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Grand Canyon Hike Remembered


Saturday, November 10, 2012

As the 5% Fall Challenge makes a "virtual" trip to the Grand Canyon, I remember back to a hike I made in March of 1984 with my 10-year old son. It was a trip I'll never forget.

We were to hike down the South Kaibab trail, walk along the river, and hike back up the Bright Angel trail (15.8 miles total distance). This is a hike not recommended in a single day, but I was confident my son and I could do it with no problem.

We started out early in the morning at a comfortable temperature of 56 degrees. By the time we reached the river (almost 5,000' change in elevation), it was 82 degrees. As a former Boy Scout, I was prepared for anything that could possibly arise (or so I thought). Relaxing at the bottom with my feet in the water, I slipped on a jagged rock when I tried to stand up - leaving about a 3" cut on the bottom of my foot. No problem, I cleaned the wound, put "mole skin" around it, and covered the cut with gauze and tape.

Then we started the hike up... My sore foot made the hike very difficult and my son was actually having to wait on me in places. All of a sudden, the weather took a turn for the worse - the temperature dropped and it started to rain. No problem, I pulled out the rainjackets I brought. Then it began to hail and we had to "scrunch" under a rock ledge to keep from getting pummelled too badly. As the temperature dropped some more, the hail turned to ice and snow, and we continued our hike out. I, obviously, didn't see the weather forecast - a critical mistake on such a long hike. I had become drenched from all the wet weather, and was getting chilled as the temperature dropped below freezing. To make matters worse, I was still hiking slow from my foot injury. By the time we finally reached the top (just before dark), it was 22 degrees, and I am certain I had hypothermia - it took several hours to get warmed up - even sitting in the car with the heater on. But I felt good!

Why did I feel good? Because we had done it! Despite everything that could possibly go wrong, we still finished the hike! I learned some very valuable lessons that day. First you need to be better prepared for any difficult undertaking. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Second, it taught me a great lesson about handling challenges in life overall. Never give up when life gets tough - you may have setbacks along the way, but you can reach your goals if you just keep going. The trip may seem slow at times, but if you get there, who cares!

Good luck to all of you in your journey to a healthier lifestyle!


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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KALISWALKER 4/29/2014 12:33PM

    Bill thanks for your great story. I will keep it in mind when I am preparing for a hike. On the west coast the weather can be so changeable.

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JSTETSER 5/12/2013 4:45PM

    Amazing!
I hope to hike the Grand Canyon one day.

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IMEMINE1 12/25/2012 10:09PM

    Great blog. Great determination. Thank you.
I added you as a friend as well.
Keep Smiling.

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SHERIO5 11/28/2012 8:56AM

    Great lessons here! emoticon

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MLKDUD 11/11/2012 5:45PM

    That's an awesome blog!!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/11/2012 12:52PM

    Sometimes memories of difficult situations are the best kind. This blog is very inspirational both for the way you and your son were able to overcome adversity together and for the lessons learned about dealing with challenges in life. Thank you for sharing this.

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DAWN14163 11/11/2012 12:34PM

    I read this yesterday and can't believe I didn't comment (or perhaps I pressed the wrong button - I'm a bit technically challenged!)
Anyhow, I wanted to say that it sounded like a great adventure to share with your son. Wonderful that he remembers it too! emoticon Happy memories, hey? emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 11/11/2012 12:22PM

    Great journey. I should do the same path down memory lane with my visits to Agra and Taj Mahal.

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SVELTEWARRIOR 11/11/2012 12:18AM

    Now that was an adventure!!!!!!!! Thank you for reminding me not to give up.

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TX_DAD 11/10/2012 9:03PM

  It's hard to believe that was almost 30 years ago. Thanks for the memory, Dad.

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PPELTON 11/10/2012 5:50PM

    Bill what an amazing adventure. I too was an Explorer scout and can relate to your hike 100%. Your ending suits OUR ability to plan and to never give up no matter what challenges we are faced with along the way.
Thank you for sharing and good luck with your virtual hike in the grand Canyon. I am sure that it will not be as amazing as the one you took in 1984!

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BEARGODDESS 11/10/2012 5:18PM

    Lol! I see a lot of similarities between your hike in the Grand Canyon and my weight loss! Lot's of set-backs and unanticipated weather changes, but we do need to keep going, no matter what. Good analogy!!
On another note: Wow! That was a wild hike!! Sounds like a Jon Krakauer book! I'm glad you and your son made it out of there in one piece, but it DOES sound like a great experience to have accomplished together!

Thanks for sharing the story with us! emoticon emoticon

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