Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach
Club 4360, District 6970

Rim to Rim with Bert Bright

 

 Bert Bright stopped by to give us a great overview of the Rim to Rim excursion at the Grand Canyon! Click more for details!

 

 

 

 Jim Hook got to introduce his friend Bert Bright who shared with us one of his most memorable life adventures. Bert is a retiree who has had a lifetime of excitement. A retired Air Force Colonel, veteran of Viet Nam, civic-minded community volunteer and much, much more. You could hear the excitement in his voice as he told his story how he and four of his high school buddies made this trip worthy of being on a bucket list.

     In the early 1950’s these guys grew up together as teens in D. C. Lately health is becoming for most of them more of a challenge. One has recently beat renal cancer and he is the one who lobbied for the group to make this trip to celebrate. The Grand Canyon just happens to be the most visited national park in the nation.

     Rim to Rim is an actual trek, either direction, between the north and south rims. From the north rim down is a quite steep approximate 7 miles. From the south rim down is a more gradual slope of about 14 miles. Going either way this is not a trek for wimps. If all you want to do is walk all the way around the top of the canyon, it’s 220 miles. Shortest distance would be flying, about 10 miles. Everything has to be taken in with you, and everything has to be taken back out with you.

     You don’t want to make a spur of the moment decision to do this and take off. Bert lists five critical items you will want to get. (1) a two-gallon water container (16 lbs) that you can carry over a shoulder or on your back. You want it easy to get to because dehydration is a major issue. (2) You want a source of electrolytes to go with that water. (3) You need a proper hat (sun protection). (4) You definitely want a pair of walking poles. (Let your arms help your legs.) (5) You need what Bert calls an Inspector Gadget vest (a pocket for everything). He gave us a free commercial for the local Red Otter store.

     The five gathered in Flagstaff; their trip was to be from the south to the north rim. One guy actually made the trek in one day. However, it seems there is only one guy who ever made this trek in one day. Our group planned for three days: one down the steeper 7 miles and two up the gentler slope of 14 miles. As they “trekked” the 21-22 miles they would descend 8,000 feet (from 10-2,000 ft above sea level) and then ascend back up the same 8,000 feet. They chose late August and were properly prepped by a ranger.

     On the way down one broke an ankle, struggled the rest of the way down with help from the others, and was then flown out by helicopter. The other four made it and the five celebrated together.