I just read your account of exploits in the Grand Canyon and I am still laughing.  We "did" the canyon last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  There is a national scholarship that the duct tape people have for kids who make prom dresses out of duct tape.  Perhaps there is a similar travel award for interesting uses of duct tape in hiking.



David -

Now that I have dried my face from my chin up to both of my eyes and actually caught my breath enough to say something, I have to take the time to write you this email in response to your most unforgettable hiking experience. I apologize if it seems rude that I laugh at your misfortune but I was having flashbacks of my first trip as well. I almost didn't read the rest of the story as I could see what was going to happen and couldn't bare the thought of someone else living my nightmare. Then I figured, what the heck I need a good laugh. When you say "Let me take a moment at this juncture to point out that every word in this story is true, as even in my wildest dreams I couldn't make this stuff up!"  I am in total belief as I have lived it.

I don't know if others that read your story really understand your sincerity when you say that but believe me, I have lived it. My problem was I wore Doc Martins for hiking boots (Comparable to the Bike boots your buddy wore) and I ran out of water and food on my trip to Phantom Ranch for two days. I too had blisters on both of my feet only half way down the Kaibab trail. I also had an 80lb pack. Oh yeah, everything but the kitchen sink. I was in a group of six, two of which were women. I soaked my feet as soon as we got to the ranch and fell asleep.  I awoke the next day to find everyone preparing to go on a day hike with some of the ranch hands (friends). The hike was on what is known as the Bonsai trial. (Not mapped, just for locals) For this reason I did not want to miss it and was intrigued by the name of the hike. I actually made it through the 4.5 mile hike very well but I definitely aggravated the blisters I had and made them twice as bad. Again I soaked my feet in the river and fell asleep.

The third day we decided to hike out early by the advice of the ranch hands. They gave me some new skin for my blisters and some water. We were on our way. I decided if I was going to make it out with the blisters that I had acquired I needed to head the hike and make a run for the top of the rim. I lead the way up Bright Angel trail all the way to the mule stop and we rested. By this time my blisters had increased in size and the skin had broken on three out of four of them. I WAS IN PAIN. I rested for approx two hours and decided to press on. Again I lead the pack with an aggressive push that lasted all of about 3 minutes. I started drinking water heavily. Half way from that point to the top I ran out and I also ran out of trail mix. My furious pace had dwindled to ten steps and rest, eight steps and rest, etc. NOT KIDDING! And I'm sure you understand. Soon I was pasted by all of the guys and both of the girls. I was trying to think of ways to get a helicopter to fly me out the rest of the way for a reasonable price. I was desperately thinking of ways to get out of there; but the only way is walk or pay a lot of money.  I did finally make it out that day and I told myself never again. Your right, it's funny how you can reflect back and find some satisfaction in it. I live in Phoenix, AZ. And it's the only time I've been. I now have plans to go and hike across the canyon on May of this year and I will be a lot better prepared. I will enjoy it as much as possible.

Thanks for the good story.  It's good to see that other people appreciate the beauty the Grand Canyon has to offer. It's too bad others do not. There is a lot of pollution and disrespect to the place and it saddens me to see it. My friends and I usually take an extra trash bag each and hike out all of the garbage we find. I'm sure the locals and Park Rangers do the same. Hiking the canyon with friends that were educated in that manner really taught me a lot and gave me a new perspective.  I practice safety and cleanliness every time and place I hike and or camp. I wish everyone would practice some sort of safety and not liter.

Rob De Leon III
Arizona Hiker


My hiking buddy and I particularly enjoyed "How to not hike the Grand Canyon" and took the lessons-learned to heart before a week-long hike we did in the canyon in May. We haven't written that one up yet, but it was a great trip. It was our first substantial hike in the Grand Canyon and in fact the first backpacking trip where we spent more than one night out since we had been in college (long long ago). Our lack of relevant experience didn't deter us from over-committing our abilities...but we survived to tell the tale.

Regards, Kevin


Dear David:

Thank you for all your wisdom. My group is heading along Bright Angel then out on N. Kaibab, (then back again). I'll be sure to have a fun time. The only thing I'm worried about is the psychological test the Canyon poses.  Anything special you did/do to prepare yourself for 14 hours of hiking x 2?

- An-Yih

My reply: Not really, just repeat as often as needed, "it's not a question of if I finish, it's just a question of when I finish."



I enjoyed your story about “How not to hike the grand canyon” and wondered if you would mind if I posted it or any other stories you might have on my website.  It’s a non-profit, no commercial site that has become sort of a “Readers Digest” of internet outdoor stories.  Be glad to post a link to any website you like or even send you a pen knife if you like.

Thanks, Rob Horne




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