Grand Canyon Double Crossing

Recently I had the (mis?)fortune of getting to do a double crossing of the Grand Canyon. For those who are not completely insane, let me explain. It involves starting on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, looking across and going “Hey, I’d like to be over there!” So you go down through the bottom of the canyon, come out the North Rim, look around, and go “I’d like to be back in the other place where I started from.”  You can rest, if you can call it rest, then repeat everything in the opposite direction. You can optionally go North to South and back, but the North rim is sort of… look, there is nothing of real notable interest there. I mean, there is a lodge, but it is only open part of the year and I can’t tell you the food is great, so South to North it is. I mean, the views at the North rim lodge are great, but after spending hours crossing the damn thing, the last thing I wanted to do was look at the canyon some more. At that point the canyon can go back to hell, from whence it came.

Hey, lets cross this. Twice.
Hey, lets cross this. Twice. Lol.

It is 21-24 miles each way depending on the trails you take, and 4000+ feet down and then back up twice. It is, quite simply, a completely asinine thing to do to yourself. I did this for fun, because at some point I lost my goddamn mind and this is just what I do now. It is too late for me. Save yourself.

It also tends to be hot. Bright Angel, which I take on the way back because it has more water stops than Kaibab, has nothing for shade. There is some at Indian Garden, but everything before and after that takes places in a blighted hellscape of rocks and switchbacks and sun. So much sun. Sun until you wish for an endless, interminable night to fall. Bring on the vampires. You know who was a Bright Angel? Lucifer, the Morningstar. I can’t say the the trail is misnamed.

Seriously, this is bullshit. What the hell am I doing here?
Seriously, this is bullshit. What the hell am I doing here?

I managed to cross South to North in 7 hours 37 minutes. North to South took 8 hours 28 minutes. North to South is easier, as far more of it is downhill and you lose 1000 ft of climbing, but it is also 3 miles longer and I cached my legs on the first crossing, so running the middle was done at a lower speed than desired.

Oh thank God I am done! I am so happy... wait, what do you mean I have to go back the other way?
Oh thank God I am done! I am so happy… wait, what do you mean I have to go back the other way?

All told, it was interesting adventure. I got stopped by mule trains, lectured by rangers, and yelled at by angry hikers because they were angry. I got nausea from my electrolyte drink at the bottom of the canyon that never really went away. I could barely walk the next day. I currently have an eczema flare up on my inner joints. I have cuts and bruises I can’t explain. It was dirty. It was grueling. I had a hard time breathing on the North rim climb. I ruined my trail shoes and will have to shell out another $120 for a new pair. My brand new hydration pack is crusted with salt and dried nutrition gels.  My running gear smells like it was worn by one of the Orcs in Lord of the Rings.

I am currently considering doing it again next year. Because, as I said, I have apparently lost my damn mind. However, I am still not an ultra runner. I refuse that designation. Those guys are crazy.

Relaxing on the bridge before the hellacious climb out on Bright Angel. This is the last time I truly knew happiness.
Relaxing on the bridge before the hellacious climb out on Bright Angel. This is the last time I truly knew happiness.

Anniversary Email 10

Congratulations on your recent anniversary here at <COMPANY>. As you may know, we are an <IDENTIFYING INFORMATION> and world leader in <IDENTIFYING INFORMATION>. Your contributions have been a key component to our success. But did you know <COMPANY> is simply part of a larger Umbrella Corporation? Yes, it is true. We are invested in a variety of ventures.

For instance, deep within our secret base on the outskirts of Raccoon City, we have been experimenting with biological military applications for something we are calling the Tyrant Program. You will be happy to know we have approved a transfer for you to this new, state of the art facility.

You may have heard some rumors about numerous maulings by unidentified creatures in that area. Please do not be alarmed. We have deployed our Special Tactics And Rescue Service to the scene to identify the issue. You can rest assured that your safety is our top priority. Our agents will have the issue well in hand by the time of your arrival.

Your first assignment will be assisting in the ongoing overhaul of the security software. During this time it has been necessary to disable the existing security system and all building safeguards, but we anticipate no problems arising during this outage. There may be no one to greet you on arrival at the building, but please let yourself in. Also, do not be alarmed if the lights appear to be non operational. This is an energy saving measure we sometimes employ.

Feel free to pick up any loose items you see lying about. In particular, weapons and ammunition. This is so you can return them to security, not a result of any anticipation that you might need them to defend yourself from an onrushing horde of biologically mutated undead horrors. If you hear any shuffling accompanied by groaning, that is just the night watchman, Old Zeke. Probably best if you move along before he catches you and chews your ear off… with one of his stories. Really, don’t even look at him. Just exit the area quickly and calmly. If you hear growling or barking, run. Just run. Don’t ask why.

We assure you, everything is perfectly normal. And safe. Very, very safe. There is absolutely no reason to believe the Tyrant Virus has leaked into the water supply of the facility and turned all of the staff into a ravening horde of infected mutants that endlessly hunger for the flesh of the living. We look forward to your arrival at outbreak site T-001. Or… rather… the Arklay Mountains facility.

Oh, if you happen come across anything marked T-Vaccine, please secure these samples for us. That would be just lovely.

Congratulations again.