Friday
May212010

Grand Canyon Adventure

Headed to the Grand Canyon today for an adventure 12 years in the making.  In 1998 I was on a team of professionals who had the rare opportunity to contribute our time and talent to rethinking of the walking conditions on both the north and south rims of Grand Canyon National Park.

Luminaries with national reputations were assembled to offer alternatives to these car choked public spaces.  Led by Jeff Olsen of New York, Chuck Flink, Bob Searns, Dan Burden, Andy Clarke, Mark Fenton, me and others spent time exploring, learning, talking with park staff, planning, drawing and proposing options.  Today a couple of those options have been adopted, funded and built.  And in the process the team bonded into a close cadre of friends.

In 1998 I never went more than about 200 yards off the rim of the canyon.  It intimidated me to think of the journey down to the river and back.  Dehydration, snakes, heat, 5,000 feet elevation loss and gain over 14 miles of Kaibab trail.  Not for me.  But that Mark Fenton, crazy race walking health nut, influenced me with tales of going rim to rim and back in some 17 hours during his prime.  Watching him prance around almost effortlessly in and out of the canyon during those consulting trips made me feel old and envious.  

Well since then I have climbed lots of mountains, got in shape (mostly), learned a lot about trail running and middle-age athelete capabilities.  Two years ago in February I ran Bright Angel down to Phantom Ranch and back in a day.  So I think I am ready for my own rim to rim to rim challenge.  Saturday down Kaibab and up to the north rim.  Steak dinner and lodge room.  Sunday down to the river and back up Bright Angel. 

Sounds like fun.