I can't believe I hiked the Grand Canyon
If y'all have been following along with my last few posts on Instagram, you probably saw that Will and I hiked the Grand Canyon (something I never thought I'd do).
You see, I've been there 5 times now. That's right - five. Each time really with no intention of going back. It's not that I don't appreciate the opportunity and experience of seeing something so magnificent, I just have always been slightly unimpressed. Being on the top of the Grand Canyon (in the National Park/tourist area) is totally and completely different than being inside of it - shocking, I know.
I'll start from the beginning... why have I been there 5 times? Well, my grandparents lived in Arizona when I was little, so I went twice as a kid (once to the North Rim and once to the South). Then in the Summer of 2013 when I completed the 4k for Cancer with the Ulman Cancer Fund my team visited again, since we were so close and many of them had never been before; and honestly once you've biked that far, you might as well. Then 2 years ago, Will and I went on a vacation to Lake Havasu in Arizona where we explored the town, went to see Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and you guessed it, the Grand Canyon (Will had never been before, so we took a detour).
(circa 2002(ish) - July 29th, 2013 - July 17th, 2017 - June 7th, 2019)
This year was a little different. I'll be honest; I did not want to go. Like I said before, I've been 5 times and always been kind of underwhelmed by the whole thing. When you're on top, the Grand Canyon is just so vast and you can see so far that it honestly looks fake. I know that that's supposed to be the beauty of it and that's truly what makes it so amazing, but for me, it was always so intangible - kind of like a painting or a screen saver. Because the rocks on the the other side are so far out, the colors all start to blend together and, for me, I guess I never could really appreciate it.
Not to mention - I'm not a hiker. When I work out, I like to bike, run, or do HIIT workouts. Something that feels like I'm getting my heart rate up and something that has a cardio aspect. I don't like to walk (to workout, or otherwise) because I honestly just don't enjoy it and don't see the point, so hiking never seemed like something I'd like.
Okay I swear I'm done being so negative now....
I have always loved a physical challenge. I like being outside and I like being able to say that I've done things people couldn't believe or wouldn't expect of me; like that I've biked across the country, I taught myself calligraphy, and I've hiked the Grand Canyon, rim to rim.
So when Will's parents asked us to go with them this year, I was very hesitant at first, but ultimately agreed. Hiking from the North to South Rim was always on his dad's bucket list and his mom wasn't able to come all the way to the bottom with us this year, so it was just us; the three musketeers. They had been 9 times before now, I think? 7 or 9, I can't remember - but a lot and only had ever done the South Rim trails; in and out one side. They are hikers. They've hiked some of the tallest points in the world and go on vacations specifically to back pack and see parts of the world you can only travel to by foot - it's awesome, but definitely not the vacations I was used to.
We are so new to hiking that we literally went to REI (and joined the co-op) and spent and ungodly amount of money on brand new hiking boots, poles, clothes, towels, camel backs, lights, sporks, etc. etc. etc. the list goes on. All RIGHT after we just bought our first house.
...that's just fact, not more negativity ;)
Anyway - we were off. One night in Vegas, one night at Jacob's Lake, and 3 days into/out of the Canyon and consider my mind changed.
I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVED. IT.
Honestly; it was so hard towards the end of the first day, has been hard to walk for the last 3 days since being done, and so hard to carry an additional 30 lbs on my back, but I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything. The views were so incredible, I was off the grid and literally inaccessible for 4 full days, and seeing the stars from the bottom of the Grand Canyon was something I'll never be able to describe.
I believe things change and experience are so different depending where you are in life and what you need at the time; and this is exactly what I needed. I wasn't rushing things to be over because of physical pain, I was hoping they'd never end because every corner you turn is a new eco-system, a new scenery, and what seemed to be an entirely new world.
The rocks and views were so vibrant in color you couldn't believe, the plants were gorgeous and incredibly tall - literally mind blowing when untouched by humans, and just being there from 34 degrees and snow on the ground at the top of the canyon to 100+ degree desert at the bottom with the Colorado River rushing past you at every mile, all in the same day. It was something out of a movie. I'm so lucky to have been able to do that with the love of my life and been able to experience something that was so once-in-a-lifetime together.
I missed my Coco puppy, both of my big toes and ankles are still totally swollen and completely bruised - Will's dad called it 'the goth look' (LOL) but I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything. Moral of my story; don't say no to new adventures. Even if they seem 'the same' or like something you've done before, life is what you make it.