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Copley fathers, sons hike Grand Canyon rim to rim

8/21/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Three Copley fathers and sons headed to the Grand Canyon in June for a four-day rim-to-rim hiking trip. Copley High School students seniors Noah Maynard and Zach Lindsey and freshman Justin Knight, shown below right from left, camped with their fathers for three days in the canyon. The remainder of the group was made up of a couple of Knight’s relatives and a surprise addition, 35-year-old Marta Diaz, of Spain, who was recruited by the trekking company to fill an empty slot. The entire group is shown above.
Photos courtesy of Doug Lindsey
COPLEY — Three Copley fathers and their sons had the experience of a lifetime in June as they completed a four-day, rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon.

Doug Lindsey, Tim Knight and Dave Maynard have been taking boys-only trips with their sons since they were small, Lindsey said.

“Each year we started ratcheting up the adventure,” Lindsey said. The group started traveling nearly a decade ago with as many as 10 father-son pairs, beginning with a tour of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Knight had been a cadet, and an Army football game, Lindsey said. From there, group trips have included whitewater rafting, amusement parks and time in Hocking Hills, he added.

As some of the boys got older and were involved in high school sports, the group of travelers got smaller, Lindsey said.

This year, Lindsey and his group moved their adventure from August to June, as late summer months are too hot to hike the canyon, he said.

Hiking the canyon was a “bucket list” item for the fathers, Lindsey said. Tim Knight said he got the idea to backpack the canyon rim to rim when he visited the south rim in 1990.

“Completing the trek with my son is more than I could have ever imagined back then,” he said. “I feel really blessed to have had this opportunity, and I highly recommend the trek to those wishing to see the full scale and beauty of the Grand Canyon.”

Not long after the end of school, Copley High School rising freshman Justin Knight and rising seniors Zach Lindsey and Noah Maynard boarded a plane with their fathers for Flagstaff, Arizona, Doug Lindsey said.

The six Copley hikers were joined by Tim Knight’s brother, Mike Knight, of Massillon; his cousin, Cliff Marcek, from Las Vegas; and a surprise backpacker. When Marcek’s stepson couldn’t fulfill his commitment to the trip, the trekking company hired to guide the group filled the opening with a 35-year-old woman from Spain, Lindsey said. Marta Diaz unwittingly broke the group’s 10-year-old “cardinal rule” of “no girls allowed,” he noted.

From Flagstaff, the group was shuttled four hours to the canyon’s north rim, where, after an evening of orientation, they began their trek.

The group spent four days in the canyon, rising each day at 5 a.m. or earlier so they could be on the trail by 6 a.m. “It’s absolutely the best way to see the canyon,” Lindsey said. Each carried a 35-pound backpack with all their gear and at least three liters of water, Lindsey said.

The group generally reached their campground by 10 a.m. and would spend the rest of the day sitting in a stream or under a shade tree to survive the 100 degree temperatures, Lindsey said. With no cell phone reception and no Wi-Fi, the fathers had the complete attention of their sons, Lindsey said.

The trek included side trips to Ribbon Falls, where they spent a couple of hours playing in the waterfall, and Plateau Point, where guides cooked dinner and the group remained for a spectacular sunset before hiking back to camp in the dark, Lindsey said.

In all, the group hiked over 30 miles, descending more than 7,000 feet into the canyon from the north rim and climbing more than 5,000 feet to reach the south rim of the canyon, according to Lindsey. Temperatures ranged from the mid-70s at night to highs in the 115- to 117-degree range, he added.

Planning for the trip started a year before the group boarded a plane, Lindsey said, and group members did a lot of training in the Summit Metro Parks.

“We’re really blessed to have this resource in our backyard,” he said.

For three months prior to the trip, Lindsey and his fellow travelers hiked Metro Parks trails with weighted backpacks to simulate conditions of their trip. Local park trails are not as steep, and they are better maintained than those he hiked in the Grand Canyon, Lindsey said. Mules and lots of foot traffic have made the trails rough, he said.

“The time we spent with our sons was just something incredible,” Lindsey said. “We wanted to expose them to something hard, something difficult. We wanted to challenge them. I think the canyon experience with our sons was just incredible,” he added.

Although the hike was strenuous and the trails less than well maintained, Lindsey said he would go again. “If you said, ‘Pack your bag in 5 minutes and we’ll go to the canyon,’ I’d do it,” he said.

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