IVINS – The 23.9 mile trek descending and then ascending from rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon is a bucket list item for hikers from across the country and around the globe. It is characterized by stunning views, strenuous ascents, often dramatic temperature changes and a feeling of accomplishment that those who complete the journey will want to cherish and share with others forever.
At least that was the case for Ivins resident, Michelle Delloso, who upon finishing the climb to the South Rim immediately asked: “Where’s the club?”
Like others who had gone before her, Delloso was celebrating the completion of more than just miles and, she said, she wanted a way to share her experience and in turn, share in the experience of others as they ventured into the Grand Canyon.
The response that there was no club to commemorate the accomplishment led Delloso to create her own club and small business dedicated to sharing the inspiration of the canyon, as well as selling trademarked and responsibly manufactured Rim to Rim merchandise.
It is a club and a business that Delloso said she sees as her calling and one that represents a sort of sea change in her life but though the business started shortly after her rim-to-rim experience in 2010, her path really began before that.
In 2005, Delloso was sent to Southern Utah in her role as a consultant for Adidas when she felt “the call,” she said, and she knew she had to move out here.
Delloso, who has traveled all over the country working with big companies such as Nike, Louisville Slugger and Adidas, felt called to Ivins, she said, for its access to Snow Canyon State Park as well as nearby national parks: Bryce Canyon, Zion and, of course, Grand Canyon.
“I fell in love with Snow Canyon,” Delloso said, “I had such a great experience that I knew I had to move here even though it made no sense to do so.”
A few years later Delloso moved her parents to Southern Utah to care for them through illness and started her own consulting firm: Red Rock Consultants.
It was a time in her life, Delloso said, when she was starting to see the writing on the wall that corporate America was about to change.
Those impending changes – Delloso would eventually be let go from her position with Adidas due to budget cuts – coupled with the passing of her father led her to train for and complete the rim-to-rim hike; an experience that, in the wake of losing her father, was equal parts comforting, spiritual and celebratory, she said.
The Rim to Rim club and merchandising business, both registered trademarks, were founded as a way to connect others who have completed the trek and give them a place to share their accomplishments and experiences and to reflect on what the hike meant and means to them.
Both the club and the merchandise business operate under a three-pronged vision – experience, adventure, perspective – which is artistically represented by three Kokopelli figures descending, crossing the bottom and ascending the canyon.
The club is also a place to inspire other hikers to embark on the rim-to-rim journey as well as to advocate for responsible hiking.
Responsible hiking includes but is not limited to the following guidelines:
- Properly training and preparing for the hike
- Taking ample time to complete the hike – Delloso admits she is not a guide but recommends at least two, if not more, days to complete the 23.9 miles from North Kaibab Trail on the North Rim to Bright Angel Trail on the South Rim
- Adhering to the leave no trace principles that guide adventure in the outdoors
- Obtaining proper permits – should they be required for your group – and cabin/camping reservations
- Being fully aware of how to share the trail with other hikers and pack animals that may be present
What began as a small club that has grown organically one hiker at a time, Delloso said, is becoming a successful business with products being sold online, at the Bright Angel Gift Store on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, and locally at Red Mountain Spa, the Desert Rat and Café Soleil in Springdale.
All of the products sold are responsibly made – shirts, water bottles, license plate frames and stickers are made in the USA in environmentally friendly shops, Delloso said, and the multifunctional headwear, or bandanas, are manufactured at a female owned and family operated factory in China.
But though the brand is growing, Delloso, who has funded the business on her own thus far, needs help to ensure its continued success and its ability to keep the club free and reaching out to others.
Delloso is in the process of applying for a small business grant sponsored by Chase Bank but cannot continue through the process without enough votes on social media.
Receiving the grant would enable Delloso to continue to chase her dream of creating a business that both inspires and celebrates the amazing experience, adventure and perspective that one can get from a trip into the canyon and back, she said, and hopes that people will take their time to vote.
“I want to keep dreaming and inspiring people,” Delloso said.
- To learn more about the Rim to Rim club or to join visit the website or Facebook page
- To vote for Rim to Rim to be entered to win a small business grant click here
- To learn more about or to plan your trip to the Grand Canyon click here
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