So at the weekend, I took on a mountain. Yep: a mountain!
Not being the fittest person in the world, this did mean a bit of a challenge.
Here are some stats on the Grouse Grind from the Grouse Mountain website to give you a better idea of the hike:
Length: 2.9 km (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 m (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 m above sea level (900 feet)
Summit: (1,127 (3,700 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830
Statistics: Annually, over 150,000 people hike the trail.
Average Time: On average, it takes up to an hour and a half to complete the hike. For novice hikers, two hours is recommended.
Participants: Hikers range in age from 7 to 90, with an equal male/female split.
Although it is a tricky climb, you feel great after and the hiker well and truly reaps the rewards at the end…
There is plenty of ‘Canadiana’, in the form of wood carvings, bears, and lumberjacks. But more of that in a bit!
At 1pm, we began the ascent.
The steps really do start off pretty steep already, virtually as high as my thighs – it’s knackering!
And they aren’t kidding when they say all people from ages 7-90 take part in the Grouse Grind. Several women aged around 70 must have raced past us, it’s crazy!
But it does also give you an indicator of the health culture of Vancouver. Many people run the Grind as a routine workout at the weekend, and the fast time someone has completed the climb in is around 40 minutes, with another person completing it fourteen times in one day! Absolutely mental!
For much of the climb, there’s not really a lot you can see other than trees, trees, and more trees.
Oh and the odd waterfall. But the views pay off once you reach the top!
Because of the altitude, it also gets a little bit harder to breathe and you’ll find your ears popping a bit.
After a fair bit of sweating, resting, and a few final pushes uphill carrying a heavy backpack, we reached the top! We finished the hike in about 1h45m – ok, not the greatest time in the world, but not bad for a first timer!?
I can’t tell you how good it feels!
And the well-deserved cold beer at the top is a winner!
(I know it seems a little odd for me to be drinking beer, but over here that’s what everyone drinks! More on beer in my next blog post…).
Once you’ve done the climb (instead of cheating and catching the cable car up to the top!), you can relax and enjoy the activities at the top.
Just look at that amazing view! You can see right across Vancouver, and the highest of those mountains is Mount Baker.
Two very pleased faces at having completed the Grind!
One of the highlights of Grouse Mountain is the ‘world famous’ lumberjack show, featuring real life lumberjacks who have smashed world records for things like quickest wood carvings.
They do crazy stuff, like this:
The two lumberjacks compete to win over their respective half of the crowd.
They challenge each other to tasks like being the first to climb a tree trunk using planks and knocking off the wood at the top.
Another challenge is to see the first to saw through a tree trunk..
Before carving bunnies out of tree trunks…
Before, of course, the good old-fashioned log roll – think the Berocca ad!
There are also bears to see, a birds of prey show, and a chair-lift ride you can go on. It’s a great day out!
At the end of the day, we caught the cable car back just as the sun was going setting over British Columbia…
All in all a fab day – I’ll sleep well tonight after that climb!