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Last year, four alumni set off on a bucket-list hike into the Grand Canyon. Chris Jones, ’05 (XP-74), had been trying to get a permit for a Grand Canyon campsite for years. Once you get it, you’re assigned a date and have to make it work. He scrambled to send out an ask for a hike that most people would never attempt.

Evan Magas, ’05 (XP-74); Paul Drury, ’05 (XP-74); and Todd Kurisu, ’05 (XP-74), all answered the call.

On the second weekend of May, the group hiked down the South Rim carrying 45-pound backpacks full of the water, food, and tents they would need for the two-day hike. It was a difficult trek. It went from 40 degrees and windy at 6 a.m. to low 90s, sun blazing, by midday. Drury’s sole half-detached from his shoe on the way down, and Jones hyperextended one of his knees.

“It’s not a typical hike for most tourists,” says Kurisu. Less than 1 percent of visitors to the Grand Canyon hike across the Colorado River at the bottom, but the four alumni did. Then they hiked a third of the way up the other side to the campsite, all on the first day. It added up to 12 hours of hiking, 17.3 miles, and a 38-floor elevation change, according to Kurisu’s fitness watch. And that was before hiking the rest of the way up on the second day.

“To visit something like the Grand Canyon really makes you understand how small we really are,” says Kurisu. “You’re down there with no sounds, no one around—just you and the canyon.” No sounds, but maybe a song: “‘Dust in the Wind’ by Kansas was playing in my head the entire hike.”