Grand Canyon… S. Kiabab to Bright Angel Loop PART ONE – Hiking Fuel Cavewoman Style 6

When initially thinking about this post I thought I would include it all in one post BUT I think the fuel and preparation involved for this trek deserved it’s own post.  I also thought it would be less cumbersome for those who read for the Paleo and nutrition portion of my blog.  Win-Win for you all!  I aim to please!

This post will cover the items I brought along with me and the fuel before, during and after that I consumed.  Starting with the pack I brought, and the items in my pack for safety, the clothes I wore, then with the fuel I used.

I went with a fellow hiking junkie named Mike.  We did the S. Kiabab to Bright Angel Loop.  16 miles, 4600 feet of descending down S. Kiabab trail across the Colorado River, then back up 4300 feet on the Bright Angel trail.  We did this in one day.  6 hours total time including stops and lunch.  We did our Ascent in 2:10 minutes.  That is insane.  We were both in shock.  We both really felt the fuel gave us the edge to make that happen.



We lucked out bigtime on the weather for this trip.  It was a balmy 40 when we started and the high was 65.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the bus driver to the trailhead said we likely had one of the best days of the year.  Nevertheless we didn’t know that this would be the case so I over prepared.  Every time I over prepare I never need anything extra that I brought.  Fine with me!

My Pack:

I use this pack for my hikes longer than 10 miles.  I purchased it from REI about 9 months ago.  I bought it specifically with this hike in mind.  I LOVE it.  The weight distribution puts the load on my hip bones instead of shoulders.  It has the Sirrus backpanel and suspension, lifting the pack OFF your back with a rigid mesh like material that breathes so well.  This is definitely the best part of this pack.

Inside My Pack (non food items):

First Aid Kit:

Survival Kit:

Fire Starters:

Multi Use Tool:

Leatherman or similar.  There are too many to choose from.  I just made sure it had a bunch of options and was sharp enough to cut an arm off if need be… 127 HOURS!

My Clothes:

I wore 2 layers to start the day.  Base layer long sleeve top made of Smartwool- I have mentioned this in my top ten favorite things right now post.  The wool socks I wore were also on this post.  Merino WOOL is where it’s at. I wore a Patagonia fleece over that.

I wore Lululemon wonder under crops as a base layer for bottoms.  They are so lightweight and moisture wicking.  I wore a heavier layer of Lululemon crops over the tights.

I also had a light pair of gloves.  In my pack I had a tank and a Under Armour heat gear long sleeve top.

I stripped off my base layer 1/4 of the way into the hike and changed my wool base layer to the heat gear long sleeve top until we hit the halfway point to keep the sun off my skin.  I then kept on the tights and tank only.

I was very comfortable the entire time- obviously made several wardrobe changes but I was glad to have extra options if I needed them.  A task of this size warrants being as comfortable as you can be, hauling an extra pound of clothes was worth it.  I used compression sacks to keep them dry and separate from everything else in my pack.



Now for my FAVORITE part- the fuel!  I was SO fortunate to have Sly Fox Nutrition and Celebrity Chef Jen Arricale to take care of this portion for me!

I had a mammoth of a man along for the trek.  He is the fastest climber I have hiked with and he is very health conscious.  He has not been prepared in the past the way these two experts set us up.  We both fully attributed the pace we kept and the insane ascent time we managed out of Bright Angel trail to the fuel we had in tow.


The owner of Sly Fox Nutrition, Marc Sweet tested out some new custom made products for this trek along with a products he currently markets and sells.

He sells performance snacks for athletes looking for natural substitutes rather than the processed, grain, gluten and the other junk that is out there.  He is Paleo as am I, however for any athlete, weekend warrior or health conscious snacker his products are simple real food and DELICIOUS.


Sly Fox Brownies

These brownie bites he currently sells.  They are INCREDIBLE.  Check out the ingredient list.  Cacao, honey, coconut oil, egg, salt and vanilla bean.  I had 3 packs of these.  I shared one them with Mike.  He immediately asked where he could get some with the chocolate still on his teeth.  We ate half of them on the descent, the other half on the ascent.



