Wild Drake Product Development and Testing at the Grand Canyon

This season’s Grand Canyon adventure began with an impressive no-sleep marathon that included waking at 1am and departing home at 3am, a ritual that’s worth its value in gold, intuitively avoiding the bustling morning traffic traveling through Phoenix via Interstate 10. I know, from experience, that if I can manage to reach Interstate 17 before the heavy traffic morning commute it’s clear sailing all the way to Flagstaff. Mission accomplished as we blasted through Phoenix reaching the land of plateaus, mesas and the Mogollon (pronounced: mug-ee-yun) Rim just as the sun began to rise. And what’s a vacation without a detour through the fabulous city of Sedona, a hot cup of coffee and a 360º view of Arizona’s stunning red rock country? Following our quick respite we continued on our journey from Sedona up through Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. This was our first time traveling through Oak Creek Canyon (highway 89A) since the Slide Fire that began in Slide Rock State Park back in May and we were pleased that at least most of the canyon was spared of the 21,000+ acre (8500 ha) burn damage. Once in Flagstaff, we enjoyed a bit more downtime before heading up to the Grand Canyon. We arrived at Grand Canyon National Park at approximately 11am and went immediately to the El Tovar hotel restaurant to enjoy the canyon view and culinarily begin celebrating my (David) birthday with a quick lunch. Following our meal we made our way to Mather Campground to begin setting up camp where we excitedly spent the next 4 days of our lives.

Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park

At 3pm, now well awake for 14 hrs, we had our campsite set-up and decided a few minutes of rest were well earned. No more than a few moments later, Janice jumped up and suggested, “if we’re going to hike the canyon Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) why don’t we begin now while your birthday is still relatively young”, also giving us an opportunity to test our nutritional products with less than adequate rest, expecting to hike for a straight 24 hrs. Always game for an adventure and an opportunity to test our products, I agreed. Thus, with little sleep and several hours earlier than our 11:30pm planned departure, we quickly consumed our Hike™ nutritional supplement, packed enough nutritional products to carry us the next 48 miles, and hit the Bright Angel Trailhead on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at 5:30pm and began descending into the canyon. Before long, Janice and I, along with our nutritional therapy and the Black Diamond brand Icon headlamp (highly recommended) and its 200 lumen ferocity, purchased the day before, together were mercilessly guiding us down the trail towards the mighty Colorado River. We both felt like a million bucks! Along the way, Janice and I stopped many times to enjoy the scenery, replenish our water supply, ingest more Hike™, snap a few photos and tangentially enjoy a few quick canyon side riffs. By the time we arrived at the Colorado the Moon was high and bright enough to partially guide our way to Phantom Ranch.

Bright Angel Trail
Both Janice and I make an appearance in this photo
Bright Angel Trailhead
Bright Angel Trailhead
Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail

Ten mi (16 km) into our R2R2R hike we reached the Phantom Ranch at approximately 11:30pm, quite a bit slower than our projected 2 mi/hr (3.3 km/hr) strategy. Janice suggested that my habit of tangentially exploring off-trail should be left for times when we didn’t have any time restraints. As we relaxed down at the Phantom Ranch, prepared more Hike™ and Hydraulic™, and replenished our water supply I looked up to notice that Janice fell fast asleep on the picnic table. Thinking to myself, not a bad idea and since we’ve been awake for a straight 22.5 hrs, I found a second picnic table. An hour and a half later and no longer my birthday, after waking I proposed continuing our night hike back out of the canyon since we were now never going to accomplish our goal of hiking R2R2R in 24 hrs. With both of us in agreement that our R2R2R hike should be attempted within a 24 hr time frame we decidedly ascended the canyon via the Bright Angel Trail arriving once again at the South Rim just before sunrise, stopping, resting and replenishing our nutritional products and water just once at Indian Garden.

Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs

Now, back on the South Rim and with just 90 mins of sleep in the past 29 hrs, we both felt absolutely wonderful, knowing our products and without a question the lack of ambient daytime heat, powered our way from the South Rim down to the Phantom Ranch and back, a total elevation change of approximately ~2 mi (~3.3 km), ~20 mi (~32 km) in length and in unfortunately more time than we hoped considering my meandering, but we had fun.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

For a period of time just greater than one year we’ve been developing and testing our many products, including and particular to this trip our premier natural hydration champion, Hydraulic™, and both our stimulant and recovery beverages, Hike™ in two different mediums. At camp, on the trail and at home, including our daily living, we’re always refining our many fabulous teas (introducing our newest tea, AZTea™), energy bars, Bru.Ja.Va™ coffee beverage(s), natural stimulants and healthy paleo meals and we believe we have quite a few winners ready for public introduction.

Grand Canyon, South Rim
Grand Canyon, South Rim
Janice
Janice

After returning to camp, without any further rest, we both ran over to the shower facilities, prepared breakfast then ran back out to the rim for canyon viewing, walking, photo opportunities and discussion. Conversation was actually Janice lecturing me that I need to focus and remain on the trail rather than wandering off on my little side excursions so that we can actually hike this hike within a 24-hour period. I agreed but it was in fact my birthday and I was fortuitously given a pass. We thus discussed when we figured we’ll make it back out to the Grand Canyon to complete this elusive 24-hour R2R2R hike and we’re hoping to do so this coming Spring, 2015.

Grand Canyon, South Rim
Grand Canyon, South Rim

Between September 10th (my birthday) and September 11th, we completed our ascension out of this immense canyon, must have been the longest day of our lives. After arriving back at camp, showering, eating and running back out to the rim, we realized that it had been only 12 noon when we both thought we were surely cozying up to at least 4pm, all still with only 90 mins of rest behind us and still feeling great. We spent the rest of our day walking the rim, talking and shopping. Finally, 9:30pm, following dinner, a roaring camp fire and product discussion, we crashed. What a fabulous day and a wonderful birthday!

