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Trip Report I Hiked the Grand Canyon Down & Up in One Day!

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On Friday August 5, 2016 at 4:30 AM I began my descent into the Grand Canyon South Rim at the Kaibab trail head.I met four others on the bus on the way to the trail head. We introduced ourselves and began our hike down in the dark. I had a very bright flashlight that was a godsend, especially doing this in the dark. I am a single 55 year old transgender female in decent physical and mental shape and was going to do this entire hike alone, however, I was grateful for the company of these four friendly people. I would have been very nervous attempting this descent in the dark alone and was happy to have the company.

Prior to this excursion I did my homework about hiking the canyon, especially in the summer months. Between the heat and the sheer mental and physical will, strength, and determination to do this, I thought I had what it took to undertake this monumental feat. All the people and rangers I spoke to tried to dissuade me from doing this in one day. They were all concerned for my health and well being. However, I am an extremely determined person who is not easily dissuaded from doing something once my mind is made up. I can now admit that it was NOT the smartest thing to do....

I brought a bunch of protein and energy bars, one bag of beef jerky, 5 12 ounce bottles of water, salted shelled pistachios, one bag of salted almonds, and one large bottle of Gatorade.

At around 5:30 AM I saw the shy begin to get light and before I knew it the sun was rising and I was looking at one of the most spectacular 'light shows' on the planet! The colors of the different sediments of rock coupled with the sheer vastness of the Grand Canyon left my eyes and mind in awe of its beauty and splendor. As the sun came up the beauty grew along with the summer temps. We took about four rest stops. At our last stop I thanked them for their company and sharing this first time trip down with them and stated to the bottom alone.

Seeing and reaching the bridge was milestone that made me feel great! I was a bit tired at this point, had a nice blister on one of my feet and my thighs began to chaff. I now knew that going back up was going to be real test and will of my both my mental and physical abilities. I had NO idea just HOW much...

I walked to the Phantom Ranch in hopes of having a hot meal or a nice sandwich, resting, filling up my empty water bottles, then beginning my hike back up. There were no hot meals and no sandwiches. You needed to make reservations for meals there. Not good. I filled my bottles, soaked my sore feet in the creek, bandaged my blister and put bandaids on my inner thigh to stop the chaffing.

As I began my ascent up on the Bright Angel trail I never doubted my determination to get back to the top but I did doubt my sanity about doing this whole thing in one day. However, it was now too late to change my mind, I did not have a permit to camp down there and so I HAD to be determined to get back out of there. As I continued on I kept telling myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other... I purposely took the Bright Angel up because I knew I was going to need more and more water.

As the heat rose I had to stop for more and more breaks. On three occasions I heard my heart beating rapidly in my right ear. I wasn't sure what that meant if that meant anything at all, I just hoped it didn't mean the onset of something bad. I continued to take rest stops, drink water, Gatorade, and keep eating the salted nuts and other things I brought. I trudged ahead and kept putting one foot in front of the other... I ran across running water twice and soaked myself. Although it felt great it also made my shorts wet and aided in the chaffing of my thighs. My feet were sore and in particular my right foot that was blistered at the heel. The bandaids weren't enough. After 4 grueling hours of walking I made it to Indian Garden where I rested and filled my water bottles. Just as I was about to set out the rain and thunder started. I don't mind the rain as it would have hydrated and cooled my body (I was sweating the water out quickly). I was concerned about lightening. I know there are about 10,000 lightening strikes in the canyon every year and I was doing this in monsoon season. It started to pour and I was lucky to find shelter in the picnic area under a covered overhang. The rain let up and I slowly and painfully began my hike again. Throughout my hike I had a walking stick that I picked up somewhere at the top make from pine. It was beyond value as the time went by and I needed to lean more and more on it, especially because my feet were sore. I brought an extra set of clothes with me and changed at Indian Garden. I am glad had them so could put on dry clothes. As I continued to ascend I had to stop more and more out of sheer physical exhaustion. Although my body was beyond tired my mind would not give in and I was absolutely determined to see this through. I also did NOT want to be rescued, that would have been embarrassing and VERY costly. It also would have ruined my determined belief that I was going to complete this no matter WHAT. All along the route as my walking became more labored and I became more tired and needed to stop and rest more, a number of concerned people asked me if I was ok, if I needed water, etc. I was very thankful and grateful for their kindness and concern but I was SO determined to complete this that even as tired as I WAS, I would NOT have taken a free donkey ride back to the top. I HAD to complete this and with EVERY step I took, not matter how slow I was going, I was was not going to give in! I tried not to look up at the miles I still had to go but I needed to get bearings of where I was in relation to the top.

The last mile was the hardest. I had to stop more and more and was simply exhausted and sore. I finally came to the first tunnel and then the second and then I was OUT of there! I CANNOT adequately describe the joy, exuberance, and RELIEF I felt once I got out of there but I cry out of being proud and ever SO determined and that I DID IT! I hiked the Grand Canyon down AND up in ONE day! Over 16 miles and over 12 hours of almost non stop hiking!

I will NEVER attempt that EVER AGAIN. It IS foolish and dangerous for a number of reasons. People have and will die doing this, I am fortunate I wasn't one of them....

It is now Sunday August 7th and I am resting and recuperating from that monumental and exhausting trip. My legs and feet are not going to be back to normal for days to come.

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about doing this in one day, tell them NOT TO. Trust me, it is NOT worth losing your life over...

Angelina Vail Bouros

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