In 2007, I attempted to run a double crossing (R2R2R) of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the remote, primitive, Boucher Trail on the South Rim and back. During that adventure, I reached Boucher Creek, but turned back without climbing up to the rim. I desired to try again to conquer that very long 90-mile double crossing this year. But the weather didn’t cooperate because of a record arctic cold front.
The forecast improved so Thanksgiving afternoon I decided to go ahead and travel to the Grand Canyon to do my run. But, as I approached the North Rim entrance at 7:30 p.m. I went through dangerously cold pockets of air. It got down to -18. That is minus 18 F!! It really freaked me out. I envisioned finishing my 90-mile run in below-zero temperatures moving very slowly up the North Rim. What if the car wouldn’t start because of the bitter cold? No one would be around to help because the services at the rim were closed. I decided to turn around at the North Rim entrance. I wasn’t willing to take on that danger.
Instead, I decided to make the long drive around the canyon to the South Rim and then do a shorter but amazing run during the next day when it would be warmer. My new plan was to do a giant loop, descending down Bright Angel Trail, heading west (down river) on the primitive Tonto Trail, go up the rough Boucher trail to Hermits Rest, and then either run 8 more miles on the rim back to my car or take the shuttle back. This would be normally a 4-day backpack trip. I hoped to run it in about 12 hours.