2 men endure 71-day hike to document the Grand Canyon

This year is the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park. Six million visit each year, but fewer than 5 percent actually hike into the canyon. More people have walked on the moon than have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon, 750 miles, the vast majority without trails.

“It’s a hostile place and water is the key,” said photographer Pete McBride. It took McBride and writer Kevin Fedarko 71 excruciating days to complete their journey. “I came in with some attitude. Like, ‘We’ll just – it’ll be hiking.’ and I just underestimated the physicality of it,” McBride said.

The monumental physical accomplishment was to serve a larger purpose: A comprehensive book and documentary highlighting the canyon’s challenges.

“This is the crown jewel of the entire system. This is the part that matters the most, not because it’s the first or the largest or the most visited, but because it’s the most recognized,” Fedarko said.

“So the canyon really does function like kind of a time machine. The clock starts at the rim, 250 million years into the past, and by the time you get to the bottom, you’re 1.8 billion years into the past,” Fedarko said.

But it’s the future they’re worried about.

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