We’re just under 48 hours away from our rim-to-rim-to-rim adventure of the Grand Canyon, and things have gotten much more interesting in the last day. I spent yesterday afternoon trying to prepare my lungs and body for the heat of the dessert with a 4 mile run around a Scottsdale neighborhood and local high school track. Its obvious how much tougher the 103 degree heat is on my Midwest-trained body. But all of that training is suddenly become irrelevant, as we pulled up the weather forecast for the North Rim. I’ll let the graphic do the storytelling for me.
Not only are these temperatures much lower than we’ve been expecting but we’re now preparing to get to winter temperatures through the evening, as long as the 30’s. My mind keeps going back to a scenario early on Monday morning as I was zipping up my backpack in my bedroom back in Columbus. I looked at my waterproof rain jacket, pondered if I should throw it on a carabiner, then laughed at myself for thinking that a desert hike would require a rain jacket. Watch me as I eat my own words at this very moment. (gulp). I’m suddenly thinking through ponchos and jackets, trekking pole buckets, and long sleeve options. I’ve got a tub full of gear perfect for this weather back at home; my inner Boy Scout is shaking his head at me while holding a pinewood derby car in his hand.
Overpacking vs. Underpreparing. It’s on the forefront of my mind as I look over my packing list over and over and over. We’ve been following our hydration cues to a T, drinking 4-5 liters of water every day and spending 3x more time in facilities. I’ve gotten much more used to the gels and protein bars that I’ve been using and am putting a halt to the my typical diet of jalapenos, spicy foods, and the things that are likely to destroy my stomach in a day or two.
I’ve had a few friends and family members ask me why we choose to do these types of things. It hardly sounds like a vacation compared to an all-inclusive resort or a beach town with buffets and ice cream shops on every corner. While my mind has been completely absorbed by this weekend, my heart is already pumping in anticipation for what is about to come. Even as I woke up this morning, I imagined what it would feel like the morning after hiking the entire canyon. Will I be able to feel my legs? It’s highly doubtful. But those views, though.
photo credit: http://www.thecanyon.com/