Thursday, November 18, 2010
Grand Canyon R2R2R - Part Deux
This past spring I had the opportunity to run the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to rim with a group from the Larchmont Track Club. It was a magical and memorable run, and one that I knew I wanted to do again. Read original post. So when Jared Campbell called several months ago asking if I was interested in joining him for a fall R2R2R run there was only one answer, “consider me in!”
A fairly large group had expressed interest in the November 13th run. But, work, family and health considerations in the end left just four eager participants; myself, Jared, Karl Jarvis and Matt Zinkgraf. We met late the night before in the campground on the North Rim, Jared and I driving down from Salt Lake, Karl and Matt driving up from Flagstaff. The temperature as we crawled into our sleeping bags and tents was a chilly 19 degrees.
By our start time of 7:00 am the day had warmed to a balmy 30 degrees. One of the challenges in running the Grand Canyon is anticipating and managing the temperature change. While we all wanted to wear our tights, we knew that in several hours at the bottom of the canyon the temperature would be in the 60s.
The descent from the North Rim is spectacular. Starting in a ponderosa forest, one quickly drops into the top of Bright Angel Canyon with spectacular vistas of the South Rim. We made quick time down to Roaring Springs where we topped our water and stashed some clothes for the climb back to the North Rim. My favorite part of the rim-to-rim run is the section of trail between Roaring Springs and Phantom Ranch. For the most part you run along Bright Angle Creek, often on trail carved into the canyon wall. From Phantom Ranch we decided to go up to the South Rim via the South Kaibab Trail.
We made good time up the South Kaibab Trail with Jared in the lead, running all but the steepest sections. At Skull Point I opted to turn-around and begin the journey back to the North Rim. Karl and Jared proceeded up to the South Rim.
Once back in the bottom of the canyon I celebrated what might be the last 60+-degree day of the year for me by running with my shirt off. The sun felt good on my back!
The run from the bottom of the canyon back to the North Rim was like a time-lapse onset of winter. For about an hour I ran shirtless. Then, another hour with a short-sleeve shirt. Back at Roaring Springs I needed my long sleeved shirt. And by the time I reached the Rim I needed my gloves again.
As I waited for Jared and Karl in the car, wrapped in sleeping bag to stay warm, I knew that this was likely the last long run I would have on dirt until spring. ☹
Photos Courtesy of Jared Campbell