Grand Canyon backpacking report (using three pairs of shoes + bare feet too) By Thea Gavin
Last month, since I was already at Grand Canyon's North Rim (for a creative writing workshop I lead there every June), I decided to take a stroll down to the Colorado River and spend the night at Phantom Ranch, a fun overnight backpacking trip I'd done several times from the South Rim.
Of course I "knew" that it was 14 miles each way from the North Rim (twice as far as from the South Rim), but I was feeling good about the workshop and happy to have a few days to enjoy the canyon solitude.
Long story short: to hike 28 miles in two days, in summer heat, carrying a way-too-full backpack (a sort of "rebound" pack job in response to being very cold backpacking in May) . . . well, it was a bit of a rough go the last five (steep!) miles.
But . . . one step at a time . . . I made it, experimenting with three...
My first test of my year without metrics is done and the tl;dr for this race is a 20 minute improvement over last year's time at 6:24 vs 6:44 in 2018. I also did roughly 20/31 of the miles unshod, ditching my trusty Luna Origens after the first 11 miles due to slipping around underfoot from humidity.
The course is a 25k loop done twice and I noticed on that first lap that tecent rains had created a few spots of mud and lots of tacky dirt and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. There was also about 3-4 miles of fairly rough gravel I wasn't looking forward to but I figured suffering through that was worth it for the rest of the tactile experience.
The BRS is delighted to be supporting Anna McNuff in her incredible #BarefootBritain challenge, in which she will attempt to run 100 marathons along the length of Britain, completely barefoot! Anna will encounter every kind of terrain - sand and rocks, marshes and woods, uplands and lowlands, highways and byways – taking it all in her unshod stride. If ever a challenge existed to prove to the world that barefoot is best, this is it!
We can all help her along the way. Below is a message from the #BarefootBritain team that explains how…
“It's so good to hear from fellow Barefoot runners, I know Anna loves the running community and will be so happy that fellow barefoot warriors are behind her.
There are lots of ways you can get involved - you can sign up to run alongside her, take a look at the calendar...