Our most challenging hike was South Kaibab Trail. The Grand Canyon has so many layers of color and light. We started out at about 7,000 feet and hiked to 2,700. That is the equivalent of hiking over six miles from Flagstaff weather to Phoenix weather going down hill all the way.
Our endurance never faltered, but from our knees to our feet, we struggled the last three miles to keep our balance. Each time we had to lift our feet over logs was agonizingly painful. We were wobbly, struggling to keep our legs from collapsing beneath us. We found a new respect for this canyon.
The bridge gave us new motivation. We could see the froth of the Colorado River and the narrow green strip where Bright Angel Campground lay under a canopy of trees. We stumbled to the first available campground. I was grateful we had persevered.
by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people. (Colossians 1:11-12, CEB)
The bummer was not being allowed to have campfires. As night fell, we sat eating smoked salmon, dark chocolate covered cranberries, and drinking hot Earl Grey tea on the picnic table. Clouds had begun to coat the sky early in the afternoon, and we read in our tent until body aches and weariness claimed us in a restless sleep.
The one thing you can’t do is to pre-judge hiking out based on how you feel the first day. Motivation and determination are what get you in and out of the canyon. If you decide you can’t make it, rescue is hours from you, if it comes.