Cait's Blog

Rim to Rim to Rim

Over a decade ago, a friend of mine mentioned something called "Rim to Rim to Rim".  At the time, it sounded like one of those "That's INSANE!  Buuuuuuut....." ideas.  Shortly thereafter it was packed away and stacked in the back of my mind in the "maybe someday" box, where it quietly waited to be stumbled upon and reconsidered.  Fast-forward to autumn 2016 and the event search for 2017.  With the goal of racing/completing/competing in 17 events over the course of 2017, I wanted to take on some challenges that had been eschewed while I single-mindedly pursued ironman racing.  The aforementioned box was dusted off, torn open, and sorted through, and Rim to Rim to Rim was tentatively added to the "17 in 2017" list.  First, I wanted to complete "Rim to Rim" (or my version of it), using that experience to determine if I could be ready for the double by early fall.

This past spring I ventured into the Grand Canyon for the first time.  And it was soul rattling (for me, anyway).  I knew before I'd even completed the ascent back to the South Rim that I wanted to go back; that I needed to go back.  I wanted to experience more of it, and I wanted to bring people with me.  There are several folks with whom I knew this space would connect; who I knew would be excited for and changed by the adventure.  Foremost on this list was mom dukes.  As soon as I got cell service, I called her and we began planning my return/her first trip....

To make it even more special, we stayed in a tipi:

And started during the predawn hours following the night of the Harvest Moon...

I may have stumbled a few times (possibly rolling my ankle roughly 11 minutes in), but experiencing the moonset & sunrise from within the Canyon was well worth the 2:45 am alarm!

On this trek, I learned how different the scenery of the North Rim is from that of the South Rim.  There are very few trees along the South Kaibab Trail.  This is the portion of the trail that leads from the South Rim down to the river, at which point it becomes the North Kaibab Trail.  As you progress along the NKT, however, and begin the ascent toward the North Rim, your arid, dusty surroundings are infiltrated by a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees. The intense colors of the fall foliage were spectacularly motivating (and blessedly distracting - I may or may not have skipped a water stop and wound up really thirsty)!

(That shade was AMAZING!)

Progress report from the North Rim:

Thank goodness I learned that "refill your camelback WHENEVER you can" lesson on the way out, because things got toasty on the return trip. 

Left-hand thermometer is in the shade; right-hand is in the sun:


Mom finished her roundtrip journey from the South Rim to the Ribbon Falls bridge in about 10 hours.  And then she waited...

And waited.  Just over 12 hours after our 4 am start, I poked my head up over the South Rim.  I'd spent the final hour or so of my hike chanting the same four, positive words to myself to keep myself moving, and was beyond ecstatic to see mom's face.

Exhausted & elated, we shared the stories of our concurrent adventures.  AND began our search for food, drink, and a bottle opener.

Thank you, mom!  That was awesome!

And, as always, thank you to Rudy Project, ASICS, and Betty Designs for their support!

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Rim to Rim to Rim by Cait Snow  on  November 04
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