A taste of the Grand Canyon

In the middle of this month we drove down to Arizona for a weekend in the Grand Canyon. This was Derek and my first time to be at the canyon and typical of my husband, it was not a leisurely weekend trip. Derek planned on running rim to rim to rim of the canyon with 4 others on the Saturday we were there.

We started the drive to the North Rim on Friday unsure of whether or not the run would take place as rain was expected in the area. As we got into Arizona it began to rain pretty hard. It let up enough for us and most of the group to set up camp and then began to continue to pour. We spent Friday evening under a tarp just trying to stay dry! Those running decided they’d wake up and see what the morning looked like before deciding to run.

Saturday morning was rain free initially, so the group set out to run. I decided to catch the sunrise in the canyon and drove to the visitor’s center with another member of those not running to see it. Due to the previous rain and more that was predicted, we were met with a mass of clouds rendering the canyon and the sunrise barely visible. It was still a beautiful sight, just not the one I expected.img_1348img_6527img_6533While Derek ran, I spent the day exploring on my own. I attempted to kill some time in hopes that the cloud cover would burn off by hiking a trail behind the visitor’s center. The cool air and fall trees were easy to enjoy and I got small glimpses of the canyon as I hiked. After grabbing a map from the visitor’s center, I began the drive to Cape Royal. I stopped at the Kaibab trail, the same trail Derek started his run on that morning, and journeyed down a couple miles to get a view of inside the canyon. Getting under the clouds allowed for my first real view of the canyon and to say it is impressive is an understatement. It’s one of those places that pictures do little justice. You have to see it with your own eyes to really grasp the magnitude of how awesome it is.  I only went a little ways down into the canyon, I can’t imagine all that Derek saw spending the entire day going across it and back.img_1376img_1375img_6556img_6554I continued my drive and the finally sun began to push through the clouds and by the time I reached the cape I was met with stunning views of the canyon all around me. I hiked at Cape Royal and then stopped at a viewpoint on the way down and had a little lunch.img_6568img_6582img_1366Around that time clouds began to roll in again and the sky darkened. I stopped at another trail to do some more hiking and running. I got about a mile into the trail and fog begin to come through the trees. There was no one insight. Being alone out there in the eerie weather didn’t sound appealing, so I turned back. It was the right choice because not too long after getting back to me car the rain hit hard again.

I made it back to camp to find others in our group who were there for the weekend but not running huddled again under our tarp. We spent the evening there talking, eating, and trying to stay warm and dry (both were very difficult). Later that evening, myself and one other drove to the head of the Kaibab trail to wait for the group of runners to return. Every now and then, we’d see headlamps coming out from the trail into the parking lot. After about an hour or so, one headlight appeared and walked near to where our car was. It was very dark and I thought the person looked like Derek but wasn’t sure. I heard him whistle at the others behind him, a whistle I know all to well, and knew it was him. They had all made it back and were in great spirits. We piled into cars and headed back to the campsite. Those that ran took time changing and freshening up while the rest of us begin to put some food together for them to eat. We sat around the campfire and listened to the events of the day. It wasn’t too long before everyone crashed for the night.

The next day we packed up and went out for one last view of the canyon. Derek did a short walk with me to Bright Angel point. He pointed out trails and things he saw in the canyon up close. We then said goodbye to the Grand Canyon and made our way home.img_1371img_6593It was a quick trip to a new area, but a lot was accomplished in the time we were there, especially for the one that ran the entire canyon!

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