Mountain Mix

This is another current product that Marc sells.  I love it because there are no oils, sugar, or other crap added.  Simply organic nuts, raisins and cacao nibs.  There are so many added ingredients to store bought trail mixes.




Gel- OOOOF.. the gels on the market are all processed sugar ridden nightmares.  This was once again real food, and full of quick energy.  It is organic dates, organic cocoa, honey, and sea salt.  It REALLY does not get better than this for a quick boost of needed energy.  Mike and I would immediately get an extra pep in our step after one of these packets.  It was also so tasty.  This is currently an experimental item that I was testing out for Marc.  I say it is a GO!




This was another experimental item, and while I am totally bananas over everything he sells, these were a key essential!  I usually do coconut water, and I love it however these sport drinks were better.  I choose coconut water because all the other gatorades and such use a tremendous amount of sugar, aspartame and other crap.  This had water, lemon, lime, honey and sea salt.  I was craving salt.  This was so quenching, not sweet like the other ‘sports’ drinks.  Out of all the sports beverages I have tried this is the best ever.  NO, Gatorade will not suffice!

Marc Sweet- the owner of Sly Fox has been adding items weekly to his line.  Everyone I have introduced to his products raves about them.  Check him out- Paleo or not- it is smart snacking.


Celebrity Fitness Chef Jen Arricale:

This lovely lady created a custom recipe for me with this particular hike in mind along with my Paleo lifestyle.

Her goal with this recipe was to, in her words  “Recharge your vital minerals, electrolytes, glucose and protein midway through your adventure!”

This absolutely accomplished the goal, and took us far beyond what we hoped for.



Paleo Lunch For Grand Canyon by Chef Jen Arricale:

Sweet Potato Fingers with Sea Salt and Tumeric:

  • Cut sweet potato into finger size slices
  • Toss them in coconut oil
  • Coat them with Sea Salt and Tumeric
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes on baking sheet

Paleo Power Meatloaf:

  • Equal parts ground beef, ground pork  and ground turkey
  • Diced Mushrooms
  • Diced Spinach
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Flaxseed Meal
  • Almond Flour
  • Chopped Walnuts
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chopped Apples
  • Seasoning of your choice

I made enough of both of these for the entire day before as well.  Mike and I ate 3 slices about a half inch thick along with a half a large sweet potato each at our lunch stop. It was SO SO tasty and exactly what we needed before our climb out.  For the specifics on the recipe, I encourage you to get in touch with Jen!!



Colorado River Lunch

Here we are at our lunch spot.  From there we both had a PR on our ascent out of that canyon.  We climbed 4300 feet over 9.6 miles in 2 hours and 10 minutes.  Mike is in GREAT shape and said he has never been that set up for fuel.  This post was so integral in this story.  I am working on Part DUEX as I type.  This is a little teaser for the next post- the scenery was beyond words.  I also have a shirtless photo coming up.  LOL!

Click here for PART TWO: The hike review







I am not a dietitian, nutritionist, or certified trainer.  I am a normal, smart, professional Woman who is also an athlete.  I was diagnosed with a very serious case of diverticulitis and within moments almost lost 60% of my G.I. tract due to it.  Once in recovery to avoid surgery going forward I did a tremendous amount of research and adopted a Paleo lifestyle.  The results I have personally seen and felt are worth sharing. 

 I am fortunate to have a network of professional athletes from many walks of life, nutritionists, trainers and other medical professionals to learn from. I am sharing my personal journey for those of you who experience similar types of health issues or are simply interested in the information I gather. I hope it encourages you and points you in the right direction to research further for your own personal well being. 

For those of you who are looking to share in my relentless hiking passion, or those who simply enjoy learning about the things I come across I am happy to have you all along on this incredible ride!

The information contained on this web site is not to be considered a guide, instead it is my report of the trails I have done so that you may have a general idea of what to expect on the hikes. I take no responsibility nor assume liability for inaccuracies, errors, omission, or incompleteness of any information.

