dream, we figured out logistics for running Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon on October 13, 2012. We flew into Vegas, spent a night, and drove to Kanab Utah for the next night.
Pit stop on the way to Kanab- My friend hand painted the shirt "2012- RimtoRim"
My Friend's power song is "Eye of the Tiger". She made us this great sign! My friends made plenty of jokes about bringing their ID papers since we were going to Arizona- funny enough, I'm the one that isn't American!
From there, we were driven in the dark to the North Rim- through fog, ice and freezing temps we watched the sky start to light up as we approached the rim. The only way we knew we were in the right spot was the trail head sign saying “North Kaibob Trail” and the dozens of early risers with a goal of making their way. There were no other signs we were in the canyon- just a few trees and fog. We settled into a nice pace past the hikers, when BLOWING past us were superhumans propelled by ski poles and huge “fat tire” shoes. I’d never seen or heard of anything like it but they were flying through the canyon. They were too fast to get a picture! We asked some super fit hikers how long they anticipated taking and they all said 8-9 hours, so we knew we’d come in well before that.
As the sun came up, the fog lifted revealing foot by foot, the height of the canyon. For the first time, we could see its majesty. There simply are no words- we squealed with joy.
The trail continues through an open field through the canyon. My friend was hurting so I was in front and had opened some distance. These 4 fine men come at me from behind running at a nice clip- so there goes me and my horrible Velcro Syndrome so I put on my super cape and ran with them for about 3 miles. (and some of you also know my love for running behind nice rears). It was really fun to push myself through the canyon and run with some macho boys (garmin quotes 3 miles at a 6:51 pace!!). We all stopped at Phantom Ranch- they were doing R2R2R so they were off and I waited for my friend. (we were hoping the other 3 in our party would catch up but we never would see them until after showers). Phantom Ranch is great- water, shade, lemonade, toilet paper, running water, soap- all the amenities you could need! This was the first and last time I’d fill up my 2L Nathan. I ate way too much and drank way too much so I was happy to walk for a bit with my friend as my stomach settled- then we started a walk jog walk jog thing.
Over the big bridge (big fear for me- so this took a lot of focus to pretend I was not running over a canyon river!!!).
Once we got to Indian Garden it was clear she wasn’t going to be running all that much with ITB flare-up and rolled ankle. The idea of hiking the rest of the way out had me weak in my knees so I put on the tunes and started running.
Due to the elevation, I’m not quite sure how fast I was actually “running” but my goal was to run up as best I could. It comes a time when you just want to be done with something, and my time had come. I kept anticipating the heat, the sun, etc- but it never realized. After peeing 5 times between the start and phantom ranch, I dialed my water way down. No more breaks.
Now comes the last 5 miles. These were the BEST. There was so much climbing- so much fun! This is where the party started- you can tell on the trail who is a day hiker, and who has goals. You see them out there- determination in their eyes. “Eye of the Tiger” as my friend Dee would say.
The last 5 miles were between 20-22 minute miles each and a total of about 3700 feet in climbing. This would be my biggest ascent in one fell swoop in over a year and a half. Only 7 little words brought on the energy. It started with me encouraging people as I passed. “keep going” “you got this”. And one fine fellow, I would later find out his name was Richard, said “I’m just trying to keep up with you.” Well my friend- come hell or high water you ain’t going to pass me! I just need a little tiny bit of friendly competition to bring on my best self. Then he called up to me, “I’m trying to do it in less than 9 hours- but I don’t have a watch and don’t tell me how I’m doing”. LOL! I said “ok- you want to do it less than 9? Keep up with me boy friend”. (Little did he know he was doing AWESOME and WAY under his goal.) So I yell- “stay with me and we will do this thing.”
My Kryptnite for a strong finish- Having someone to beat, and helping someone finish strong. LOVE that combo! So with about 3 miles left we trek up there- me running (at this point I did feel like I was going backwards) and his tall long legged trekking pole self. We passed a pack of mules and pushed hard up the mountain- I would yell back at him “C’mon Richard, You got this!” In the last little bit I got ahead of him and thank god because the waterworks were going to start. You can tell you are getting close to the end because day hikers are coming down, jeans, starbucks cups, kids etc. I came around the last bend and saw the WALL of people waiting for all their friend and family- and that was it- I lost it. I tried holding it in- but there was no way. I literally start a guttural sob. Tears. Gasping. Hyperventilating. These sweet women all asking me if I was ok. Then I realized I was only a narcissist pig- and I said “Yes I’m fine, I’m fine” but I can barely get it out, and I certainly wasn’t convincing anyone so I was honest. “I-I-I am- sob sob- just ss-ss-oo gasp gasp- proud of my- gasp- self.” And there was the sweetest, collective, motherly sigh. I’m sure I heard “oh sweetie” “congratulations” “you did awesome”.
