"Don't worry about it" "I'm a little worried about your okay-ness up there" "Just bring water"
"You could do it, but do you really want to?"
The GRIND gave me a lot of mixed emotions from all of my friends. Overwhelmingly negative ones but I had to figure it out for myself! So, a week after moving back to this gorgeous city I took on one of Vancouver's better known hikes, the Grouse Grind. This hike is about three kilometres long, only one way and you gain 853m. If that doesn't sound appealing to you just reading those two facts, we're similar people. Yet, my friend insisted we go and I though to myself, "Once I do it, I will never have to do it again and I can say I've done it the rest of my days."
With that mantra going through my mind, on that fateful Wednesday I hauled ass to Grouse at the ripe time of 8am. AKA the time at which all the pros and daily grinders head to the base of that trail to get their daily exercise. As we paid for parking and I dawned my sunglasses to begin this monstrosity of a trail I couldn't help but feel a little nervous. My heart was racing a little bit but I was committed. When I commit to something I do not half ass it, my friends.
For a bit of a mental image, I wore an Eddie Bauer windbreaker overtop a tank top and a pair of leggings. The jacket came off almost immediately as the cardio sweat kicked in. I packed a bottle of water and a spare shirt because I sweat like a pig and I didn't need to marinate in that on the ride home.
The first ten minutes- "Wow, I am out of shape." Yet, no half assed measures here so leg day here I GOOOO. As the trail became less rocks in a pile and more stairs made of rocks and tree, not gonna lie, the breathing became a little louder. A healthy workout level though.
The First Quarter- Friend wanted to turn around. Made me a little nervous because it apparently gets much worse after this. Though I will say the first quarter really is the easiest and a good warm up. If you're not feeling it by this point, I'd say you should dip pretty hard because the next two quarters are literally straight up. I will also say, there weren't that many people around at this time of the week and day. All the people we did see were quite obviously regulars. Don't be discouraged by the people twice the age of your parents literally running up. They have trained much more than the regular person and that is what I am telling myself.
The Middle- WOW. At this point, you're feeling great because of the pride that you got half way. There's still people running past me and telling me good job because I look like I'm dying but it's still nice to hear. I honestly thought my legs would feel numb at this point but, I was fine! Just keep on grinding. It gets worse pretty quick but you don't really notice because you're basically used to the idea that it just keeps. going. up. I found myself mainly admiring the stairs at this point because there is no view.
The Last Stretch- Arguably the most fun. The stairs are very well defined and every time you look up you can see exactly where you're going to be. Unfortunately, that is straight up and to the right. There were still kids and older people running past me that obviously have not stopped for breaks as did me and my friend. GRIND YA'LL. What killed me the most was that at the last bit, you gotta climb over this rock and for some reason, even though I could see the chalet, I wanted to die the most.
Sitting at the Top- With my $6 medium sized smoothie, I sat on the deck with a squirrel running at my feet and admired the view I worked for as people took that 8 minute gondola ride up. It took my friend and I just about two hours to get to the top from the parking lot.
Post-Smoothie- Walked around the mountain, took in some more views, you can see SFU Burnaby Campus from here. Well, more like some construction cranes but like, same energy. Went up to the windmill thing and admired a much better view. As seen in the picture below. Kind of. Just, trust me.
All in all, I'd do it again! More so because it's a fun challenge and bonding moment with friends- not for the view. Is it the best idea to go hiking on a narrow trail in covid times? Not really, so know you're also taking that risk on top of the whole potential dehydration thing. I stretched for about an hour when I got back and I did not feel like jello the next day.
(There's cute bears and an owl show up there too. The owl show guy is hilarious and I love him.)