Mar 27, 2021
This time eight years ago I was running between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Below are the blog posts from that time, along with various photos. In the next post I’ll have some videos from the Forrest Gump road in Monument Valley.
Mar 23, 2012
Distance today = 38.85 km; Total distance = 3898.39 km; Location = Desert View – 36 01.465′ N, 111 49.525′ W; Start time = 0734, Finish time = 1457
Well, I did reach a new record high elevation today, and pretty early on. I got to 2,284 metres, which is higher than anywhere in Australia, and only 350 metres lower than the Col du Galibier, the third highest pass in Europe. I’m pretty sure it’s downhill from here for a while, though.
But, first things first. I ran 5 km early this morning before taking a break to have a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Once again, I will refrain from the superlatives, and simply say that anyone visiting here should take this ride. It is particularly exhilarating when the chopper approaches the canyon surreptitiously from low over the trees, and then it suddenly appears and the pilot drops the craft down into canyon, leaving your stomach up in your mouth.
From there it was straight back to where I left off running, and I completed another 34 or so kilometres of very enjoyable running, right along the south rim of the canyon. The whole way the Grand Canyon was just over to my left. When there weren’t stunning views, there were pleasant Ponderosa pines lining the road – a great forest run in itself, even if the canyon wasn’t there. There couldn’t be too many better single day runs in the world. Not sure why, but I was a bit faster than normal today, and feeling good.
Tomorrow I bid adieu to the Grand Canyon, and head toward Monument Valley. I expect to reach it before the end of the coming week.
PS I passed 2,000 km of running in the US today. It has only taken me 20 days to run the last 1,000 km.
Mar 24, 2012
Distance today = 50.81 km; Total distance = 3949.20 km; Location = Cameron – 35 52.554′ N, 111 24.787′ W; Start time = 0907, Finish time = 1617
Today was another tough one. It would have been a standard day, except that there was 4,110 feet of downhill running. That takes its toll on your legs, and mine are jarred pretty badly.
The soreness was eased somewhat by the great views I had as I descended from the Grand Canyon plateau. The Little Colorado River Gorge, which is joined to the GC, is a great tourist attraction in its own right.
Tonight we’re in Cameron, an original trading post between the settlers and the Navajo Indians. Many of the buildings are still standing. It’s easy to imagine how it was 150 years ago.
I’m afraid it’s looking like my mobile phone reception will be quite sporadic over the coming weeks, as I make my way through some of the most remote countryside in the mainland US. The worst thing about this for viewers of this web site is that the real time tracker may often be outdated in regard to where it’s showing me to be. Even today, the tracker is showing me about 2 km south of where I actually finished today’s run. This is not too bad, but it could get worse. Fingers crossed – maybe it won’t be that bad after all.
PS Thank you to the many people who have tweeted me their well wishes. However, my twitter account is set up so that all tweets go directly to the Facebook and web site, including tweets to individuals. Therefore, I do not reply personally to tweets, as they will be seen by everyone, but I do read and appreciate them.
Mar 25, 2012
Distance today = 51.19 km; Total distance = 4000.39 km; Location = 11 km east of Tuba City (329 mile marker) – 36 09.572′ N, 111 06.577′ W; Start time = 0825, Finish time = 1555
Today I passed the 4,000 km mark. As you’ll see from the photos, the scenery is stunning. It’s part of the Painted Desert, and it’s not hard to see how the region got its name.
I woke this morning with a few sore spots. When I arrived at Cameron yesterday afternoon, I slipped on some roughly-hewn stone stairs. I knew I’d hurt my left ankle and strained my right glute, but it wasn’t too bad while I was warm. However, it stiffened up during the night. It took a little while to warm up this morning, but once I got going, everything settled down.
I was pleased I was climbing again today, after yesterday’s long descent. It was much easier on my legs. The mobile phone reception was actually quite good, so the tracker worked well. Let’s hope this continues through the desert, but who knows.
I expect to be at Monument Valley by Wednesday, ready to do the Forrest Gump thing.