Earlier in the trail a family stood there and the Mom said, “I just want to clap for you” and I pointed to the rim on the other side (it looks more impressive than the feat itself) and I said, “I came from there this morning- you can clap.” And she did. And it was sweet. And I pushed harder.
I was able to collect myself for the grand finale. Our lovely shuttler was waiting for us. As she was taking some snaps a stranger comes up and says, “My brother Richard said to tell that Andie to stop yelling at me.” HA!!!! I’m still wondering if he was serious or not- but I had a great time, and he came in at 8:09.
ROCK STAR RICHARD!!!!
I really did wish at that point I could go back and run the other way. I felt great- I felt like I did not leave it all out there- but that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to do something epic- and that can’t be done without a million picture breaks, waiting for friends and enjoying the creation of the canyon, no matter how it came to exist.
There is something really magical about the south rim. I’m not sure if it was because it was the last Saturday of the season (canyon water starts getting turned off October 15) or if it is always like this. It isn’t a race, but there are mobs of people waiting for friends and family. They clap and cheer and hoot and holler. No matter what brings you to the canyon, once there, everyone is like family. It was so special clapping and cheering for those that I’d passed and came streaming in after me.
Later that day, after showers and shopping, I would return to the south rim to wait for my friends to finish.
I walked down about ½ mile so I could see them climbing up. In doing so, I had the privilege of cheering people on “You are so close” “almost there” “it really is just up to that ridge”. I could see their expressions, similar to mine just hours before. A mixture of impending relief from the canyon and pride of the accomplishment.
We went to Mather Campground to shower, gift shop, back to the rim to take the others to shower and had dinner at El Tovino restaurant. The sheer misery came with the 4 hour car drive back (read logistics if you are interested in doing this).
In all we were all so proud. We had trained hard for this as this distance and elevation was not in our usual repertoire. The oldest of the group, 62, said this was his warm up for machu picchu. I won't be joining him!
Some notes and logistics if you are interested in planning your own trip:
There is a ton of water stops in that canyon (before the Oct 15 shut off). I would have done this with a 1L pack, carried less weight and filled up 2 more times.
I ate 3 Cliff shots, 2 BPJ on white, 4 small wafflestrussen, 2 scaps, 1 espresso chip Bonk Bar, ½ pack heed perpetuum. 1 bite of promax bar. I drank 3 liters of water (plus 6oz of the perpetum).
SO glad I had my fleece hat and gloves- I wore those all the way to phantom ranch. Brrr.
We all noticed our feet never got dirty. We are used to having filth through our shoes and imbedded in our toenails at home. I’m not sure if it was the rain or just different terrain.
There are WAY more rocks to avoid than I’m used to. It isn’t groomed like the Yosemite trails. I’m really not sure how one would do this with a headlamp.
North to south seems to be the easy way to go. We were running down hill all the way to the river- so we had more downhill miles than those that would travel up. There is also a little town at the south rim- restaurants, shops, shuttle, touristy things- if I were doing r2r2r I’d certainly start and end in the south.
You’ve got to figure out how to book the north and south rim hotels. We needed 3 rooms and no one was really willing to call all the time for cancellations (we booked in March for October and everything was full). We needed 3 rooms so not easy to get cancellations. The town of Kanab was completely booked by the time we arrived- my “love to plan” friend made dinner reservations- thank goodness! Even in this tiny town the restaurant was fully booked!
Some logisitics Options:
1. Run r2r2r.
2. Fly into LV, drive to the south rim. Run from south to North- have shuttler drive to north and stay at the north rim hotel. Drive to Las Vegas next day. So one circle round trip instead of backtracing.
3. Go on a family trip to the national parks. Fly into vegas. Have fun with family in Zion. Drive to the north rim. Run from there to the south while the family drives. Sleep at south rim. Drive to vegas.
I also did see shuttles that took you from the south rim to vegas- so this is another option. Driving back to the north rim after running was hell. Torture. Nothing I’d wish on anyone.
It was worth it- but my swelling started after the run- but the end of dinner my feet were exploding from my shoes. The 4 hour drive after the run, 4 hours the next day plus a flight did me in. Now Monday and I'm 8 pounds up and still swollen!
