Climbing down into the void

Grand Canyon Travel Blog

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The day started off innocently enough.  25 college students and their TA were planning on taking a 3-mile hike down into the Grand Canyon, then back up in time to return to LA.  We got up extremely early so as to realize this goal, and my camera died on the hike down.  Grr.

When we reached a point that was about one-half mile from where we were supposed to turn around, a park ranger informed us that the temperature was going to get too high that day to go any further, as those who did may face serious health risks trying to climb back up.  We took his advice and turned around.

For some reason, I was unable to keep up with the others.  I thought this was strange, because I'm in fairly decent shape and haven't had any real problems with my physical condition before.
Grand Canyon
  I soon found myself entirely incapable of breathing, and had to take very frequent - read every minute or so - breaks to catch my breath.  It was about 1pm, and the heat was getting to me as well.  If it wouldn't have been for my hiking partner Dave and his wonderful Gatorade with all of its electrolytes, I'm quite sure I would have passed out.

Long story short - I made it out alive, but just barely.  A doctor diagnosed me as having asthma the next week, and admonished me for having pushed myself like I did.  Not that I had much of a choice - when one is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, one really doesn't have many other options than climbing back out.

Aside from almost dying, however, it was an amazing experience.  Next time I think I'll take a pack-mule so as to not strain my lungs on the climb out.  If you're asthma-free, though, I would definitely recommend taking this hike.  It's absolutely beautiful...I don't know quite how else to describe it.
X_Drive says:
As an asthmatic myself I know how your felt. Our air quality is causing more and more asthma. Take care.
Posted on: Mar 16, 2007
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Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Looking down to where we were goin…
Looking down to where we were goi…
Dave pointing out just how far we …
Dave pointing out just how far we…
Beginning the climb down
Beginning the climb down
Beginning the climb down
Beginning the climb down
Looking up while hiking
Looking up while hiking
...still climbing down
...still climbing down
Class photo back up at the top
Class photo back up at the top
Looking out into the void
Looking out into the void
Sitting on the edge of the world
Sitting on the edge of the world
1,195 km (743 miles) traveled
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Grand Canyon
photo by: Sunflower300