Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Which Way to the Elevator

Dave and two friends from the old neighborhood, Leo and Ted, are on a ten day jaunt to Zion National Park in Utah and then Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. They will be hiking, backpacking, camping and sightseeing in general. This fills me with a mixture of admiration, trepidation and a twinge of jealousy.

Admiration because they dreamed, then planned, and are now actually doing it. It's all about execution, as I am often reminded at work these days.

Trepidation. Knowing that they are out there, I have spent a little bit of time on the national park service website reading about camping/hiking the Grand Canyon, and have come away with an appreciation of exactly what they will be dealing with. I did not know that the Grand Canyon is 7000 feet elevation, making it 2000 feet higher than Denver, which means very thin air. The September daily highs are still in the 90's, and it gets hotter the further down into the canyon you go. Big hole in the ground. That means down is easy, getting back out is not so much so. Dehydration. Nutritional issues. Difficult climbs. Physical exhaustion. I think the NPS website does exactly what they want it to do - install a sufficient amount of respect for the forces out there that are far greater than us.

Jealousy. The smallest bit. I know that I am certainly welcome on any of these trips, and it is my choice not to be there. OK, maybe a medium amount. Still......it does sound like fun. OK, a bunch.

Be safe guys. And take plenty of pictures. (For anyone reading this that finds this of interest, I encourage you to follow my link and pop over to Dave's website for his recaps after October 6...).


  1. join us on a "local" day hike...on which you are also plenty welcome. then you can decide if joining us on a bigger trip, like say next years probable return to the great smokies merits any actual consideration on your part. both dave and i are poor climbers. you might be puffing now and again, but we will never begrudge a stop

    btw... down as hard as up. when it is steep, your front quads are your brakes. your own weight, plus 3540 lb of pack with extra water you cache on the way down to reload on the climb out...really tire what i remembered as strong legs quite a bit. aggravates knee tendonitis (or real knee issues) much more than a climb ! you have to go slow becase the footing is often poor and the pack raises your center of gravity and thus tipping point. thus more strain on the front quads. wouldn't say these were harrowing trails, but there are plenty of places where losing one's balance could've been REALLY bad.

  2. Hiking local with you guys is the plan, don't worry! Posted a goal of Hawk Mountain this fall before seeinf this comment. More true than ever.