Thanks to all you who answered my million logistics questions! It was great fun and something all should see. Maybe next time I'll do it the other way --via raft!
thanks for the re-post...lots of good info there. I didn't know it was such a big deal with the water coming on, but I've only been in the area a few weeks and just been kicking around the R2R for later this year instead of doing a race.
running under the BigSky
a group of us did in March of 2012, was probably the neatest run of my life at 5:00 AM we were greeted w/ a whiteout blizzard and ~ 6" of snow @ the S Rim, many (many) hours later we were re-greeted w/ a whiteout and almost a foot of snow (the N Rim had close to a foot as well)! Needless to say, overheating wasn't an issue that day
I'm definitely going to do it again sometime soon, I'd love to join you this October, but it's my busy time of the year
Faster Than Your Couch!
I might join you, but can't commit now. I know it requires lots of advance planning and booking.
Still thinking about it.
Run for fun.
Big sky- 2014!!! You have time!!!
Hotels do need to be booked about 13 months in advance. You pre-pay for the first night and can cancel.
I'm planning on staying Canyon side of the Kachina Lodge.
JMC- if you live close by consider doing the rim to river and back up. Logistics of r2r are a nightmare and honestly I don't think it was worth it. For a first time just run down to the tavern and back up the other way.
About the water- it put our whole party at ease knowing there was going to be water every couple of miles. Also - you can then carry less water weight and more food :-)
Couch- most important is getting that hotel 13 months out. From there, you can decide and book your flight closer to the time. There is a greyhound that runs from Los Vegas to the south rim- I'd considering doing that.
Oh- and I got the big ol kabosh on DH coming. At least he didn't lecture me on NOT going- but it sure would be nice to have a dh that was just an incling proud/excited about the things I am. insert violin sounds
I do live close by and I think once I get to know some more local trail runners we'll be able to pull it off without really booking. Even with just one car if we split the runners, drop off a couple at the south rim, drive to the north and park the car there, meet half-way and hand off the keys to the northbound runners (who will be ahead cause they started earlier), then they grab the car and come pick up the southbound runners back at the south rim, then drive back to Flag exhausted. Is this realistic? Obviously it could all go very wrong if the northbound runners can't make it back to the south rim for some reason.
Anyway, to anyone thinking about this, I'm living in the Flagstaff area and would probably be happy to host and or do some shuttling depending on my work schedule.
Yes- possible. Let me tell you- it felt like near death being in the car for 4 hours after the run. We were in total agony. I'd HIGHLY suggest ice bath and sleep 1 night at the rim lodges before driving back. But yes- that is one way people do it.
Le professeur de trail
The incarnation of peacefulness and patience
I missed the 2014 part
I might be game, we camped last time- kind of nice sitting around a campfire at night
Does anyone do R2R or R2R2R in June? Is it too hot that time of year? I will be in AZ (possibly) in about 3 yrs when I graduate from school (online schooling - centraly located in AZ - the ONLY thing they do in person is ...graduation). I am thinking I should be done by....2016. I was hoping to do a R2R2R as my grad gift to myself. Not sure if graduation is May or June though. Wondering if it's worth it that time of year? Is October the best time of year for it?
typically June would be too hot, but I'm sure it's been done- there is a small window in the spring (March/April) and in the fall (late Sept/Oct) that is typically when most folks run it
http://www.grandcanyontreks.org/preciptemps.htm pay close attention to the Phantom Ranch temps (both the South and North Rim are typically cooler just because of their elevation)
My 16 Year old daughter and I did the R2R2R hike in 2 days. Now that she is older our goal is to run it together. Here is the story. It was the best experience I have ever had! I will never forget it.
Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim June 2011
4:15 am. North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Let’s do this thing.
This was my first thought as Macy and I started down the North Kaibab trail on that early morning of June 2011. My second thought was, “Crud! I left my peanut butter and honey sandwich sitting on the front seat.” My next thoughts can’t be put into words because words like “Amazing” and “Awesome” just aren’t enough. At this moment, I caught sight of the full moon illuminating the whole of the Grand Canyon as the strong, chilled wind raced passed me. I could have stood there for days taking it all in – the Kiabab Limestone seeming to radiate its own light, the North Rim’s forest swirling in the wind, and my 16 year old daughter standing there with mouth agape with the wonder of the view. It felt like we were the only two people on the face of the Earth at that moment. But, if we were going to “do this thing” we had to keep moving. “This thing”, as I refer to it, was a 2 day, self supported Rim-to-Rim-to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon. Down the North Kiabab trail, up the Bright Angel trail, camping overnight on the South Rim, and then down the South Kiabab trail and up the North Kiabab. This hike covered over forty five miles with over 10,000 ft. of elevation gain. Was it too much for us? Had I gone crazy? Well, that remains to be seen?
