Last week I promised a video blog post. I suspected that I wouldn’t be able to capture the essence of the hike, neither the physical challenge, nor the mental one, through written word alone.
Like childbirth, our brains banish out the worst bits. We forget. It’s the only reason we willingly choose to do it again, right? If we fully remembered every detail of the trauma, the world would be overrun with single-child families.
Oh but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add in at least a slight soupçon of writing to connect some of the dots. Also to apologize for a few things.
On Thursday May 29th at approximately 6:40 am I set out to hike from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River and back along the Bright Angel trail.
I already published many of the details (length, elevation change) of the trail in my oh-shit-I-might-die-doing-this post, so I won’t rehash them here – except to say that while most websites describe the trail as 16.2 miles round trip, some sources say it’s only 15 miles, while others say 19 miles.
Since my FitBit device records my actual movement, I will choose to believe its final readout which tells me that I hiked a total of 19.43 miles.
This hike was brutal. A total grind.
It offered a relentless descent of 4,380′ from the rim to the river. Followed by a relentless climb of 4,380′ back up again.
It also offered the most breathtaking views.
And it offered me perspective.
It humbled me with its cruelty.
And also with its beauty.
The Bright Angel trail could have broken me.
It almost broke me.
But it didn’t.
I’m not broken, just bent.
I will recover from calves so painful that I can’t stand to bear any weight on the balls of my feet.
I will recover from heels missing layers of skin, flesh torn away after blisters filled and then burst.
I finished this hike. And I did it in less than 8.5 hours.
While many hikers traveled parts of the trail that day, only a handful took on the full length of the Bright Angel. Warriors, every one of them.
Please enjoy a glimpse of my journey via my pathetic attempt at videography.
But first, a few notes in the form of apologies:
- I apologize for the poor sound quality. At times my voice barely audible, at other times seemingly shouting.
- I apologize for having to switch from video on the iPhone to video on my Nikon camera, and the resultant difference in video format.
- I apologize for the Blair-Witch-Project-style shaky camera work. Those prone to motion sickness, beware.
And finally, I apologize for my prolific use of the word fuck.
I say it a lot, apparently. And the frequency increases as I get more tired and frustrated. Virgin ears may want to turn the volume down.