Featured Stories…

 

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We all hike for a purpose. For me personally, I hike to clear my head, to spend time in nature on a trail where my thoughts are my own, where I can become closer to God and witness true perspective while “pausing” in gratitude for the simplest of things such as the ability to hear the water flowing from a stream, having the eyesight to watch a condor fly so effortlessly and peacefully in the sky above or being able to feel and breathe in a canyon sunset.

I moved out West a little over a decade ago.  I took the “leap” and centered in on Southern Utah as base camp as I could be to all of the places that light up my soul within minutes to just a few short hours.  These are the places you dream of, that you see on the cover of outdoor catalogs or inspirational posters.  I feel since a child I was being called to the canyons as I had pictures of these desert canyons on my dream wall and as an adult I finally had the opportunity to honor that calling.

Some of my favorite places to hike are of course the trails within the Grand Canyon but there are also many amazing hikes in my backyard such as Snow Canyon State Park and in less than one hour I can be in Zion National Park where I love to take on a day hike of Observation Point or Angels Landing. In the summer when the weather is hot I may head up to Bryce to hike the Fairyland Loop trail or other great hikes in the nearby parks.  When I am not hiking I am usually biking especially when the knees are spent after a long hike.  I simply love being active and outdoors and there is no greater place to do this than here in the canyons of the desert southwest.

As I get older I realize how precious the “moments” are and feel there’s no better moments to chase than the kind that make your heart drop.  These canyons are what make mine drop as they are literally my “prescription” and “formula” to finding my bliss and my dharma.  I strongly feel that time spent on the trail is time spent with your soul.

I hope this website and forum inspire you to take on the “Rim to Rim” hike of the Grand Canyon and may your experience hiking it bring you exactly what you are looking to find.

Happy Hiking!

Michelle

* Here are some photos of a few of my favorite hiking spots here in the desert southwest…

IMG_5175 S. Kaibab Oct IMG_5052 IMG_7247 IMG_4015 IMG_7320 IMG_4042 IMG_4431 copy IMG_4086 IMG_4696 copy IMG_7389 IMG_3892 copy 2 IMG_6945 IMG_7360 IMG_4096 IMG_3831 IMG_3865 Wander copy IMG_6547Snow Canyon copyIMG_6335

 

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  1. A crazy Italian, no plan, and the best 14 hours ever…
    I guess I did everything you’re not supposed to do…
    I’m 56 and I had a permit to hike solo Sept. 21/22 2017 with a night at Bright Angel Camp, but I was at the N Rim (for the 4th time) the week of July 7th, 2017 (just because I love the place and Zion) and here’s what happened… without a plan for it to have happened…
    Quick background…I’m a biker, not a hiker, since I’ve had 5 knee surgeries. I go to parks and such and just find trails. I did Canada to MX in 2013 solo on the bike, so I’m not a rookie camper, but definitely a rookie hiker. I have a cadaver meniscus and lots of other patch work, so I haven’t hiked in decades till last year. I did a 10 mile in 2016 with my son on a flat forest trail in good weather. Nothing since and that was the longest ever for me.
    So…July 6 I biked 50 miles to the east rim and back and the next day thought I would see what it was like to hike down a bit. Like a test for September! Zero expectations.
    So I went to Cottonwood camp from the N rim and back! lol 14 miles. It was 110 degrees at 11:30 AM at Cottonwood, but the whole hike seemed not bad at all and breathtaking in scenery and timelessness. I met some guys down there who just arrived from the S rim. They were camping that day and night there. After I got back to the top, I figured they had walked the same distance as I had that day plus I did a 50 miler on the bike the day before…not exactly rested. All I needed to do was add the 10 miles of slightly downhill from Cottonwood to Bright Angel, so I was happy about my prospects for September. Test went well.
    So…then I started thinking…you don’t need a permit just to keep going and I’m already here for a few days (all the way from Fl). Thinking isn’t my strong point and so it usually ends badly for me.
    I took two days off from being physical, put on my new, real regular size backpack (that I used for the first time), got my trekking poles that I bought (using them for the first time) (man they help the knees), threw in my first aid stuff, an emergency blanket, the rain fly to my tent for an emergency shelter, energy bars, and water/filter, phone, whistle, and departed at 2:45 AM on July 10, 2017 with a headlamp (that I also used for the first time).
    So…how amazing it felt to be all alone in the canyon in the dark (the headlamp was awesome and yes, I brought spare batteries). I would stop just to “hear” the silence. By 6 AM I was at Cottonwood again, this time, just 80 degrees! On I went to Phantom Ranch. Slow, because of descents being much tougher on me than climbing. Got there at 9. Up to Indian Gardens where a little rest was in order, then on to 3 mile house, and as I went I slowed down, not that I wasn’t already slow, to drink it all in, which I always do anyway…I mean, what’s the point, right? It was over too soon. Coming out the top of Bright Angel Trail and then it’s just over…I missed the canyon. I really wanted to be “in” the canyon again. It’s somehow a being that pulls you in and makes you feel like you’re home and that you belong there and always have. Even while it tries to kill you!… Sort of just like family!
    Fortunately, I pre-taped my toes, knowing these non-hiker feet would get trashed, and already having some blisters from the 14 miler two days prior. The tape and “NuSkin” spray works great.
    Trail magic…2 days prior to the hike, I met this Italian fellow at the N rim V Center who just came up from the S rim. He had the biggest pack I’ve ever seen! He had been hitch hiking/hiking/sightseeing since Patagonia! He asked directions to camp, a mile away I knew, so I told him to get in my car. We became good buds and I gave him my rental car to go to Page the day I hiked, with the promise to come bring my car and stay with me at the S rim that night in a place I got lucky to get when I decided to do the hike. What could possibly go wrong? Well, he met a young gal at the N rim camp, who also just did the canyon R to camp to R, and he took her in my car to Page also! (I need to work on my Italian)
    Question: Is it ok to let an Italian guy with no US DL drive your rental car with you not in it, or is it just absolutely everyone else on the planet that you’re not supposed to let drive your rental car without you in it?
    So while I hiked with no way to contact him (he had a Bolivian sim card!!!), some guy I just met had my rental car with a gal he just met very far away, and I simply hoped he would show up at the address I gave him. He did!! I always knew you would, Matteo! We stayed up all night sharing stories and our room looked like a third world laundromat combined with the wreckage of a mobile home park after a twister.
    The net day I drove him all the way to Zion, dropped him in south camp, drove to the LV airport just in time to take off, and now I just can’t wait for Sept 21/22. Can someone drive my car? lol