Hang on
Hang on

We may not have accomplished our goal, this time, hiking the Grand Canyon R2R2R but we have something to look forward to for our next Grand Canyon journey. Unlike every other time I’ve hiked Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch (this was my 5th time) we hiked the dark side of day. The temperatures were cooler and travel was slower. The nighttime experience was so pleasurable I would never hesitate to night hike again. Our only regret was missing out on the wonderful views the canyon has to offer. Although I’ve performed this hike many times prior, this was Janice’s first and she would have enjoyed the view. Considering a R2R2R hike entails all of 24-hours, covering close to ~48 mi (~77 km) of hiking and ~21,000 ft (~6400 m) of elevation change, she’ll get to see it soon enough, probably more knowing that I’ll never be able to resist my flanking curiosity and adventure.

David
David

Incidentally and/or to reiterate, the Grand Canyon R2R2R hike from Bright Angel Trail on the South Rim following through to the North Kaibab Trail heading up to the North Rim and back is approximately 48 mi (77 km) of hiking with approximately 21,000 ft (6400 m) of elevation change (sorry for the redundancy), and temperatures that may easily fluctuate from the low 40’s ºF (0 ºC) to much greater than 100 ºF (40 ºC) at the river and within the canyon walls during the hottest part of the day. In fact, within the canyons the temperature rises and varies quite a bit considering a combination of direct, reflective and radiant heat, making night hiking quite pleasant.

Bright Angel Trail / Rim Trail
Bright Angel Trail / Rim Trail
Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail

Note to self: For your next R2R2R attempt, be sure to get enough sleep prior to hiking, try as hard as possible to deflect every urge to traipse off-trail (David) at every inviting possibility and walk as fast as possible (Janice) past the oh-so-inviting Phantom Ranch picnic tables.

Note: Because our canyon hike was predominantly during nighttime hours the majority of our posted photos were taken from the rim during our many rim walks.

Reach Your Summit!

Hike… Take One!

Hike…Take One!

This is not a statement telling you to get lost although that is occasionally exactly what we recommend. Hike™ is the most recent development in our Wild Drake lineup and David and I are extremely eager to share it with everyone. After countless hours of research and rounds of testing, we have finalized several versions and they are ready to be released!
What is Hike? It is a highly functional and synergistic mixture that may be added to water, juice, smoothies, yogurt, or whatever you like, and is available in specifically targeted blends for different applications. Our flagship compound is Hike Endurance and we are certain that it will help you Reach YOUR Summit. After consuming this tasty combination, our testers all noticed improved endurance, less fatigue, reduced muscle soreness, and a number of secondary effects such as increased awareness and attention to detail. All this and NO caffeine!

This isn’t an energy shot/drink knockoff. This is authentic, feed your body nutrition that is backed by science. We will be posting a complete breakdown of ingredients soon but ultimately, Hike is a combination of herbs, fruit and vegetable juices, amino acids, and other active constituents like d-ribose (helps with energy production and the ATP cycle). As always, we have blurred the boundaries between traditional herbalism, bodybuilding stacks, athletic supplements, and nutrition to bring you a superior option for supporting your endeavors.

Allow me to regale you with an account of one of my personal experiences of taking a Hike. I simply mixed the contents of an Endurance packet with about twelve ounces of water and drank half of it approximately half an hour before getting on the spin bike and sipped the rest while riding. Normally, I put in 30-45 minutes at a decent pace because I want some cardio and am not necessarily looking to burn extra calories but after consuming the Hike Endurance, I was still going strong at 75 minutes and my legs did not get tired or burn at any point. Additionally, I was able to finish my regular workout and then later David and I had a brisk five-mile walk to enjoy our warm evening. I felt great, not wired or jittery, not all jacked up and pacing, but rather like I had energy reserves that were untapped.

Endurance is only one choice in our expanding Wild Drake Hike family. When I know that I have a demanding day ahead, I rely upon Hike Focus to keep my mind working in an optimal state and to enable me to concentrate for longer periods of time. We offer our Hike Rush for times when you need a power spike and this one does contain green coffee bean extract (caffeine) along with other ingredients for those who need or want extra stimulation. After a strenuous adventure, we recommend Hike Revitalize to address post-workout damage and we have Hike Foundation (joint/arthritis) in the testing phase. Wild Drake also features Hike Vitality and Hike Immunity and we have several more still in development. Even on the days that you aren’t on the trail or on the go, you can give yourself some nutritional sustenance to keep your foundation strong.

We are gearing up and are on a non-stop trajectory to full release of the first wave of products. It is exciting and exhausting and I’m glad that we have created Hike to help support our bodies during this exhilarating marathon. From meeting labeling requirements to sourcing ingredients and getting feedback from our testers, we continuously have a pile of things waiting to be completed or addressed. And speaking of details, we need to make sure that we touch upon the topic of safety and effectiveness. We find our products to be both and wouldn’t release them if they weren’t. While we have discussed our ingredients with medical professionals and we have many scientific articles and sources that we used in designing our products none of the statements that we make about them are evaluated or approved by the FDA. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition, please consult your doctor or practitioner before taking a Hike.

Whew, glad we got that out of the way and can get back to work. If you are interested in ordering Hike, Hydraulic, our Lame Duck oil for sore muscles, sprains, and bruises, AscenTea, DescenTea, Strawberry Mint Toothpowder, Vanilla Sugar Scrub (for removing trail grime), or our DEET-free, natural bug repellant, please let us know. Our food selections will start to become available in the near future and we should have the full ecommerce website set up for purchasing soon but until then we have some alternatives and we know you are going to love our Wild Drake products as much as we do! What are you waiting for? Take a Hike!

Reach Your Summit!