We have a somewhat annual tradition of a running road trip to Arizona for Thanksgiving to be with family. This year we once again were able to put together a great run. Our original plan was an ~35 mile run in Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. After sending out an invitation to a group of local runners and friends, Roch proposed a run in the Grand Canyon that he had been dreaming/scheming of for many years. We called the run the Waterfall Run or Rim to river to river to Rim (R2r2r2R). Roch promised we would not be disappointed and of course he was right.
We all arrived at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on Saturday night for a chilly night of camping before heading out the next morning. Our route would took us from the North Rim, part way down the canyon meeting up with a series of waterfalls that we followed all the way down to the Colorado River. At that point we climbed above the Colorado River, traversed above the river then dropped down and then back up from the river on trails that are used by river runners. We then followed the next set of waterfalls down and back up the canyon before joining our original descent trail and returning to the north rim. We estimated the run at 30-36 miles and between 9,500′ and 11,000′ of climbing. I knew we would be on a slow pace since I have run less than 60 miles in the 3 months since Leadman as I tried to get healed.
Nine of us (Roch, Catherine, Walter, Matt, Sarah, Evan, Clint, Emily, and Chad) left out of camp at 7:30 for a day we knew would blow our mind. The run was fabulous that included steep rocky terrain, great runnable terrain, a couple great stream crossings, incredible views of the Grand Canyon absolutely every minute of our day. We had absolutely beautiful weather with cool temperatures in the morning, warm weather by the Colorado river and then cooler temperatures coming out of the canyon as darkness set in. The waterfalls were absolutely phenomenonal! One of our highlights of our run were viewing Condors in flight. It was an amazing time with friends and running – what a great combination. We ended up with a great 31 miles run with 9,500′ of climbing. Thanks to Roch for a fabulous run! We ended the night with a great meal and hanging around the fire telling stories.
We continued our road trip for two nights in Sedona for a great trail run and road ride then onto Scottsdale where we had a great time with family, shopping, pool time, road biking, and of course we always run a double traverse of Camelback. We are excited to return to PC and ready to start skiing again and enjoy winter.