Thursday March 29, 2012- This was the day we were hiking back out of the canyon. We woke up early, at first light, and set about packing up sleeping bags and tent and backpacks. After a cup of coffee and a breakfast bar, we shouldered our packs and headed out. It was 7:15 am…our bodies were a bit sore from the previous days of hiking and packing…but we felt strong.
Hiking out has it’s own feeling…..you have seen it on the way down…..and have taken your pictures. You know just how long a trek is ahead. The hike out becomes more about the miles under your feet…..than the scenery around you.
We hiked with purpose, and we kept a good pace….Hiking 45 min to an hour….then taking 10 min breaks…...feeling the effort of hiking uphill. And, we drank water….lots of water.
We kept track of the miles…..me silently dreading the steep uphill last section. I knew that it was going to be a difficult effort after 9 miles of ‘packing’. What a feeling to see the end in sight!
And what a sense of accomplishment to look back down at the trail that we had traveled……
On foot….in this beautiful and truly awe inspiring place.
We made it back to our truck at 12:30 pm. 5.25 hours of hiking…..11 miles and 2,000 feet elevation climb. We had done it! And Oh – it was sooo worth it!
First things first…pack OFF…..potty break….lots of water…..then, as we drove off, we scarfed down our peanut butter and bagel! We were starving! And we talked about the experience….
This 11 mile backpack was pushing the limits of our comfort zone. It was longer than we have usually ‘packed’ and we had worried about our ability to handle it (not really our ability to DO it….only how much was it going to hurt). We had been preparing for our upcoming hike down the Grand Canyon from the National Park, and just shortly before had decided to throw this hike in. We felt like we should be in pretty good shape…..so we just decided to ‘go for it’.
Looking back…..we handled the effort really well. We felt strong, but we were pretty well worn out at the end of the day. We were surprised at how quickly we recovered. I think this is one of the big advantages of ‘conditioning’.
We talked about challenges…those planned and prepared for…..and those that just come up.
We faced challenges on this hike, and I faced fear…..and moved through it. I do not feel that I have ‘overcome’ my fears…..but I do know (as I have always known) that I can do whatever I have to do when necessary.
Neither Fred nor I are ‘adrenalin junkies’. We do not crave that rush that comes with extreme sports. But we do get a real sense of satisfaction from pushing our limits. And sometimes it is the only way too see something so absolutely amazing…….