Running While on Vacation: Day 3 and 4 Grand Canyon

After spending three days in Palm Springs (you can read about it HERE and HERE if you missed it), we loaded up our car and headed to the Grand Canyon, seven hours away. For about a half a nano-second I contemplated trying to squeeze in a quick run before getting into the car, but decided instead, to keep it simple and enjoy a day of rest. My body doesn’t usually hold up well running four days in a row anyway.

Heading from California to Arizona

Heading from California to Arizona

We arrived at the Grand Canyon late in the afternoon, and ventured to the rim right after checking into our hotel. This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon, and even though I’d seen a bazillion photographs of it over the years (my hubby is a professional photographer), I was completely unprepared for the sheer awesomeness of it. A lump immediately formed in my throat and my eyes brimmed with liquid happiness. “Wow,” is all I could mumble as I gazed out, stunned by the beauty before me.

Photo of the Grand Canyon


Needless to say, the park’s jaw-dropping beauty made my heart pound as I thought about the prospects of running here. It would have to wait until the next morning though, as picture taking and a late dinner with my family was on our agenda, not to mention a highly recommended prickly pear margarita!

The next morning as my husband, Jeffrey, and daughter, Olivia, headed to breakfast at El Tovar Lodge, I ventured to Bright Angel Trail. From the first step, I knew this run was going to be extraordinary (at least once I made it past all the mule poop).

Photo of running near El Tovar Lodge along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Running along the rim near El Tovar Lodge before heading to the Bright Angel Trailhead. Photo © Jeffrey Aaronson

Photo of mule poo along Bright Angel Trail

A trail of mule poo at the beginning of Bright Angel Trail

It was already blazing hot at 7:30 in the morning, but running downhill into the canyon was pure bliss. Step after step I kept thinking to myself, I can’t believe I get to be here and do this! I took it slow so I could enjoy every step and look up often to take it all in; the vastness, the stunning hues of the canyon walls, the “wonder” of this natural wonder. With every breath, I felt nothing but joy and gratitude about being able to experience this remarkable run.

Photo of Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

The view near the top of Bright Angel Trail

Photo of Becky Aaronson running down Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

Pure Bliss!

Photo of Bright Angel Trail

Looking into the Canyon

The view along Bright Angel Trail

The breathtaking view along the trail.

One of the funniest things that happened was that I bumped into a fellow running friend from Santa Barbara, Ida Kane, who had been spending time with her family at Phantom Ranch and had hiked up from the bottom of Bright Angel Trail as I was heading down. It was one of those classic “small world” moments. So much fun. We laughed at the synchronicity of it, snapped a selfie and then she was kind enough to take a picture of me running for my memories before we parted ways.

Photo of Becky and Ida on Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

Bumping into my Santa Barbara running friend, Ida Kane, on the trail.

I had a healthy respect for the heat and the 6800 ft. altitude, so after running 2 miles down, I decided not to get greedy, and headed back up, especially when I was reminded about the excessive heat (no kidding!).


A record heat warning sign at my 2-mile turn around.

Photo of the view up on Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

The view on the way back up. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

Even though I was huffing and puffing much of the way back up on this 10% grade, I was completely energized by this run. I had to chuckle at all the funny comments from passersby as they were heading down. “You go, girl!” “Oh my god, she’s running up this trail!” “Wow, my hat is off to you.” I even had Japanese tourists bowing to me. Running, like life, is all relative. I felt slow as a snail, but these people made me feel like a rock star. Very funny.

Photo of Becky Aaronson running up Bright Angel Trail

Up, up, up we go!

The Bright Angel Trail informational sign at the trailhead

This is my “I survived” photo after getting back up to the top.

Bright Angel Trail stirred my soul and left me giddy, and instantly ranked right near the top of my all-time favorite runs. I didn’t think anything could ever rival running at Everest Base Camp in Tibet, but this is as close as any has ever come. Thank you Mother Nature for filling me up once again and reminding me that running will always take me beyond the ordinary.

Stay tuned for my next running adventure, which takes me to Arches National Park.

Happy Trails!

xo Becky

11 thoughts on “Running While on Vacation: Day 3 and 4 Grand Canyon

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