The semi annual, loosely unorganized, multi-day, fall Coyote running week has become a mostly annual tradition for us since we attended Coyote Moab 4 years ago. Chris Scott always does a great job planning great runs in amazing locations with lots of social activities for the evenings. This year with Coyote being in Arizona with runs split between the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Emily and I decided to tie this in with some additional running and vacation time.
We left Salt Lake City after work on Wednesday driving a little past Cedar City. On our drive Thursday we were planning a run in Bukskin Gulch, but with the cold temps we went with a recommendation from Roch and ran the Guacamole trail by Virgin. We had a great ~7 mile run through the slick rock with great views of the valley below. It felt great to shake the legs out part way through our run.
We arrived at the Grand Canyon and met up with our fellow Coyotes about 5p. We enjoyed catching up with friends, meeting new friends, and planning our next day’s adventure. Since we had already done R2R2R we thought it would be fun to run something new. The something new that we decided on turned out to be our first backpacking trip in 1995. We were going to run the same route that took us 3 days. We were excited to see this terrain again and compare our abilities from 18 years ago.
Before, we started, there were a couple of rules to remember about the Grand Canyon
Roch had planned the route and Krissy, Monica, Emily and I joined him. We left the campsite at 6am for the ~2 mile run to the bus stop to take us to Hermit Rest. From Hermit Rest, we ran down Boucher Trail, across Tonto, down to the Hermit Creek Rapids, then up Hermit Trail and back to Hermit Rest. We had a great day of running and hiking the steep technical trails enjoying the beauty and solace of little traveled trails. A trip to the Grand Canyon is never complete without actually reaching the Colorado River and enjoyed cooling off with a frigid swim at the river (actually, only Chad was dumb enough to swim in the 49F water). We moved quickly up to the top fearing we could miss the last shuttle and end up with 8 miles of road back to the campsite. We luckily reached the top faster than we reached the bottom and were able to get back to camp by 6pm. We were both amazed at the technicality of the trail for our first backpacking trip. Our work for the night was just starting as Roch was head chef and we all had to chip in to get diner cooked for the 35+ people that were in our party. Our crew kept trickling in with people taking from 12.5 to 27 hours to complete their various journeys in the canyon (many of them first timers). We had a great evening talking about our adventures of the day.
A dark and chilly start
Roch, Emily, Krissy, and Monica running Tonto Trail
Chad and Emily overlooking Colorado River from Tonto Trail
Monica, Roch, Krissy, and Emily at ‘the river’
The slog up Hermit Trail
Since we didn’t go down the “normal” trails Friday and had another optional day to run the canyon. Krissy and Monica joined us to run South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch and back up Bright Angel on Saturday. We didn’t have a lot of time as we had to be to Sedona by 6Pm to help with dinner so we kept a fast pace down and up (took a little over 4 hours). We had a leisurely run down with lots of photo stops and reached Phantom Ranch in 91 minutes. We spent 20 minutes at the ranch as post cards were written, then decided to push hard on the ascent. We made up back to the Bright Angel Trailhead in 4:22 for a total of 4:02 of running time and Emily’s running time of 4:15. We were thrilled with this time especially considering that we were not trying to go fast.
Krissy descending South Kaibab Trail
was another great meal with salad, grilled salmon and fresh vegetables. It was also talent night which didn’t disappoint with some crazy and funny spectacles. The Roch/Billy/Lou band also entertained us.
Roch-Billy-Lou Band (minus Lou)
Sunday we had a group run led by Lindsay and Adam from the Sedona Running Company
. Adam and Lindsay were amazing hosts in Sedona. They led us on a 13 mile loop with about 20 people. When we had finished the temps had risen to near 80 and none of us were interested in the next 18 mile loop planned so we cut the same loop short and did another 10 mile loop around Cathedral Rock.
Chad and Emily in Sedona
The famous Hillary Biscay running in Sedona
Roch pontificating about long mileage
Lindsay showing the way
We enjoyed our last night with the whole crew eating another fantastic meal and more entertainment of stories, awards, and Roch/Billy/Lou band.
We got out for the last group run early Monday morning
led again by Adam and Lindsay. They took us on another great 5 mile loop
. Many of us were feeling that our legs were very tired from the 80+ miles and two trips to the bottom of the Grand Canyon so it was not a fast 5 miles.
After a farewell breakfast we checked into the Hilton resort and enjoyed time by the pool before Grandma and Uncle Gary arrived. We spent time with them, did a little shopping, and had a great Italian dinner at Cucina Rustica. After breakfast with grandma and Gary we headed north and west to Lake Havasu to visit Chad’s parents. We stopped to run to the top of Bill Williams Mountain. It was nice to fun in the forest but our legs were super tired and we looked forward to a day off on Wednesday.
Top of the fire tower on Bill Williams Mountain
A few days of recovery and relaxation in Lake Havasu and we are headed home tomorrow with a side trip for a long run at Red Rocks by Vegas.