Whose Idea Was This Anyway
Sticking to it and achieving your goals
Have you ever set a difficult goal for yourself and when the going got tough, asked yourself, “Whose idea was this anyway?” This has happened to me several times in my journey to lose weight and get in shape. In a perfect world, all my progress would be forward; but the world isn’t perfect and my self-discipline wavers, causing me sometimes to go two steps forward and one step back. I had found myself in a step back a couple of months before our trip this summer, and the thought of all the hiking we planned to do on our trip was giving me the motivation to move forward again. I knew I needed something challenging to work towards, and the hike that I was the most excited about was hiking from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I needed to get in shape!
The rim to rim trail of the Grand Canyon is about 25-27 mile with multiple campgrounds, so we signed up for the lottery to see if we could reserve a campsite. Unfortunately, we were too late; there were no campsites available. I didn’t want to give up on the idea (thinking – if we don’t do it now, would we ever do it?) and suggested, “Are you sure we couldn’t hike it in one day?” Michael laughed at first (we have never hiked even close to 25-27 miles in one day), but the more we thought about it, the more we thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?” We decided that the worst-case scenario would be we started to overheat and had to rest and finish after dark.
We then started planning what equipment we would need. We would face three main dangers: dehydration, heat stroke, and exhaustion (and worst-case scenario, a possible night out in the wilderness). We purchased a three-liter Camelback hydration pack for each of us and some electrolyte tabs to help us stay hydrated. We also purchased hats to shade us from the sun and Mission towels and bandanas to help keep us cool. We started exercising to get in better shape including running up and down stairs. For the worst-case scenario, we purchased emergency blankets and head lamps in case we got caught out after dark. We decided that we would use common sense and stop and rest if one of us was not handling the heat well. We also knew that our bodies would need time to adjust to the higher elevation and lower oxygen levels (we are from Indiana after all), so we planned to hike the Grand Canyon towards the end of our three-week trip.
After we got to Arizona, we had to find a hotel room somewhere between the North and South rims of the Canyon. We also had to rent another vehicle and leave it at the South Rim so that we would have a way to our hotel after we were done. There were a lot of logistics to work out. The hotel we found was only one hour away from the South Rim (which we knew we would appreciate after the hike when we were exhausted), but it put us three hours away from the North Rim, so we would have to get up very early the morning of the hike so that we could start hiking by 5:00 am. We even planned some extra motivation and had some Mexican Cokes (the same as American Coke, just with real cane sugar) waiting in a cooler on ice in our car at the South Rim.
The day finally arrived. We were committed. We got up at 1:30 am. Now I’m generally a between 10 am and 8 pm kind of person. Anything outside of that and you can hardly get me to do anything productive. That tells you how serious we were about doing this. Our water bladders were full; we had plenty of food in our packs. We had a first aid kit, snake bite kit, and camera gear. Our bodies had adjusted to the altitude. We were ready.
We drove to the North Rim. As we drove the temperature kept dropping. When we left our car and started hiking, it was only 34 degrees outside. Thankfully, we warmed up quickly as we went down into the Canyon. We used our trekking poles to help with our stamina and balance. That was a very good decision. The hats and Mission towels worked great. We had plenty of water. The only thing that failed was the electrolyte tabs. We should have tried them out first. They kind of tasted like alka seltzer, and our water was not cold. We were able to drink them for a while, but when we were about half way, they started to make us feel sick and we weren’t drinking as much as we should. Thankfully, there were water stations along the way and we were able to empty out our packs and refill them with cool, fresh water.
The hike itself was beautiful! The trail winds its way through canyons following tributaries flowing into the Colorado River. The Colorado River was beautiful. The water looked clear and refreshing. For some reason I had expected it to look brown and dangerous. The mule trains were fun to see. The trail was well maintained and easy to follow.
Then we got to the up part. As the sign in the canyon said: “Going down is optional; going up is mandatory.” The guys were very patient with me as I slowly made my way up. They could have been done a couple of hours earlier if it weren’t for me. Only Camden asked the question, “Whose idea was this anyway?” and was very surprised to find out that it was me. ?
We did it! We hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim in one day. It took us 13 hours. Those Mexican Cokes sure tasted delicious. We were exhausted and had some blisters, but we were exhilarated because we had made it.
Hiking the Grand Canyon was a big goal, but we planned ahead, we committed ourselves, and we followed through all the way. Now to do that in other areas of my life that are in the one step back stage…..
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