I did it. I decided I would really hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. In August of 2015 I set myself a two-year time frame to save enough money and to train. I’m a generally fit person. I’m relatively active. The fact that I have to qualify both of those statements meant I had a lot of work to do to get in shape for what I presumed would be the most grueling hike of my life. Presumptions weren’t going to get me very far, though. What I really needed was information. Was this something I could conceivably do in one day, or should I camp overnight? If so, how many nights? Will I find potable water on the Canyon Corridor trails? How much water should I carry with me? How many people have died going from rim to rim? I didn’t know anything. I limbered up my Google-fu. The Rim to Rim Club
I hit pay dirt right away with the very first result Google served up: The Rim to Rim Club. Here’s how they describe themselves:
“This website is dedicated to those that have hiked Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon that would like to share their story and officially join the Rim to Rim Club as well as inspire, motivate and provide logistical information for others looking to embark on the journey.”
I definitely needed inspiration, motivation and logistical information and I could see that the prospect of the hike might excite one to run a sentence on. I can’t wait to join! The website really is inspiring and has tons of helpful information on why, when and how to do the rim to rim hike. After poking around the club’s website it became clear to me that for minor logistical and major safety reasons I should absolutely not attempt to do it alone. Lucky for me, the Rim to Rim Club’s site has a section that snagged my eye: Guides. And that’s how I learned about Wildland Trekking Company.
There’s quite a lot to like about the idea of hiring a guide in general and using Wildland Trekking specifically. Here’s what they say on their website about their guided backpacking serivce:
“We provide everything except clothing, footwear, rain gear, personal items, and a couple small gear items. All the gear we provide (backpacks, tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, trekking poles, cooking gear) is top-of-the-line. Also, you can request to share a tent with others in your party or have one to yourself. All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch the last day, and your guide will prepare all meals.”
Heck yeah! I loved the prospect of letting a professional worry about the gear and the logistics (and the cooking!), saving me the effort of research and the expense of buying gear and arranging my own transportation to and from the Canyon from Flagstaff, not to mention freeing me up to focus my energy on my own physical preparedness.
I liked Wildland Trekking right away because they were the only guide service recommended by the Rim to Rim Club, whose word I for some reason immediately trusted. The testimonial page on Wildland Trekking’s website positively glowed with joy, but I did my due diligence and checked them out on TripAdvisor, where they have an excellent rating, and with the Better Business Bureau, where they are rated A+.
Wildland Trekking’s Rim to Rim hike breaks the trek up over four days, and includes a fifth day on the shores of the Colorado River to relax and explore. Even at this more leisurely pace, though, would I be fit enough to do this hike?
I would describe myself as active and healthy, and I’m comfortable hiking 6 – 8 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain, but I’ve never attempted a long hike with a 25+ pound backpack and my weekly exercise was distinctly less than several times per week. I had some work to do, but I didn’t doubt that I could do it.
I had the first information I needed to get started on my physical training. Next step: find myself a gym.