I am not what you might call an avid hiker. Neither is Ryan. When hiking we rely entirely on translating and applying running endurance, basic first aid knowledge and general know. Our logic being, “If I can run twenty miles, then I can certainly hike for 6 hours over 8,000 feet of elevation change. Right?” Sometimes this approach works well, sometimes it doesn’t. Like the time we nearly got stranded without water on a trail in Yosemite National Park. We really should’ve learned our lesson by now, but whenever we find ourselves in a beautiful locale and we hear a tip about a difficult trail that we “just have to see,” we give it a whirl.
When we arrived at the South Kaibab Trailhead and saw a sign warning against dehydration by depicting a 27 year old 3:20 Boston marathoner who died on this very trail last year. The warning seemed directed right at us — I mean, the sign may as well have been addressed to us by name. Nevertheless, we descended onto the trail and hiked out to Cedar Ridge. We had planned to go further, but feeling spooked by that sign and ever aware of the midday heat, we made a smart decision and turned around with plenty of time (and water) to get out of the canyon by night fall.
All the cliches about the Grand Canyon apply here: vast, awe inspiring, sweeping panoramas. This was our first time venturing into the canyon and seeing the red rock up close was incredible. The warning sign at the trailhead provided a bit of foreshadowing, as our hike quickly introduced us to the harshness of the elements within the canyon. The sun was unrelenting and as the wind picked up during our descent we quickly found ourselves with covered in a coat of red dust. One gust of wind was so strong that we had to lean against the rock face for fear we would be knocked over. Once the wind died down, we hiked up and out of the canyon. The trail ends with a series of switchbacks which we were not sad to see end. Once we reached the top, we plopped down in the shade of a tree and sipped our camelbacks, feeling glad to have heeded the sign’s warning and vowing to be a bit more conscious on future hiking endeavors.