Thursday, 23 July 2020

King of the Road - My Journey Along Through the Grand Canyon (Kinda)

Right now there are travel bans everywhere in the wake of COVID-19 and non-essential travel outside of Canada, but this summer I plan to hike, run, walk, and bike the Grand Canyon anyway. Kind of.  All while remaining in Ontario.

We were in the middle of a family trip to Arizona when COVID hit, which meant we did not pass Go, and we did not go to The Grand Canyon as planned.  Nor did we get our tour of Antelope Canyon. Instead of celebrating my in-laws 50th anniversary we all scrambled to get back to Canada, went into 14 day self-isolation, and in the time since have been social distancing, homeschooling, working from home, and everything else.

Domo enjoying a hike in Sedona in early March

I am very thankful that everyone in our family has remained healthy and safe and is doing everything in their power (like wearing masks inside public places) to protect themselves and others.

All this being said, I must admit I'm a little bummed that we didn't get to complete our trip to one of the seven wonders of the world, but I've found a way that I can engage in this trip from afar.

Three weeks ago my husband began a song writing workshop called the I Heart Songwriting Club where he is given a new writing task each week, must write, record, and share a song on topic with his assigned group. Each member of the group listens to and gives constructive feedback on each song. He's on week four and absolutely loving this new hobby. It has broken up some of the monotony of our social distanced, work from home summer in the best possible way.

I began thinking about something that I want to engage in. A hobby of sorts. Since the middle of May I've given myself monthly running and hiking quotas, increasing the distance by seven percent each month), but I wanted something more. It's been a hot summer and on a day after a long run I burn out from taking the dog on a lengthy walk - which isn't great for him. Also like everyone else, there are errands where I drive when I could easily walk and be kinder to the environment.

As I began to search for my something new I discovered an App called My Virtual Mission. Essentially you pick a challenge, a date to complete it and whether you're competing on your own or with a team. You can run, walk, hike, cycle, row, and swim the English Channel, Route 66, The Inca Trail, and several other challenge. I chose to attempt to conquer the 450KM length of The Grand Canyon in 91 days.  The purchase of your challenge (mine was around $40 CAD) gives you access to an app, shows you other people in real time competing in the challenge, where you are on the challenge including a street view of where you are, location maps, and when you complete the challenge they mail you a medal. You can upload your own photos as you complete your distances. You can also pair the App with your smart watch etc. if you want.

Where I was "along" the Canyon Earlier this week

Anyone who knows anything about me and my time in Girl Guides and Brownies, knows I love me a good badge.  Molly is also excited to be a part of this challenge and has asked me to note the portions she accompanies me on so we can figure out how much of the Canyon she's going to conquer with me.

I will continue to immaturely post names of places I pass that I find amusing. This was the first one.

My journey began near Page and will end near South Cove at the other end of the canyon. Today is the third day of my challenge and I'm 3.4KM ahead of my day-to-day target. In a couple of days I hope to get my first virtual award for completing 5% of the challenge.  I'm going to check in here on my progress every 10 days or so to keep me accountable, and share any interesting photos from our journey. I hope one day in the not too distant future my family gets to return to the red rocks of Arizona, but for now the virtual version will just have to do.