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Grand Canyon hike training

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The challenges of getting ready for my hike in the Grand Canyon next fall.

Well, it's getting down to nitty-gritty time, and I'm feeling WAY behind in my training. Only ten-and-a-half weeks until we do the Tanner and Beamer trail on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. The Tanner trail looks to be quite tough. Then we also have a permit to do a couple of days on the Nankoweap from the northern rim, billed as the most challenging hike in the Canyon. Bob Ribokas suggests that one be at peace with one's maker, "in case hiking the Nankoweap means that you meet he or she sooner than you may have expected." Yikes!!! So, not only physically challenging, but I figure I'll be scared out of my mind too! Why am I doing this exactly??? Gotta say sometimes I wonder! I must be completely crazy!

I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon - it is on my list of things to do before I die, so I am simply thrilled that that dream will happen this fall. (Hopefully the dying thing will happen many years AFTER experiencing the Grand Canyon - my dream is not to die WHILE seeing it!) And to be able to immerse myself in that ecosystem for more than a week will be wonderful - IF I can keep the fear thing down to a manageable level. I am SO looking forward to it. But, I better be ready to carry a 50lb pack downhill for about 8 to 10 hours in a row, as that is what will be required that first day! I'm pretty good on uphills - yeah, my heart rate goes up and I feel my backside working, but it really is no problem. I'm not so great at the downhills. After a while, the good-ol' knees start to buckle, and my quads turn to jelly.

I was doing really well with my weight training in the fall, and was making great progress. Then the holiday season happened, followed by an accident in the family in January, and well, the training program fell by the wayside. Now things are back to normal, and I spend my Sundays hiking. I must get the bones, tendons and ligaments used to carrying heavy load for hours at a time.

Thankfully there is no shortage of beautiful hiking trails here in the Pacific Southwest of British Columbia. I do love walking through the rainforests of red cedar and hemlock, eating the huckleberries and salmon berries before the bears get them, (hope I don't run into a bear!) admiring the moss-covered logs and rocks and marveling at how it is possible that a tree can grow out of a rock. Last Sunday we saw a grouse and her 3 chicks! And there are plenty of mountains to climb (and descend) with beautiful views over Indian Arm or Howe Sound, or even overlooking the City of Vancouver and environs. And en route to Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain are hundreds of other stunning trails that lead up to glacial lakes and alpine meadows. I am indeed blessed.

The challenge for me is to try and walk in nature and not through nature, when right now it is all about the hours on the trail, and the amount of weight in the pack to make sure I get a training effect. I also find that I don't feel like doing a 6 to 8 hour hike every weekend. Somehow this "training for the Grand Canyon hike" has turned into a job. I must get out there every chance I get. Last weekend we did a 6 hour hike, of which we did probably 2 hours steep climb, and 2 hours steep decent. My quads were sore, and I did not have a whole lot of weight in the pack. Just goes to show me how far I need to go! So, I guess tonight I'll head off to the gym and do some deep squats, balance lunges, some 1 leg squats on a bosu, and maybe when I'm done that I'll finish off my quads on the leg extension machine.


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Comments (3)

Submitted by Grand Canyon Hiker (not verified) on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 8:02am.

I just got back from a rim-rim hike at the Grand Canyon, and I'm planning a return for next March '08.  As you know, you have to apply for a permit and give three choices.  Well my second choice will be the Tanner to Beamer to the Little Colorado River confluence.  Sounds like that's what you are doing.  My first choice is Clear Creek.  Anyway, I recommend that along with your training, you take the time to read up on the Grand Canyon's geology.  If you love the Grand Canyon, you'll love reading about how it was created.  Truly fascinating.  I recommend Hiking the Grand Canyon's Geology by Lon Abbot & Terri Cook.  It explains the Grand Canyon's geology in layman's terms.

As for training, try air squats, bleachers with your heavy pack on, and definitely long hikes of at least 8 to 10 miles incorporating hills, mountains, or bleachers along the way. 

You can check out my blog,  I will be updating hopefully starting today or tomorrow with a report of my most recent trip, including pictures and all.

 Have a great one, and hope to keep hearing about your preparations and the actual trip.  If you need any information, try me, I might be able to help.

Submitted by Vreni Gurd on Sat, 07/21/2007 - 10:56am.

Thanks for the book tip - I'll look that up, as well as your blog. Looking forward to reading about your recent trip! What are air squats? Are they jump squats?


Vreni Gurd

Health and Vitality Coach

Submitted by Air Yeezy (not verified) on Tue, 05/25/2010 - 2:33am.

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by Air Yeezy

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