    • Nat, AWESOME story! LOVED it and so happy your knees held up as the poles are such a help! Happy to hear you are headed back in September. Sounds like you have good karma coming to you!

  2. Colleen Hart says:

    I’ve always wanted to hike the Grand Canyon but never had the opportunity financially. As I approached my 50th birthday and my son approached his 18th, we pledged to make it our “bucket” trip, and we scrimped and saved to make it happen. My son has high-functioning autism,so we knew it would be a challenge. We just completed it last week, as the temperatures soared into the 110s. We completed it with some adversity, having to stop halfway and staying overnight unexpectedly at Phantom Ranch after he experienced heat exhaustion and elevation sickness because he had not fully prepared for the conditions. Bright Angel trail kicked our butts near the end but come Hell and high water, we completed it!

    • WOW! Happy to hear you both made it Colleen and that your son overcame the heat issues. It’s been very hot in the canyon so what you just accomplished is amazing considering what you went through as you guys were lucky. Welcome to the club!

  3. Michael Mills says:

    Hi I’m Mike from North Carolina, I have been wanting to do the Rim to Rim hike for sometime since rafting the Grand Canyon in two trips because of time constraints. I had scheduled May 16 to start from the North Rim. Unable to get backcountry permits or a room at Phantom Ranch I was going straight through, one day. Then on a whim last Thursday I checked for cancellations and luckily I got a dorm room for Monday the 15th of may. Well all my hiking plans went into reverse order, start from the South Rim instead of the North Rim. Thank God for the room. I think I needed the rest and a blister on my heel let me know. Being a flatlander I think the altitude played a part in my ascent of the North Rim but I and a group from Oregon who shared their food with me after I left my lunch at Phantom Ranch, even though I had plenty of snacks, they looked after me like I was family. Plenty of good folks on the trail, and at camp only adds to the experience. Now I want to do it again, but unlike some I’m not trying to set a record. I stop and take photos and try to greet everyone I meet. It’s a southern thing. My hats off to you guys and gals that can do it in 8-9 hours total, you are awesome. Hope to see the Canyon again soon and maybe the new friends I made and maybe make more. What a wonder of God’s hand.

    • Hi Michael,

      Congratulations on your hike and welcome to the club! Happy to hear you were able to get a dorm room at Phantom Ranch as that helps for sure on your first hike and so nice you met so many wonderful people on your hike. We agree, take your time and enjoy all of God’s work! So awesome it’s calling you back so soon!

      Again, welcome to the club!

