Chasing Moments…

Chasing moments…

This is what LIFE is all about. I have been blessed to chase some great moments this year to include many of my favorite trails as well as those with WATER as one comes to appreciate water in every sense of the word when living in the desert Southwest!

Having a basecamp in Southern Utah affords me the opportunity to jump in the van to head to the mountains for necessary relief from the heat of a desert summer.

I headed up to Grand Teton National Park last month and Lake Tahoe (Sierra Nevada trails) this past week. It’s so refreshing to take some LAKE HIKES in the summer! One of my favorites in Lake Tahoe is the Rubicon trail which runs right next to Lake Tahoe.

Whether it is a mountain, a lake or a desert hike, the trail is the place that my soul feels most at peace. I can reflect on life while pausing to truly show gratitude and appreciation to the creator of the universe for the beauty that surrounds me. Even the remote drives to some of these places provides time to think and time to get away from screens to simply be in the moment!

I purchased a Ford transit van last year and made a bed in the back with a gear rack above it stocked and ready to escape into the great outdoors in a moment’s notice. I just added an SUV tent to provide some additional space while allowing ventilation to breathe in campfires and mountain air at night!

Each and every time I have the opportunity to get on a trail and in nature I feel like the richest person in the world as I get to spend time with God and time with my soul. I do believe in a world of so much chatter, the trail can provide a quiet peace that I believe many are seeking.

Here are some photos of the places the trails and my van have taken me the past few months. The GIFT in all of this is the TIME to simply and peacefully breathe in LIFE.

I hope you are able to get out on a trail soon to chase some moments and find your quiet peace.

Michelle

 

 

 

Waypoints…

Waypoints…

A waypoint is a reference point that helps us know where we are and where we’ re going. Basically any single specific location. A waypoint can be a specific part on the trail like on South Kaibab where the beautiful tree is. On a GPS if you save that location you are making a waypoint.

This past weekend was a blissful and soulful time at the Grand Canyon. I took the trip solo (which I often do) only because at this point in my life I crave some necessary solitude so I can re-calibrate my inner compass allowing myself permission to hear my inner voice and re-connect with spirit. I write in my book about learning how to make YOUR voice the loudest in your head. The KEY is to ALLOCATE the time in the places that allow this to happen.  There’s no better place to do this than the hiking the Grand Canyon!

The Grand Canyon, and specifically the inner corridor trails, have a special place in my heart and my mind because you literally SEE up close and personal a perspective of something greater than anything you can comprehend and those well marked trails allow you time to truly go within and think and feel the things that “tug” your heart.

The Grand Canyon takes your breath away and hiking it wakes up your soul, literally. I have hiked Rim to Rim and day hiked the inner corridor trails quite a few times so I can pick out certain waypoints that resonate with me. Trust me, the entire trail makes me feel alive, but there are specific waypoints that create memories in my head. I can look at a photo of a waypoint and know exactly how I was feeling and what I was thinking. Think of waypoints as saved locations. Here are a few of my favorite waypoints with regard to the Grand Canyon and the trails…

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Wave” of Life…

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The “WAVE” of Life…

The Wave is located within the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness (Arizona) and is administered by the BLM. A day-use permit from BLM is required to visit the Wave. Access to the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area is limited to just 20 permits per day. Did I just say 20 permits per day? Yes, needless to say people try for years for that “lucky” day.

August 20, 2016 was my lucky day. I have wanted to visit the Wave since I moved to Southern Utah 11 years ago. Similar to hiking Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon, these kinds of “wants” were beyond heart tugs. These canyons of the southwest have a piece of my soul. So much so that I truly feel that I had the calling years ago when I would see dream like images of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, etc. in magazines. It was as if these places were not real. I soon found out they were and my life changed in 2005 when I would take the leap to find my way into all of them.

The Wave was an interesting hike like no other. While the Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon is well marked the Wave hike is not. You must follow a map provided with your permit and/or hire a guide to go along with you. One must HIKE SMART as you could be in for a big mistake if you are ill prepared as you are hiking mostly on sandstone where temperatures can reach 120 degrees in the heat of summer.

I found myself feeling like I was in the outskirts of “Bedrock” from my early days as a kid watching the Flintstones! The sandstone buttes were awe-inspiring. The anticipation of hiking up to the Wave and touching this formation of what wind, sand and time has built and seeing God’s artwork up close and personal was priceless.

