I decided I wanted to hike the Grand Canyon for my 32nd birthday. After completing this hike I realized there is no way to properly train your muscles for this hike, unless you just do the stair master for 9 hours at a time. My calves have never felt pain like they did during (and after) this hike. It was mentally and physically exhausting but also absolutely amazing at the same time. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do that hike again but I’m glad I did it and I can check it off my bucket list.
I completely understand why the NPS tells you to not go to the bottom and back up in the same day. Since we could not get a camping permit, we did the hike in one day. My husband and I started at 5:30 am and finished 9 hours later. In comparison to most people, I think we are pretty fast hikers. We went down the South Kaibab trail, down to Phantom Ranch and then went up the Bright Angel trail. We hiked a total of 20 miles and I burned 3,200 calories during the hike.
Looking back at the hike there were definitely areas I could have been better prepared for. For instance, when we got to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, all I ate was an apple (80 cals?) and decided I was ready to head up. At about 4.5 miles from the top I couldn’t catch my breath, I was dehydrated and had no energy. We stopped so I could eat and put some electrolytes in my camelbak to help re-hydrate. While we were trying to open my camelbak to add an electrolyte tablet, we dumped half of my water into my back pack… which then dumped all over me after I put it back on. Hiking when your pants are soaking wet was terrible. The wind was pretty intense so my legs were frozen but my upper body was warm. It was very uncomfortable to say the least.
If you are interested in doing this hike, I’d recommend doing one million calf raises every day before the hike, haha! But seriously,… your calves will take a beating.
Since we started this hike in the dark and watched the sunrise, we got some amazing pictures. Check them out, tell me what you think!
Has anyone else ever hiked the Grand Canyon?
“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”