The Grand Canyon & Real Estate

Steve Wydler

The Grand Canyon & Real Estate

Last month, I crossed off one of my big bucket list items. Along with two close college friends, I completed a “Rim to Rim” hike of the Grand Canyon. A Rim to Rim (aka R2R) is a trek from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other (25 miles with one mile vertical). In our case, we did it in four days/three camping nights from the North Rim to the South Rim. It truly was a life changing experience so I decided to write a heartfelt detailed account of my experience along with some of my takeaways to share with you. I thought my first draft was pretty good and asked Hans for his comments. Long story short, Hans deleted 90% of what I wrote and told me (in a way only a big brother can), “Steve, it’s too long and no one gives a $h_t.”

In the spirit of gratitude, here’s a much shorter version of my R2R experience (and how it applies to real estate) that I hope Hans will approve. Enjoy!


1. Just Do It 

In any year, only 1% of the 6 million visitors to the Grand Canyon complete a Rim to Rim hike. Now that I’ve done it, I understand why. This was a tough trip in every aspect – planning, logistics, and physicality. It took us 5 years to plan (Covid didn’t help) and we had to do planes, shuttle vans and an interim hotel to get to the trail head. Not to mention, the physicality of the hike is no joke. 


While not technically difficult (it’s walking, not climbing), 25 miles is a long way (especially when carrying a 30+ lbs backpack). It’s a long, steep descent and ascent and is remote (especially the north side of the canyon). There are long stretches with full exposure to the incredibly strong desert sun. Yes, people do die doing this hike. 


It would have been so easy to give up at any stage. I’m glad we didn’t. In fact, the cumulative challenges we endured to complete the trip made the accomplishment that much more impactful. 



2. Listen to Experience

One uncharacteristic stroke of brilliance we had for this trip was to hire an adventure group - Wildland Trekking. They handled the permitting, most of the logistics, supplied gear (backpack, food, sleeping bag, tent, walking sticks), and, most importantly, provided an experienced guide. Our guide, Karla, does the R2R 20+ times per year. 



It was clear that Karla was an experienced professional and we listened to her advice. From how to use walking sticks, when to take breaks, how to set & break down camp and where to get the best views, her advice was invaluable and made our experience that much more enjoyable (and successful). My takeaway, when you have access to someone with more experience than you, consider it a blessing and listen! 


3. Enjoy the Journey

When my friends and I first discussed the R2R hike, our focus was on the challenge itself and considered doing the hike in one day. After we thought about it though, we realized that while a one day R2R was possible, we wouldn’t have time to enjoy the journey. In the end, getting to spend more time with my friends and sharing in the adventure was really what this trip was all about. I also realized that you enjoy the journey a lot more if you have the right shoes. 



Ok, so how do these take-aways apply to real estate?


Just Do It

As a general financial principal, you should try to move in life as few times as possible. That being said, life happens and when a move is right for you, just do it. It is time IN the market not TIMING the market, that is the key. 


Listen to Experience

When you’re working with Wydler Brothers of Compass, you’ll have an experienced professional guiding you. We’ve sold over $2 billion worth of homes over 20 years. Just like with our R2R guide, when you have access to someone with more experience than you, consider it a blessing and listen!


Enjoy the Journey

It is easy to get caught up in the logistics and stress that can occur when buying or selling a home. After all, it’s a huge financial decision and we know the market can be unpredictable at times. That being said, a home purchase or sale sets you and your family up for the next stage of your life's adventure. There will be many memories created there, most hopefully happy, and some undoubtedly sad. As you consider whether the house you’re looking at is the right next house for you, just close your eyes, imagine if you could be happy there, and enjoy the journey.



P.s. Is that short enough Hans?

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Wydler Brothers have been selling residential real estate for over 20 years in the DC metro area. Along the way, they’ve achieved numerous awards and recognitions, including being recognized as “The Most Innovative Real Estate Agent in America” (Inman, 2014), written several articles for The Washington Post, authored a book, “Inside the Sell”, co-founded a real estate tech company which sold to Move, Inc. in 2013, and built Wydler Brothers into a highly respected boutique brokerage with 70 agents and employees which they sold to Compass in 2019. Currently, Wydler Brothers is among the top 3 teams in the DMV and was the #1 Compass Team in 2022.

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