Grand Canyon Rim to Rim: 21 Miles To The Other Side of “Me”

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim: 21 Miles To The Other Side of “Me”

Many of you already know that I went Rim to Rim across the Grand Canyon this year…what an experience!  As you will see from the photos and video, the landscape was breathtaking, the terrain challenging, the heat draining and the storm slightly frightening.  What was most amazing about going Rim to Rim was finishing, looking back over the trail that I had just traversed and experiencing the sense of having accomplished something I’ve wanted to do for many years.  Finishing the rim to rim in a decent amount of time (especially for a non-endurance athlete) and knowing I could do it alone (not planned!) were also great feelings, but all in all I think the greatest thing I learned from going Rim to Rim was finding my way to the other side of “me”.


When you look at the Grand Canyon from either rim you cannot help but get a sense of scale in how vast and magnificent the earth is and how small we are in comparison.  The views of the canyon are sublime and from each rim and has you travel down, across and up you cannot help but experience the unexpectedly profound silence of the enormous landscape.  Being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon reminded me of the silence of being underwater, almost like in some distant part of the mind you instinctively connected with the fact that the enormous space had once been completely submerged water.


Once I completed this challenge and looked from the North Rim back along the path I had taken from the South Rim I felt very satisfied with what I had done.  As I expected, when I looked back over the trail I felt accomplished physically, but what was unexpected and even more powerful was the mind-body experience and mental shift that started to take place when I took my first of 49,800 steps across the canyon and continues now, a full month later.

Just like everyone else, I have many goals in life and my share of challenges. The mental (maybe even spiritual?) part of my experience going rim to rim was learning to recognize and address the psychological blocks that prevent me from achieving my goals or overcoming challenges.  At this point in life, I have achieved only some of my most important goals.  One of the challenges that prevents me from reaching some of my goals is being a very distracted person with many different thoughts going on in my mind all at the same time. Being this way is actually pretty fun because you tend to notice many things others don’t and you tend to see the world differently.  But this also means I have a tendency to set many goals at once or start in one direction and then get distracted and go in 10 (or more) directions.  For me, being in a never ending thought tornado means it takes a while to sort through and determine which ideas and thoughts actually align with my goals and aspirations and which are just creative distractions.  Starting and finishing is more like starting and never-ending (as in saga, volume 1,2,3, etc.).  Somehow, in that deep silence I was able to see clearly, in a way I not seen before, what it is that keeps turning me around in circles.

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Going Rim 2 Rim was a “bucket list” idea (one of the 1000’s) I had about 3-4 years ago.  Never did I realize that it would be more than “a cool achievement”.  I didn’t realize how vast and beautiful the Grand Canyon really is, and I never in a million years expected to experience such personal growth from going rim to rim.  Not only did I get to experience unexpected breath-taking views of going 1 mile down and 1 mile up in an ancient dessert-to-mountain landscape, I was able to finish and look back knowing I had just achieved something personally significant.  I had gone start to finish without taking 5000 left turns and circling back 22oo times and I felt it more mentally than anything else.  Going rim to rim helped me to memorize that feeling.

There is another side to this story that include how I prepared for the trek across the canyon, what almost made me decide not to do it, why I ended up going rim to rim alone, the amazing support I received from friends and family and a funny dream that actually spurred me on.   But I feel these details take away from the true lesson I learned on this adventure which was: “how to get to the other side of me”.

We all have goals and and it is in facing our challenges and driving forward toward our goals that we grow, become better and go beyond.  I don’t think I am alone in my sense of accomplishment or the type of experience I had going rim to rim, I’ve personally heard accounts and read many more stories of adventures planned as a goal of physical achievement turning into something far beyond.  Yes, we are all unique and everyone has a different take on life, but I would be surprised if anyone, regardless of our unique differences, would go rim to rim across the Grand Canyon without learning more about who they are as a person and finding a path to another “side” or aspect of themselves, a path to a personal goal or the path to who they want to become.

Add Some Adventure & Fun to Your Fitness

Add Some Adventure & Fun to Your Fitness

Photo by Andy Blackledge; (c)

“Ok let’s do it”…We both looked at each other with nervous excitement as we finalized the plan for what started as the inkling of an idea I had about 2 years ago when I was reading an article about a group of women who challenged themselves to go rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon in one day. They wanted to run it, see how well they could do and celebrate one of the participants birthdays with a fantastic group finish.


As I read the details their run/hike and mulled it over in my mind I knew I wanted to try it myself. The only trouble being…I really don’t enjoy endurance training…at all!!! (But I will do it to prove to my clients (and myself) that I can!!!).  I thought it over for a while and then the idea was lost in vast open space I call my mind (yes that was an intentional blonde joke :-))the shuffle of life. I hadn’t thought about it for quite sometime until after a group of us had finished the Detroit half marathon. One of the group, my client and friend Stacia, approached me about doing a marathon in Patagonia. I jumped at the idea…the breathtaking scenery and the experience would make the grueling endurance training worth it!  But alas, when I found out the travel time required to get there I decided it wouldn’t make sense for me, at least not this year. That’s when genius struck! I remembered my little goal of going rim-to-rim in one day and I brought it up to Stacia. She was all about it and we started planning!


Today we finalized our itinerary for our trip rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon. This challenge is the first of what I hope to be an annual or semi-annual adventure/fitness/wellness trip for myself and others during which our physical abilities will be challenged but in a fun and adventurous way.


While I am looking forward to it, I personally feel uncertain of how this will go. From my reading completing the rim-to-rim in one day is pretty challenging due to the combination of the trail terrain, the heat, the fact that you must carry snacks and water at least part of the way and the one looooong downhill followed by a short, flat distance and then a loooong continuous uphill.  Not to mention that attempting to complete the trail in one day is highly discouraged by park officials.


The trip takes place at the end of the summer so I’ll be posting periodic updates on training and once the trip happens you will see many many photos posted to the Fanpage, Instagram and the blog! With the date of the trip is coming up so quickly, we didn’t really plan for too many others to join us. But the option is still open to anyone interested! It’s my hope to host this to become an annual event for people to attend. If you want to join us in going rim-to-rim at the end of this summer (2015) contact me asap via email, the web contact page or FB!