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A hike in the Grand Canyon – a pipe dream?

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My dream started back in about 2003 when I met a group of girls who walked the Grand Canyon rim to rim in a day – I vowed one day, that I too would walk the Grand Canyon rim to rim!

The date has been set a couple of times, but due to logistics, then to a back and hip problem, everything had to be postponed. I knew that preparation was key, I had to be able to complete tough walks in the UK, because this walk was going to have the added challenge of temperatures around 110degrees.

I set the date for late May 2013 – I would have just turned 50. I started my training in May 2012, firstly with short flat walks, then as the months progressed the distances increased, as did the climbs and descents – my sister Amanda pushed me, making sure that I was always carrying a 20lb backpack. Some of our walks involved a 3 hour drive each way, just to make sure that we could find terrain that had a decent climb involved – weather didn’t matter too much, we walked in cold, wet conditions and on hot sunny days – she was a tough trainer! I knew the kit was important and getting used to walking with sticks as was using hydration packs – they just had to be second nature. So many times it seemed easier to just give up – but I kept the goal in sight.

New Year’s Eve 2012 / 2013 I was speaking to my business coach Iain Whyte (Big Man Talking) when I jokingly asked if he wanted to join me – within the hour he confirmed he would be doing it – there would be no going back now! Iain then asked if Ian Edwards could also join us – the team was set – the Three Musketeers!

We all started to train heavily, Iain walked through snow and ice, determined to catch up on the training I had already done, he even walked in excess of 60 miles in one week! Training regimes and checklists for kit were shared online, flights booked and the ante was upped! It was essential to complete a 25-mile walk before travelling to the States and on the 5th April I travelled up to Scotland to complete the walk with Iain (unfortunately Ian wasn’t able to join us and decided to do his practice walk down South)

The training walk was a bast**d!! Several times I said to Iain I couldn’t go on, by 11.5 miles I was asking him to call his wife to fetch us, he refused, we were going to complete 25 miles – that was all there was to it – and we did it!! We carried our rucksacks, used the hydration packs and learned a valuable lesson about the food required, we knew the real thing would be much tougher, but we were prepared.

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