I’ve had a few enquiries about the RWVQ, but haven’t had anything to better the leading red wine yet. This isn’t going to change for a few days at least. We discovered that we’re actually on a Navajo reservation at the moment, and no alcohol is sold. Luckily we have some spares.
Mar 26, 2012
Distance today = 59.66 km; Total distance = 4060.05 km; Location = 20 km east of Cow Springs – 36 29.565′ N, 110 37.609′ W; Start time = 0935, Finish time = 1755
Lots of technical issues today, which is one reason I ran so far. Firstly, Arizona is not on daylight saving time, like most of the rest of the US. However, to complicate this fact, the Navajo Reservation, which is part of Arizona, is on DST (although they call it Navajo time here). This unusual situation has confused our i-Phones and other GPS watches (our various time pieces are reading different times), and led to the support crew picking me up later than I had anticipated.
Then when I got in, the batteries in my mouse had died, so these needed to be replaced after a rushed trip to the supermarket. Finally, the GPS watch took nearly three hours to download its data (not sure why). At least these problems have now been resolved. However, I was also out of mobile phone “data range” too, and this has not been resolved. I have phone call reception, but not data reception (once again, not sure why), meaning I can’t send my position to the tracker (or see Google Maps or get the internet). It’s currently showing me well back from where I officially am.
The run itself was uneventful, other than an episode with a dog. At about the 40 km mark, I noticed a young dog running along inside a fence line, looking to get out and meet me. It finally found a way out, and came running to me. It was a very nice dog – the stereotypical sort that cartoonists draw, with a black spot around one eye. It was ultra friendly and just wanted to be with me, jumping up and licking me constantly. The problem was, it wanted to go home with me, and wouldn’t go back to its own place. It also had no road sense, and sat in the middle of the tarmac waiting for me to join it – this was a road with plenty of traffic travelling at 120 km/h. I quickly picked it up and took it back and placed it inside its gate (after switching off my watch, of course), but it soon escaped and was back on the road with me. Luckily there was a road worker in a pickup truck just across the other side of the highway. I carried the dog over to him (I didn’t trust it on the road), and explained the issue. We agreed he’d occupy the pooch while I ran away, and he would then drive it across the road to its home and then drive away. My part of the plan went smoothly, and I hope his part did too.
The 60 km today affords me a relatively short day tomorrow. If there’s anyone out there who wants to join me to run Monument Valley on Wednesday, please feel free to be in touch, or just turn up and meet me on the road around lunchtime.
PS I’m back up over 1,900 metres in elevation, and I believe I’ll go above 2,000 metres tomorrow morning. It’s been very gentle climbing, though.
Mar 27, 2012
Distance today = 44.26 km; Total distance = 4104.31 km; Location = Kayenta – 36 42.439′ N, 110 15.228′ W; Start time = 0914, Finish time = 1525
A relatively short run of 44 km today, courtesy of the long day yesterday. I am now in Kayenta, which is the gateway to Monument Valley from the Arizona side. Tomorrow I’ll cross the border into Utah and enter Monument Valley.
On the side of the road today I saw an empty Fosters beer can. I’d have a harder time trying to find one in Australia. In fact, there were plenty of beer cans and whiskey bottles along the side of the road within the Navajo Reservation, which is at odds with the fact that no alcohol is sold within its jurisdictional limits. I suspect some go outside to buy their drinks, and consume them before getting home, ditching the empties along the way. Not good for the environment, or the aesthetics of the place. In general, however, the Navajo people are very friendly, and I’ve had a chat with several as I’ve passed them hitchhiking on the side of the road. In fact, I’d estimate that 95% of the people I’ve met over the past four days have been Navajos, which is quite a refreshing change – it really makes you feel like you’re in another land.
Apologies about the lack of tracking ability. Reception appears to be getting worse. In fact, there were no tracker updates at all today. You can thank T-Mobile for that. As mentioned, I’m actually in Kayenta, not the fifty or so kilometres down the road that the tracker is showing. I have no idea when it will next update.