We enjoyed the three-mile hike leading up to the Wave but the time spent in and around the Wave was something truly special. Since only 20 people are out there per day one is offered precious time to simply spend enjoying this geological wonder in solitude.

What I found amazing was the time I spent simply just enjoying it all as if the innocence of a child was back and I could smile knowing I was living out my dream of being in the photos of the places that inspired me so young in my life.

There was one particular moment when I became one with the Neon Buttes (just east of the Wave) when I felt the happiest I have been since hiking Rim to Rim (again) this past May. I could not contain my smile as there was no other place in this world I craved to be than right there where I was.

Isn’t it ironic how now as an adult these canyons and these trails can bring such childlike enjoyment? It’s as if we, for just a moment, can let go of expectations and simply just “be” allowing ourselves permission to take in this thing we call life again the way I believe God wants us to experience it.

This has been a comeback year literally and figuratively for me. On the “to do” list post knee surgery was to hike some of my favorite hikes (beyond those in my beloved Snow Canyon State Park).  On the list were Observation Point (Zion), West Rim Trail (Zion), Angels Landing (Zion) the Fairyland Loop Trail (Bryce), and of course another Rim to Rim hike (Grand Canyon); however, if I was lucky enough to achieve the “dream season” I would cap it all off with a hike to the Wave. God blessed me with all of those wishes and more this year leaving me abundantly grateful for the life I have been granted out here amongst these canyons and the steps back to necessary peace and perspective.

May each of you grant yourself necessary time “off” this season from the expectations of the world and find your way to a trail or a canyon or a mountain that tugs your heart and soul like these canyons do me. I like to call the days spent on the trail my “gratitude” time as there is no place I would rather be and to have that kind of happiness in one’s life seems to be the best gift in the world.

Peace, love, health and happiness to each of our beloved Rim to Rim Club® members this season and here’s to riding the wave of life one “hiking” step at a time.

Michelle

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* Here are some pictures from some of my hikes this past year.

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Soul Searching…

 

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Well, it’s been a few weeks since my May 20th solo one-day Rim to Rim hike and during the period before, during, and after the hike much “soul searching” has been done.

In August of last year I had another knee surgery. The knees and my surgeries are a consequence of a lifetime of being active and playing competitive sports very hard (i.e., pounding the body) and a few dives here and there. The goal going into the knee surgery in 2015 was to get the knee back for a spring 2016 one-day Rim to Rim hike with a dear friend of mine. It’s amazing how life and the plans we make are sometimes thrown some serious curve balls along the way.

During my training for the hike (and recovery from the knee surgery) I took baby steps which meant pool workouts which slowly led into bike and weight work-outs then back on to the Stairmaster and finally taking on full fledged training hikes. I was getting stronger every day and felt so ready for the May hike.  I was also strong mentally as I would be heading into my book launch back home in Pennsylvania along with the opportunity to deliver some key motivational speeches for my sister program (Go Girl Futures Program®).  These events would all happen before the hike and for some reason training helps inspire me which in turn helps me to inspire others and all of this allows me to become mentally strong.

Well, a curve ball happened as my buddy that I was going to do the hike with was diagnosed with cancer in April. I was having second thoughts about doing the hike. I prayed on it and came to the peaceful decision to do the hike solo (as to not replace my buddy with another hiker). I wanted to go into canyon alone to release some prayers for her and other friends that were battling obstacles and take my friend’s spirit with me.

What I didn’t realize is that I needed the hike just as much for my own reasons. You see, since my mother passed in 2013, I have been fighting the good fight to keep my soul on its path. I felt the past few years I was dealt some tough blows (like many) and I strongly feel that without hiking, biking and having a true sense of purpose, my positive outlook on life would be put to the test (and it was) but training for the hike and staying active became the ultimate formula and prescription.

I realized during this time how much my faith in the Lord has carried me through the bumps in the road. I am non-denominational so I find much of my spirituality in nature.  On that May solo one-day hike I truly felt like God carried me and let me release some of the weight of the world I had been carrying on my back the past few years (the weight was also literally lifted off me at the finish when I reached the top of South Kaibab;).  I finished the hike, but this time more than any other time hiking in the canyon, I was extremely exhausted, yet I felt more alive than ever. It’s like my body needed to feel all of the physical pain to truly know what it’s like to feel alive again. My soul literally woke up simply by training for and taking on that one-day solo Rim to Rim hike.

