It was an absolutely crazy idea, but it could be done.
My father-in-law had done it before, and he was the one that convinced my dad and I to do it with him and a friend. A four man team, crossing the Grand Canyon, North Rim to South Rim in one day. It would be like walking a marathon, but through the Grand Canyon. I trained for a few months before, running stairs and preparing my knees. Physically I knew I would be fine, but I was trying to figure out the photo aspect of it. You can’t cross the Grand Canyon and not take photos (especially when you’re a professional photographer).
I decided to walk all 24ish miles with my Canon 5D strapped around my neck, with a lightweight 50mm 1.8 lens. That’s it. It was first and foremost a hike, and we had to keep walking. I didn’t want to slow down the group to take photos, so I shot mostly from the hip while moving. I wish I had my L glass, sure, but it would have been too heavy. One day I’ll take some nicer glass through the canyon, take my time, and shoot. Until then, I’ll have these photos as a memento.
John Wesley Powell said, “The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.” Powell was certainly right; words fall short in describing the Grand Canyon. Looking back, carrying that darn camera 24 miles (especially the last two, brutal miles) was so worth it.
I made a photo book that tells the story chronologically (we had a little drama along the way which makes it interesting). If you want a blow by blow account of how the hike went you can read/order the book by clicking HERE. Feel free to email me or comment on this post if you want advice on planning the hike, especially from a photographer’s point of view.
Tagged: bucket list, day hike, disaster photographer, grand canyon, grand canyon photography, hike, north kaibab trail, north rim, photos, planning a rim to rim hike, rim to rim, rim to rim hike, rim to rim one day, ryan johnson, ryan johnson photography, south rim