  4. Phillip Strahin "Phil" says:

    Michelle, Stephanie, and all the members of the Rim to Rim club: Thank you so much for your kind welcome as a new member! I feel that I have a new found family in the Rim to Rim club that I instinctively knew was out there somewhere, and I am delighted to be a member of such a lucky and distinguished group! We are lucky to have had the experience of being immersed in such a wondrous beautiful and peaceful place, and lucky to have the opportunity to do so. My soul sings with contentment and with a new found closeness with my God when I remember actually being there in the canyon, as well as when I was actually there! Just a little more about my background to perhaps allow you to understand me a little better. I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, and lost my mother to childbirth fever at age two. My family consisted of my father and my brother, and we lived in a small country home without any electricity or running water. This was during World war two times, and there was minimal travel then, with what travel was being done was on a bus, and for some a steam driven train. I knew that I had a few uncles and probably cousins, but because of the restricted travel I never got to know any of them. When I was fifteen, my brother was in Korea and my father passed away, and I was suddenly cut adrift to fend for myself and survive however I could. I simply did what I had to do, and with the kindly help of a few folks survived through that time period and came out the other side. But I thought my family to be small and localized in WV and longed for a larger family! I now have two large families, one world wide and huge, and a second one that although much smaller is equally as important to me, and that one is the members of the Rim to Rim Club. I am very proud to be a member of this accomplished and exclusive group! Only within the last decade did I learn that I am of Scottish heritage on both my paternal and my maternal sides, and I am now a proud member of the Clan Strachan Society, as the surname Strahin is a derivative of the name Strachan. This name is recorded as far back the year 1060, and Strachans of all similar names are scattered worldwide. I was privileged two years ago to be a member of the 20 person electoral body to elect a new clan chieftain after nearly 180 years of absence! Now to the remainder of this missive: In 2002, My nephew Jay Elias and I backpacked from the North rim to the South rim of the Grand Canyon national park. This story is recorded elsewhere, probably in the members section for any who might care to read it. I am looking forward to getting to know some more of you as the opportunity presents itself. You are now my family as well, and I am proud to be a member of this group! Thank you for reading this! Best regards and wishes to all, and happy hiking! “Phil”

    • Phil, your story is so inspirational as you are the epitome of our philosophy to keep on keeping on! So happy to hear that this club means so much to you as you are around like minded people that have a love for the outdoors, the trail and the canyon. Most of us head into the canyon and this hike for our own reasons and purpose and if lucky enough, we come out as better people with more perspective and patience for this thing called life. Welcome to the Rim to Rim Club and family!

  5. Stephanie says:

    My Dad is an Eagle Scout and former Scout Master. I remember him and my little brother always heading off to another camp or hike when I was a kid. I NEVER had any interest in any of that back then. In fact, I was never an active person and held mostly sedentary jobs until 4 years ago when God miraculously moved me to the world of teaching. I lost 40 pounds my first year of teaching and discovered the gift activity and movement are to your body! I got a bike and began cycling that first summer off. I realized how much I loved being outdoors and being healthy! Last March, my Dad had a heart attack and went through quad-bypass surgery. Grand Canyon R2R had been a bucket list item he’d long ago removed because he never thought he’d be healthy enough to do it. He recovered beautifully from surgery, lost 65 pounds and realized about 6 months post surgery he was healthy enough to tackle the Grand Canyon! I jumped at this chance to go with him! Our crew grew to 6 people – all of us but my Dad were total hiking rookies! He planned an awesome trip for us and we just completed our R2R this past Wednesday! We took a 4 day hike down the North Kaibab and camped at Cottonwood day 1, Bright Angel day 2, Indian Garden day 3, and hiked out on day 4 via Bright Angel Trail. Words can not describe this experience. It was both the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most rewarding. There were times in the canyon when I’d be completely overwhelmed by emotion taking in the beauty and majesty I saw! I’ll never forget standing in the Colorado River and thinking, “Holy cow! I’m standing in the Colorado River at the BOTTOM of the Grand Canyon!”. You can not experience the depths of the canyon and come out the same person. I told my Dad I’m certain I left a piece of my heart down there somewhere and will have to go back someday to try to find it. It truly was a trip of a lifetime!

    • Stephanie,

      Your story melts our hearts. First, the comeback of your father from quad-bypass surgery and your commitment to becoming active and now having the ability to share this experience with him = WOW! Welcome each of you to the club as we are proud to have you in it as you just hiked the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim! Happy to hear you had such a great experience. Don’t worry as the canyon will “call” you back and don’t be surprised if you have the tug to hike it again!

  6. nathen sinclaire says:

    In 1969 I worked for the Kolb brothers studios and as such I lived at the canyon for about 3 years. During that time I have done many hikes up and down the canyon and it was during a time when there were no special clothing or shoes available. We just hiked the canyon because there wasn’t much else to do.

    On a recent trip to the canyon I noticed the many many changes however the canyon seems to remain eternal and I think to a certain extent the reason the canyon calls to so many of us it is our way of getting in touch with the journal.

    I wish everyone many safe and fulfilling journeys into the canyon and may they always find what it is they seek

  7. Marianne Schroeder says:

    In the fall of 2013, over a two day period, I hiked the Grand Canyon from Rim2Rim2Rim with a dozen or so other people. I went with the Project Athena Foundation group. We started at the South rim, hiked all day to the North rim and the following day, we hiked back to the South rim. This was an awe inspiring journey, as we were doing this charity hike for women who had suffered some major setback in life (such as cancer or some other life altering disease). This hike was on their bucket list in their road to recovery and the funds we raise help pay for their trip. We go as their support group.

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