Under my breath I was chanting “I think I can, I think I can!” in a good rendition of The Little Engine That Could. At 63, I wasn’t going to admit to anyone on the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab trail that I feared I might have bitten off more than I could chew.
That day in early October was sunny and the Grand Canyon looked just like every postcard I’ve ever seen – perfect! Nearly everyone I passed asked me if I was hiking alone. Although my first step was taken solo, I never felt alone. There were people of all ages going in both directions; everyone watching out for each other.
My notion of a peaceful, meditative hike was promptly discarded when I realized the trail was narrow, rocky and dangerous in many spots. My full attention was needed for nearly every step of the way.
The most arduous part of the hike down were the strong winds. I had to stop in my tracks for a few minutes to brace myself with my walking sticks.
Crossing the Colorado River in the late afternoon felt like a huge achievement until I realized Phantom Ranch was somewhere beyond. The National Park Service brochure estimates the hike down the South Kaibab Trail is 4-5 hours, but for me, it was 9-10 hours. [Read more…]