Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim That Saved a Life
A Navy SEAL Misogi Challenge Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim That Saved a Life – The hike known as R3, or Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, is a very tough challenge that requires trekking from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other and back again, which is about 50 miles in total. It also involves climbing about 10,000 feet in elevation and generally takes two to four days to complete the hike, but some people, like me, want to do it in just one day! In the end, it took us 25.5 hours and we covered 54 miles.
As a retired Navy SEAL, I continue to push myself to find new limits which is why I was excited to do this Misogi challenge, organized by a group called Man Made where we help men become their best selves. Misogi is a Japanese word meaning cleansing of the soul, generally done before the New Year. This Misogi R3 challenge was an emotional, spiritual, and psychological challenge disguised as a physical challenge. It’s all about pushing yourself beyond your limits, and that’s exactly what we did.
On the day of the Hike
We set out around 10 pm on a Tuesday night but the weather was not on our side. A snowstorm had just hit and more snow was on the way with 45 MPH winds. The good news was that there was little chance that we would overheat. As we made our way down the South Rim the snow became slippery even though we were wearing crampons. We eventually made it to the bottom of the canyon around 2 am where we refilled our water and had a snack.
We Continued on the far end of the Canyon
About 20 miles into our challenge, where few people hike to and where we took one last water break at a seasonal abandoned ranger station before charging up the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. There were plywood outhouses and as we were just trying to get a little shelter from the frigid wind one of the outhouse doors opened and a very weak voice called for help.
The voice was from an 18-year-old boy named David who was suffering from hypothermia. He was shivering, and his skin was turning blue. We quickly wrapped him in space blankets and gave him hot chocolate to warm him up. Then, we helped him into the closed ranger station, so he could warm up as we continued on our way to the North rim.
We left two of our hikers who were suffering from injuries coming down the South Rim to rest, warm up and keep an eye on David and keep him company.
Despite the Howling Wind and About an Hour’s Setback With David
We started to push to the North Rim. It was BEAUTIFUL and steep! There were waterfalls, some we had to walk under, cliffs, rockslides, and altitude to contend with. As we climbed out of the canyon we started to hit snow at about 6K feet. We knew we had to keep moving, so we pushed ourselves even harder. The snow got deeper, the wind was howling. and the path up was washed away in some places.
We soon realized that the snow near the top of the North Rim was about 8 feet deep. It took us about an hour to travel a half mile. We did not have the time or equipment to get there. We were exhausted, so with about a mile to go, we turned back and made our way back out.
As we Hiked Back
We picked up David and our two injured guys, who had warmed up and were feeling much better.
It turns out that David didn’t have any strong men as role models in his life. Well, he just got 13 all at once including a pro athlete, Army Ranger, and Navy SEAL, all part of Man Made. We dropped David off at the Ranger Station at Phantom Ranch then started the trek from Hell, the last 9 miles out of the Grand Canyon back to the South Rim.
The hike back was even harder than the hike to the North rim. Tired, and sore legs, we didn’t give up. Several in our group stayed together, but I fell behind. For the next 4 hours, my mind was full of anger, and self-pity (darkness). How would I ever get out of the damn Canyon?
Then it got Dark and my Headlamp was low on Batteries
This turned into a good thing. Eventually, I just put my head down and looked about 2 feet in front of where I was walking. I TOOK BABY STEPS. As long as I only focused on the ground directly in front of me I moved more quickly and started building momentum. When I looked up to see how far I needed to go I got overwhelmed and started going back to that self-pity.
Back to those baby steps! Pretty soon I could hear people up ahead. I caught a group! Then I passed them and caught another group and another.. Baby steps! SMALL VICTORIES! Finally, 25.5 hours later we all finished the R3.
If you are a man or you know a man who needs or wants other men in his life that will push him beyond their limiting beliefs, hold him accountable, or just wants to live an epic life, I encourage you to reach out to me at www.mam-made.org. We will help you reach your full potential and have some fun along the way.
Connect with William.