I don't know when the subject first came up, probably a few years ago, but sometime after we were married Jordan and I began talking about running the Grand Canyon. By that I mean Jordan began talking about it while I sat and listened thinking "oh God this does NOT sound fun, I hope he'll move on to another idea." I know the thought came back around for last summer and I said "maybe next year" (again hoping he'd forget about it?? He didn't...) Once again, he brought it up last fall and had even done some research on logistics. Once again I thought "normal people go and look at the canyon... or maybe hike from one rim to the other over 1-2 days, why can't we just do that??" Nope! Jordan wanted to RUN rim to rim to rim, a round trip total of roughly 46 miles, and he wanted me to do it with him...
On Tuesday Jordan and I had the unique opportunity of hiking the Virgin River in Zion in what is called "The Narrows" hike. The Narrows had been closed for 40 days prior to our arrival, since March, for the spring snow melt. We learned Monday, our first day in Zion, that they were rumored to be opening and immediately made plans to take advantage. Because the river temps were in the 50's and the water levels were chest high at times, we rented full dry suits, boots, neoprene socks and hiking sticks from a local outfitting, Zion Guru. All proved to be essential in our hike both for comfort and safety.
After dressing in our "space suits" as I liked to call them, we hopped on the shuttle for a 40 min ride to the Temple of Sinawava, walked a mile along a paved path to our launching point, and jumped into the river. Almost 7 hours later we emerged, tired, exhausted, cold and only haven covered roughly 8.5 miles. Growing up having LOVED rock skipping up rivers and streams, the hike was a tremendous treat for me, yet also very humbling. While I won't replay it mile for mile, here are a few lessons that I learned from the river:
No one path is necessarily the correct one. Each has its share of challenge, adventure.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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