We began hiking down towards Phantom Ranch, which we would reach at 14 miles. We marveled at Roaring Springs. Just to see all that water pouring out of the rock and diving towards the Colorado River was amazing! Photo op!
OK, let’s keep moving. The north rim is surely something to see. Macy and I had hiked the South Rim trails a few times, but had never hiked the North Kiabab trail. This is something everyone should try to do. Beautiful! We worked our way south through Cottonwood Campground, passed Rainbow Falls, and into “The Box”, a section of the trail several miles long that is confined between high canyon walls . I have heard it described as an “oven” in the heat of the day…..good description. It was still early morning, but it was heating up quickly. By the time we hit Phantom Ranch, we were ready for a break. I was a bit worried because although we had come only 14 miles, we were worn out. Our feet were sore and our legs were trashed from the constant banging of 14 miles of downhill. Decision time. I told Macy we needed to make a decision about going on to the South Rim today or hiking back to the car because once we went on from here; we were committed to the South Rim and a long hike across the whole canyon again tomorrow.
After some soaking of tired feet and a cream cheese bagel, we decided to press on for the South Rim. I had heard you could get the best lemonade in the world at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but I didn’t believe it until that morning. By this time, the temps were soaring above 100 already. Strangely enough, the next 5 miles on the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden’s was probably some of the best miles of the trip despite the uphill grade and the low we were experiencing just before Phantom Ranch – talk about a second wind kicking in. We kept a great pace despite the sand along the river trail and giggled at how we were walking like penguins. Seems silly now, but at 107 degrees, and hours of hiking under your belt, picturing penguins at the bottom of the Grand Canyon tickled our funny bones. Yes, delirium is a sign of heat exhaustion.
At Indian Garden’s we ate a snack, refilled water, and soaked our feet with other hikers that had come down from the South Rim. After allowing our feet about 20 minutes respite from the trail, we pushed on. Our pace slowed considerably given the afternoon heat and the steep incline of the trail. We segmented our “goal destination” into the 3 mile and 1 ½ mile rest stops where we ate a little and refilled our camelbacks and soaked our caps with water. That last mile and a half stretch to the rim had to be the toughest, not because of exhaustion, but the mood that comes with it. Macy and I laughed at the thought of pushing these “rude, down hillers” out of our way when they would walk two and three abreast causing us to have to move aside. Did they not KNOW where we started this morning? Did they not KNOW how far we had come? We are Rim2Rimmers! Get out of our WAY!!!!! But, alas, we were too polite to actually say it out loud, but we sure had a good time imaging how we were going to throw them over the side of each switchback. (Don’t worry folks, this mean and nasty attitude was cured by a big cheese pizza a couple hours later.) Finally, we climbed out of the canyon and arrived at the South Rim at 3pm and rewarded ourselves with an ice cream cone – the universal trophy of champions!
After picking up camping gear from the post office (we had mailed it to ourselves) and setting up our Spartan campsite, we showered (best ever) and headed to the location where all our life long dreams came true……the pizza place. We could have died right there – happily covered with cheese, tomato sauce and coke….but we had to make it back to the North Rim the next day, so enough of that kind of thought! Although my thoughts at that moment were happy ones, I spent the next few hours until sleep came worried about the next day’s hike. Today was tough, but tomorrow would be harder. Back across the canyon, steeper downhill, and 14 miles uphill. Could we do it? These thoughts plagued me, and as a backup, I made a last minute reservation at Cottonwood Campground half way up the North Rim just in case (this also meant we would have the extra weight of our sleeping bags and tent to carry on our reverse trip). We also made a decision to sleep a little later and get a big breakfast instead of heading out at 5 am with energy bars and peanut butter sandwiches. I questioned this decision as it would put us in “the box” during the day’s heat, but Macy needed the rest and energy to start our 2nd day of a marathon hike.
Starting out later proved to be a good decision, but I worried about it as we started down the South Kiabab trail at 7am with 21 miles and over 6000 ft. of elevation to climb. Can we do it? Well, the answer is, you have no choice, your car is over there, silly! So let’s get on with it. If you have never hiked the South Kiabab trail, put it on your bucket list. It is less populated because of the steepness of it and the fact that there is no water on the trail, but well worth it. When planning this trip, I had assumed that the hardest part of the hike would be the uphill climb out. For me, it proved to be the constant downhill. By the time we reached the river on our northward path, we were pooped again. We were also reaching the bottom of the canyon just before lunch, and the hottest part of the day was soon to be upon us just as we would be entering “The Box”, a deep, narrow canyon just north of the river.