You are responsible for using your judgment in interpreting and using this information to safely enjoy your own outdoor pursuits. Each trail has its own potential hazards, each needs to be evaluated for each person based on that person’s personal fitness level and other considerations.

Boy Scouts motto: Be Prepared!!



6 thoughts on “Grand Canyon… S. Kiabab to Bright Angel Loop PART ONE – Hiking Fuel Cavewoman Style

  1. Les May 22,2013 4:45 PM

    Cool blog! Found you on GrindTV’s blog. I look forward to following you.
    – From a fellow paleo hiker gal

    • Jes May 23,2013 8:03 AM

      Love it!!! So happy to have you along Leslie- I always love additional input and feedback if there is anything you would like me to explore. Here’s to the hiking cavewomen! xoxo

  2. Jes Mar 31,2013 7:09 PM

    Next Year MG! We are gonna pass the runners 😉
    Thank you for your awesome response and sharing your words and reaction to the experience.
    It is one thing for me to talk about how great I feel with my nutrition but another thing entirely to have someone else feel and speak about the difference. I am certain the readers were happy to hear it from someone other than me! Haha.
    Until our next journey- you photog and hiking extraordinaire.. stay well.

  3. Pingback: Grand Canyon… S. Kiabab to Bright Angel Loop PART TWO: The Hike Review ← Chronic Climber Chick

  4. Sly Fox Nutrition Mar 31,2013 9:40 AM

    Jes and Mike, you guys are awesome!! I’m glad to hear that all of the snacks were so valuable for setting your PRs. The brownie bites will be live on the site soon, but for the time being you can find them at the Phoenix Public Market downtown, along with some other random creations each week. For the gels and drinks, I’m looking forward to breaking those out of the “experimental” phase. Keep an eye on FB and the website for updates!

  5. Mike Guernsey Mar 31,2013 8:14 AM

    OK…where do I start? Jes, lady, you rock! It was such an honor and blast to hike the GC with you and I think it’s just karmic how fabulous the weather and day were. And, for any of your followers who doubt how mad your hiking skills and strenght are….well, I can testify that this lady and I just screamed up out of the Canyon and I’ve never hiked it faster. Jes so properly trains and prepares her body and mind for hikes and it was very educational for me to be at her side. I hike a ton, am 47, and live to test myself in nature. I’d hiked this trail a year prior and NOT done nearly as well as I did next to the Chronic Climber. I’m writing this about 36 hours after our trek and I’m really not very sore at all…which is quite amazing. I hurt for 3-4 days last year but think that the foods Jes treated me to along the way were just PERFECT. Marc Sweet’s “Sly Fox Nutrition” products are killer. Man, Jes had me try his amazing Brownie Bites, the Chocolate Sports Gel and his Lemon Lime Sport Drink and I wish I’d packed my bag entirely with them. I traditionally hike with Gatorade, h2o, trail mix, jerky…..the regulars, but do think that the amount of processed ingredients, sugars and just wasted crap that’s in some of those LIMITS YOU! Marc’s snacks gave me instant energy and they taste just amazing. Marc, dude, the GEL is fabulous and I can’t wait to buy some of those products on your site. Anyway, carrying the proper nutrition to propel your body up that huge ascent and then to assist your body in healing is BIG. Jes, thanks. I’m sold on your program.
    Also, though, Jes treated me to a lunch down at the bottom of the Canyon along the Colorado river…which was sooooo good. Apparently, she got the recipe from Jen Arricale and it was just wonderful. Between her paleo meatloaf and the sweet potato strips we nibbled on…lunch was unbelievable! Again, I’d have had nuts, an apple, maybe some jerky down there…but, eating properly and giving my body some intense nutrition made such a difference. As we started the ascent I was totally hyped and feeling great. Anyway, Jes, I feel like a lucky guy to have been able to try some of these foods with you and better understand how to refuel my body. And, dang it, you’ve got me believing in Paleo and this whole program!!! Thanks. I can’t wait to hike with you again. And, I wonder if we can go faster next year, LOL.

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