I knew my sister had a lot of nature and hiking in mind when we booked our trip to Canada, but today’s very intense hike was sort of my idea. Once again, we didn’t have much of a plan for the day. After visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge, we decided to find something else to do in North Vancouver. Enter: Grouse Mountain. We read that the views from the top were incredible and that you could take a gondola up the mountain. But when we got there, a guy told us the hike–called The Grouse Grind–“only takes an hour” and we hike Bristol Mountain at home (you know, a little East Coast ski hill) so we figured we could handle it. This is how it started:
Here are some things we did not know when we started:
- The Grouse Grind is 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles).
- It is commonly known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.”
- The Grouse Grind includes 2,830 stairs.
- The Summit is 1,127 meters (3,700 feet).
I was the one who encouraged us to try the hike, but when we hit the 1/4 point, I honestly wasn’t sure I could do the rest. But I also knew that going down would be worse (I am old now…my knees can not handle hiking down mountains!) So I kept thinking “just put one foot in front of the other, that’s all you have to do.” My sister was much faster than me so there are a lot of photos of me trying to catch up to her:
The hike took us a little over an hour. My sister probably could have done it much faster if she hadn’t waited for me. But it got so much easier for me when I just went at my own pace and stopped trying to keep up. (A life lesson, perhaps?) By the end, we were so sweaty that steam was coming off our bodies (literally), but it also felt really good to work that hard and earn this view:
There was also a barbecue at the top of the mountain where we got tickets for a free burger and beer just for doing the hike! And oh man did we earn that burger!
The hike was actually filled with hilarious signs (I believe all of this was sponsored by lululemon.) Just when I thought I couldn’t go on, there would be a sign saying something like, “Grind like you’re at a middle school dance!” And the laughter definitely kept me going.
Once we refueled with burgers and beers, I needed one more photo before we took the gondola back down the mountain. I usually look awkward in jumping photos, but sometimes you just need to capture the joy of feeling like a superhero after you summited a mountain!
And so I leave you with the words of the great philosopher Hannah Montana, “Life’s a climb, but the view is great!”