We decided to rest, eat and soak our feet for 2 hours before we started our climb. Not a problem, I told myself since we had our reservations at Cottonwood Campgrounds. We opted for more cream cheese bagels and lemonade. I know what you’re thinking……that sounds soooo gross, but at the time, it was wonderful, but as I write this, I can’t imagine how I gagged that down! YUK! We took our picnic down to the creek and laid out our sleeping bags and threw our tired legs into the rushing 52 degree water. We both took a little nap with our feet dangling in the creek, and by the time 1pm rolled around, we were packed up and ready to head out again. We lit out at a pretty good pace and kept it up for a few hours. We must have acclimated to the heat pretty well because the Box was not as bad as I expected even though the temperature was 104*. I was keeping a close eye on my temperature gage and Macy’s intake of fluid and electrolytes. Get ready world, I think we have a future endurance athlete on our hands. We saw several other hikers coming down the trail from the North Rim, but so far, we were the only ones headed up and out. About 30 minutes from the campgrounds, we started talking about camping overnight or busting it all the way to the rim. Tired as we were, we both decided that it sure would be great to sleep in the hotel tonight. It is amazing what thoughts of a hot shower and a soft bed can do for your stamina levels! So, when we got to the campgrounds, we ate our left over pizza that we had stuffed in our camelbacks and refilled our water. We confirmed once more with each other that going on was what we both wanted and then pushed onward up the trail. We told the ranger that we were headed to the rim, and he wished us luck and a good trip. 5pm, and we still had 7 miles to go. We laughed that this was just a Sunday afternoon run like always; but we knew that in Texas our runs didn’t go straight up. The hike up to Roaring Springs was uneventful – if you can call the spectacular view an “un-event”, but the grade and wind began to pick up there, and soon we were dealing with gusts up to 40 to 50 MPH in my estimate. As we climbed the switchbacks, the winds became somewhat frightening as we rounded the corners and the direction changed. Keep in mind we are traveling a narrow trail with deadly drop offs. At one point, I had to drop to my rear because the wind caught my pack and pushed me toward the edge. Macy came around the switchback and looked at me like, “This is not a very good place to take a rest, Mom!” We used caution and slowed a bit, but we knew we had no choice but to keep going because this was no place to spend the night, but after a while the trail turned a bit westward towards the trailhead, and we were out of the direct wind slicing up the main canyon, and things got a bit easier. I say easier because the wind velocity slowed down, but now we were on the steepest part of the trail – the last 3 miles. By this time, I was eyeing my watch because I knew sundown was approaching, so we kept up our steady pace toward the rim. As we rounded corners and climbed switchback, I told myself your goal is to get us out of the canyon by nightfall. Checking my watch, I thought we could do it, but it would be close. Switchback after switchback, climb after climb, the rim was getting closer, we seemed to be inching our way through the layers of rock that make up the Grand Canyon.
At the rock tunnel and last water stop, we checked our water levels and decided to refill a bit. We didn’t want to run out of water one mile from the top. Soon we reached the point where we first gazed at the open canyon under the moonlight. It was hard to believe that was only yesterday…..we had come so far and seen so much. I was struck by the strength and determination of my daughter. Most people can’t take a trip to the grocery store without hearing constant complaints from their children. My sixteen year old has been my constant companion over 45 miles of heat, sand, rocks, sweat, hunger and sore muscles with not much more than energy bars and warm water, and she didn’t utter one complaint. On the contrary, she was a source of wit and giggles throughout the entire journey. Wait, there this one moment when she rolled her eyes at me when I pointed out a very “Earthy” young, male hiker that looked quite available. “Gee, I wonder why, Mom?!? Could be the smell!”
Well, we did make it out of the canyon that day, and we made it before the sun went down, I might add. Did we break any speed records? No, but we accomplished our goal of Rim2Rim2Rim in two days, and we both made some spectacular memories we will never forget. I asked Macy if she was glad we did it. She said, “Yes”. I asked her if she wanted to do it again. She said, “No”. I said, “You know you will want to do this with your own kids about 25 years from now!” She replied with a shake of her head and a smile in her eyes………..“I know!”
R2R2R is on my bucket list. I've been looking for a group to do it with. I would love to do it in Oct 2014.