At the North Kaibab Trailhead of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, my watch’s GPS says I’ve run 44.54 kilometers before my return run to the South Rim. That’s a wrinkle, as I’ve only packed “nutrition” for a total 76.5kms based on my research.
About 3.5 miles from the summit on the Cactus to Clouds, 10,400 feet (3,170 meters) of total vertical and 21 miles from Palm Springs to San Jacinto Peak, I conclude malevolent weather is the trail’s forte. Freezing rain, slush, and frigid wind have taken me to the edge of hypothermia outside Palm Springs – just for the irony.
The difference between front and back country, is one slip, one mistake, one lapse of judgement away — and that can happen only a couple miles from the trail head. The “ten essentials” of outdoor survival are your insurance should that razor thin difference cut, and you need to overnight on the trail, or wait for rescue.