Rim to Rim
In October, me and a group of friends hiked Rim to Rim. I love seeing what my body can accomplish. I also love being outdoors and the Grand Canyon has become top of my list.
My wive and I with friends drove to Jacob Lake Inn and stayed the first night. Then drove to the North Rim early the next morning. That morning I was shocked at how many hikers were starting out and how you could see all the people on the trail with their headlights creating a lit up snake down into the Grand Canyon. I bet there were 300 hikers starting out hiking down the North Kiabab Trail.
The weather was overcast and rainy and in the high 40’s when we started out. It was perfect. Down at the bottom of the canyon, 5781 feet from the top of the North Rim, the weather was in the low 80’s. As we finished up we would lose about 10 degrees every 1200 feet of elevation gain. At the top of the South Rim that evening it was back to 50 degrees. It is surprising the various types of vegetation you will find on the trail. Desert and dry to green and lush. The river that day was a muddy brown because of all the rain and run off. Some days the river is turquoise and clear.
The loving wives were our support team. They drove the cars around from the North Rim to the South Rim enjoying some stops along the way. They mentioned the high altitude forest on the North Rim being dark and moody perfect for an October drive. On their way to Marble Canyon along highway 89 there is a defined line where high altitude forest ends and you drop into low desert with tall red cliff walls. Making several stops along the way to the south end, we almost beat them there.
Before I left a patient was saying my son will be on the river guiding a group at the same time as you, if you see him say hi. What are the odds of that? I would have to be crossing the bridge at the exact same time her son would be going down the river. Well the timing was almost perfect and I did get to say hi to her son. His group was stopped and were on a small hike when I ran into him on the trail just past the bridge. I wish we had a photo. I was so shocked to see him and telling him that his mom said that he would be down here on the river that the photo didn’t cross my mind until I had walked away catching up to my group.
The second crazy run in is my old missionary companion. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint where we served together in the Seoul South Korea Mission 30 years ago. This guy comes walking up and says are you Chad Collard? I knew exactly who he was. It’s a good thing we both aged well and were recognizable. Looking good my friend!
Throughout the day we made several stops and enjoyed an hour long lunch. We starting hiking at 5 am and finished the trail at 4:30 pm. Sitting at the top of the trail waiting for the rest of the group it was fun to see how happy people were to finish and to cheer them on. The sense of accomplishment to each person was fun to see. My wife turned into the trail head photographer as each group would ask her to take their group photo.
That night we stayed on the South Rim and the next day we took the long way home. We made several stops along the Grand Canyon overlooks. Looking at a birds eye view of the hike is impressive and allows you to reflect on where you started out and where you finished.
We drove back up to Marble Canyon and walked across the bridge. The river is a 400+ feet down. You can see how the Paria River has already muddied the Colorado river just a few miles down from Glen Canyon Dam. Then we drove back home along one of my most favorite highways, Highway 89. Thank you to my friend for inviting me. It was a great trip. All the many miles I have put into the Grand Canyon this was my first Rim to Rim.
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