Getting there from Flagstaff is quite easy. There is a shuttle service, called Arizona Shuttle, that in less than two hours takes you from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Village on the south rim of the canyon.
Grand Canyon Village is an entry point to the Grand Canyon. It's a pretty touristy place, with number of lodges, restaurants, souvenir shops, etc.. But what's most important, there are trails along the Canyon, and that's the place where trails into the Canyon start.
Basically, there are two trails along the South Rim of the Canyon, that start there. There is a shorter - Kaibab/Rim route, that goes east for about 6 km to the South Kaibab Trailhead, and the Hermit Trail, which goes for 13km west to Hermit's Rest. There are buses running along those routes, so people can walk one way, and take the bus on the way back.
I decided to start with a walk along the first, eastward trail. I got to Grand Canyon Village around 10am, and check-in to my hotel was supposed to start at 4 pm, so I had a plenty of time.
This first trail gives you an idea what Grand Canyon is about. You walk along the rim, so you can see a lot of it, and sense how huge it is. Along the trail there are many plaques, explaining geology of the Canyon, it's history, different types of rocks, layers, etc.
I was very surprised to learn that Grand Canyon is only 6 million years old. Colorado river is (surprisingly) not that big, and yet it managed to carve it in such a short period of time. The bottom layers of stones in the Canyon, are nearly 2 billion years old...
All right, some pictures:
After that walk, I went to check-in to my room. It was still early, but the room was ready. So I got in, had a bit of rest, and then head off for a long run. Sunday is a long run day, obviously.
I went for a run along the Hermit Trail - 26km out and back. Exactly what my coach prescribed me for today.
I have never run in more scenic place before. And I've run in a couple of really nice locations already.
But running on the edge of the Grand Canyon, just a few meters from the cliff edge, is something more.
The trail goes along the rim, but it's not flat. Quite undulating, to say the least. Not as many people as on the shorter, westward trail. And almost no one coming back (apparently everyone is coming back with the bus).
Nice, controlled run, it felt way better than the long run week ago, even though I could still feel yesterday's track session. Only the last 5-6km were hard, mostly because I was already hungry as hell.
A few more pictures. You can get a glimpse of Colorado river on few of them.
After the run (it was already getting dark) - a couple of beers and a massive steak dinner, to speed up recovery. Life is good ;)
Plan for tomorrow: Bright Angel Trail down to the Canyon.
ps. more pictures here: