We made our climb out of the south rim of Grand Canyon in the sixteenth hour of our trek. The entirety of our double crossing felt like a blur. Sixteen hours of running, hiking and talking felt like was over in an instant. We had depleted our calories before Phantom Ranch and missed our opportunity to refuel there. Breein was clearly dizzy and hiking on complete fumes. I weaved from one side of the trail to the other while I worried about her. Our legs felt great all day, but the lack of calories completely wrecked this final climb. Despite this, I wanted desperately to somehow stay in Indian Gardens. I wished we could camp. I wished we didn’t have to leave. Our time in the Grand Canyon wasn’t enough.
Our outbound from the south rim to the north rim via Bright Angel began in the dark. This was my first time for a Grand Canyon double crossing. It was Breein’s third. The differences between her first two traverses and this one were stark. This run was no longer an underground affair. We managed to see around two or three dozen trail runners embarking on the same journey. Some double crossings, some only going one direction. I was expecting this, Breein was not. I warned her of this possibility, but it clearly took her some time to get used to. Thankfully, the return trip from the North Rim was primarily an isolated one.
We took our time on our double crossing. It felt like a deliberate and appropriate pace. We let runners pass, not wanting to leap frog anyone or feel pressure to move too quickly. I took the scenery in and observed other trail runners as they made their way through the canyon. I hoped they were appreciating what they were seeing. I hoped that this wasn’t just a bucket list item for them to check off.
Moving through the canyon, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. We were lucky we had the opportunity and ability to see the Grand Canyon this way.