Generally, I am appreciative of guidelines for adventures like this. Guides are people who have been there, done that. Guidelines are their words given to me to make my trip easier and safer. There is nothing about that to not like.

For this hike, I downloaded several pages of guidelines. I feel like winter has contributed nothing to my level of physical fitness, so the guidelines on training for the physical demands of the hike were… well, daunting at least, terrifying at most.  The tips start out with language like this

“The physical demands of hiking Grand Canyon are in stark contrast to those found in mountain climbing or hiking on relatively flat terrain. The first portion of your trip will be a knee-jarring descent. The climb out will come when your legs are most tired. The atmosphere will become increasingly thin as you near the top (the average South Rim elevation is 7,000 ft.), making it considerably more difficult to breathe.” (I highlighted the scary parts.)

Following this part where they got my attention, were schedules for cardio training, muscular strength training and body/joint flexibility training, the likes of which I have followed NEVER. And that was just a “suitable” workout schedule for general fitness.

This was the next schedule for the month leading up to the hike where a “tougher” training was recommended:

  • Day one: 1.5 hours cardiovascular workout, 30 to 40 minutes lower body strength training
  • Day two: 30 minutes cardio warm up, 30 to 40 minutes upper body training
  • Day three: repeat day one
  • Day four: repeat day two
  • Day five: repeat day one
  • Day six: Day hike at least four hours in duration. Try to simulate the Canyon’s trails by hiking on steep hills wearing hiking boots and back pack.
  • Day seven: Rest

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

And the summation was in bold type: Remember-the fitter you are the more fun you will have and the more you will learn.

I’m pretty sure this guy missed the guideline about staying away from the edges of scary cliffs.

The food guidelines are a subject for another post so I’ll skip them now. Protecting the park itself is important though, so I will mention some of the National Park regulations of interest:

  • Carry out your trash. Burning, burying or leaving trash or toilet paper is prohibited.
  • Wood or charcoal fires of any type are prohibited. Sterno or fossil fuel backpack stoves are permitted.
  • Use of biodegradable or any other type of soap in creeks or camping within 100 feet of any water source (except at designated sites) is prohibited.
  • Feeding, touching, teasing, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited.
  • Throwing or rolling rocks or other items down hillsides or mountainsides, into valleys or canyons, or inside caves is prohibited. 
  • Leaving a trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway, or to shortcut to an adjacent trail is strictly prohibited.
  • Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state any plants, rocks, animals, mineral, cultural or archeological resources, natural features, or signs is prohibited. Walking on, entering, traversing, or climbing an archeological resource is prohibited.
  • Traps and nets are prohibited. A valid fishing license is required for all fishing.
  • Because of their sensitive and sometimes dangerous nature, entry and/or exploration of any caves or mines must be approved in advance through Grand Canyon N.P.

I can imagine how all these rules became necessary, and what a job it must have been (much like parenting) to figure out all the words that would have to be used to cover all the excuses people would make.

The thought of carrying out used toilet paper is not pleasant but then neither is the thought of seeing someone else’s used toilet paper stuck on a cactus or sticking out from under a rock. I can see their point. Good to know. I can keep these rules. Just sayin’, how hard can it be?

8 thoughts on “Guidelines

  1. My daughter’s motto, (she’s an avid hiker), says “leave no trace behind.”

    • That’s the best philosophy. I feel kind of sick when I see trash in some beautiful spot, knowing that someone has mindlessly tossed it and not seen how out of place it looks.

  2. I guess maybe living at 7000 ft the 2 times I hiked the canyon gave me an up on preparing for the hike. You are hiking down the Kaibab ? Yes it is hard on the knees mostly, at least for me it was. The first time down we only took a day pack and it was fairly easy, however the second time we took tents, food, etc in our back packs and it was a lot harder on the knees. I was a lot younger then of course ! Climbing out was not that bad as the back pack rests mostly on your hips. I think the most important thing is to wear boots that are well broken in. You’ll do great I’m sure. Love, you, Lorie

  3. Wow – I am glad they are serious about keeping this national treasure perfect. But the rules are definitely a little overwhelming. I look forward to your future posts.

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