The weeks following the hike I have been back on the bike in my beloved Snow Canyon State Park and in the pool as the body heals.  During this time, I have been continually pondering the question if this simple life in Southern Utah that I have built for myself will truly remain my path of bliss moving forward (post the loss of my parents). As I looked around on my rides in the first canyon that tugged me 11 years ago, I realized everything I am looking for that makes me happy (that they would want for me) is right here in front of me.

I love the “purpose” in this club as I enjoy inspiring and helping people to hike the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim as this truly is part of what keeps me on my path of happiness and brings peace to my soul.

May each of you find what your soul is searching for and rest assured that there is no better way to start the process than by hiking the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim!

Here’s to choosing to stay in the places that make each of us the happiest!

Michelle

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Honeymoon Rim to Rim Hike

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BY SILKE WEIDEMANN

My husband Markus and I had hiked to Plateau Point in 2010. Standing there and watching the river flowing down in the gorge below he said: “We have to come back and go down there. I must touch the river”. That was, when the idea of Rim to Rim was born. Last year in May we were lucky to get a permit for the date in September we planned. On September 3rd we got married at Red Rock Overlook near Las Vegas and on September 9th we started at North Rim. Is there any better way to spend a honeymoon? The next days really changed our lives and especially our perception of our mother nature and our essential needs in life.

On our first day we headed down North Kaibab Trail. Just below Supai Tunnel we encountered a place, where parts of the trail were washed away caused by heavy rainfalls during the summer. I was happy to manage that part with my fear of heights. It took us about four hours to get to Cottonwood Campground. We spend a lot of time inside our tent, because of the storm front which passed through the Southwest during these days. Cottonwood Campground is a really nice and quiet place, especially when the sun starts to set and the day ends.

On our second day we had a late start at about 8 am. Usually one should avoid a late start when heading for the bottom of the canyon. The last part before reaching Phantom Ranch is called “The Box” and with its narrow and dark walls you easily feel like hiking in an oven. Luckily the weather wasn´t that hot and the sky was cloudy, therefore our late start caused no problems. At around noon we found a nice place at Bright Angel Campground. We managed to dry our tent and then went to the Phantom Ranch Canteen to grab a T-Shirt and a cup of coffee. While drinking our coffee and writing some postcards we talked to a lot of hikers. This was really fun. We shared a table with mary and her family from Iowa. They were hiking on the same itinerary like us. After our coffee break we went down to the mighty Colorado and Silver Bridge. Rain started again and we went back to the campground. Bright Angel Campground has water toilets and really nice places.

Day three started with an early breakfast and we hit the trail at about 7 am. After crossing Silver Bridge we reached the River Trail, which beautifully winds along the Colorado. Near River Resthouse we went to Pipe Creek Beach and my hubby´s dream came true: we touched the river and felt the water and the red earth in our own hands. I cannot describe how that felt. Next part of the trail included some nice switchbacks called the Devils Corksrew and they were quite challenging. After four hours of hiking we finally reached Indian Garden. The campground has nice shelters and we enjoyed to sit under that roof while a thunderstorm roared over the canyon, talking to Mary and her husband and having some coffee.

Our last day started well before dawn and with our headlights on we went for our final spurt. I can hardly explain how I felt that day. The sun started to rise and bathed the canyon walls in golden light. My heart was touched deeply like I never knew before. While heading up Bright Angel Trail we met a lot of people who encouraged us and admired our trip. We met a ranger and she said “Looks like early morning folks out of the garden” and “Good to keep it slow”, when we told her that we had taken four days for our R2R trip. The higher we went, the better it felt. And then the last tunnel came in sight and the trailhead shortly after. Upon arriving at South Rim we fell into each others arms and were just happy. We really made it. The canyon is now enclosed in our hearts forever and we can´t wait to come back, jump into our boots and go down there again.

And that was our rim to rim experience!

Welcome to the Rim to Rim Club®

This website is dedicated to those that have hiked Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon that would like to share their story and officially join the Rim to Rim Club as well as inspire, motivate and provide logistical information for others looking to embark on the journey.

If you have completed the Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon please fill out the form to the right to officially join the club. Congratulations on your accomplishment and welcome to the club!

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