68-year-old man completes Grand Canyon trek with heart condition and bad hip
- Credit: Vince Gregory
A heart condition, a bad hip and a pulled muscle in his leg didn’t stop 68-year-old Vince Gregory trekking through the Grand Canyon.
When hiking enthusiast Mr Gregory, of Florence Barclay Close, in Thetford, decided he wanted to travel to Arizona to complete a two day trip through the Grand Canyon, his doctors were not too pleased.
They told him not to go because of his hip and a heart condition known as arrhythmia, which makes breathing difficult under physical stress, which meant climbing to altitudes of 9,000ft was not a good idea.
Ignoring these warnings, Mr Gregory started the dangerous trek, at 5:30am on September 22 and completed it 4pm, September 23, but not without suffering injury on the way.
The retired musician and actor said: "On the first day I hurt my leg. There are large steep steps going down and I pulled a muscle. Once you're in the Canyon the only way to get out is to climb out or get lifted out by a helicopter, but I wanted to carry on and I eventually reached the base camp at the river."
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It's a walk done by few people who visit the site, with an elevation of nearly 9,000ft on the North side, followed by a 14 mile walk down to the Colorado River, then another 4,000ft climb up the south side.
Despite a year of research and preparation, Mr Gregory said nothing can prepare you for the steep and winding climbs, which were met with thunder, lighting and flash flood warnings on his second day.
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"I'm used to disobeying doctors, but the altitude did make it more difficult to breath," said Mr Gregory.
"Along with my pulled muscle, what should have taken 6 hours took me 11 hours to complete on the last day. I came out of the canyon dripping wet, covered in red mud, and exhausted but totally elated at the same time."
While completing this trek, Mr Gregory was also raising money for the Thetford and District Dementia Support Group (TADDS) and is still taking donations for the charity.Mr Gregory added: "I know how important it is, not only for those with dementia, but for the carers to have support. I have visited TADDS a few times and seen for myself what they do. I do these walks for me but so I can help other people"
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