Rim to Rim to Rim
A bucket list run in the Grand Canyon
Our Grand Canyon adventure got rolling on Thursday, October 11, 2012, when we converged in Phoenix. The first order of business was introductions. I've known Tom for a while, but I had never met two of our team (Shannon, a dentist and retired Army Ranger Colonel from New Orleans, and Tim, a law-school professor from Atlanta). The fit seemed good, with each man bringing the right perspective, level of experience, sense of humor and commitment.
The next order of business was to eat, and stock up on provisions for the big day. Four men wandering around the grocery store is something that everyone needs to see. We know where the beer is, maybe the chips, and are lost after that. We bought oatmeal and bananas for breakfast, beer and ice for the road, and then some things that, for me, were unexpected : garbage bags, for staying warm and dry; Pringles, for salty snacks; and razors, for (in Shannon's words) cutting limbs, in case we need to carry out a man.
The tone was set.
We dined on Pappa John's pizza in a local park, and took away some additional slices for trail food .
Properly fueled, we settled in while Tom drove us north.
We pulled into Grand Canyon National Park around 6 p.m., and were delighted to get free admission, a federal gesture to Colonel Shannon and his service to our country. Before checking into the hotel, we visited the South Kaibab trailhead, to get our bearings and view our starting line in the dwindling daylight.
From there, we claimed our rooms and grabbed dinner.
Given the miserable weather forecast and Tom's unrelenting optimism, we opted to push back our start time from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m., reasoning that the rain would pass through and we'd have idyllic skies. While the idyllic skies never came, I’m happy to report that, despite everything that would occur that weekend, Tom's unrelenting optimism remains intact.