From here, I rode the shuttle to the steepest trail on the South Rim, the venerable South Kaibab. I linked up with a festive group of German tourists, decided we'd tackle it together, and down we went.
If it looks cold, that's because it IS...when I started out, it was 13º with a stiff wind. I wore four layers, including a North Face Summit Series jacket I bought in Afghanistan. By the time we were halfway to Skeleton Point, I stripped down to a t-shirt and wore all the other layers around my waist...somewhat cumbersome, but it worked.
My legs shook uncontrollably after the hour of straight-down to Cedar Point. I kept looking up at how far we had to climb back to the top:
This is after only 15 minutes down. See those tiny black specks? Those are people.
From the same point, looking down...we still had a LONG way to go.
The way back up was the most gruelling Stairclimber workout you can imagine. But I surprised myself--I consistently got far ahead of the Germans, and felt like I could have gone all the way to the bottom. After my bum knee started to stiffen up, however, I knew that I'd done the right thing stopping where we did.
This was definitely a Christmas to remember.