My legs were like jelly, I had sweated away half of my body weight and my heart was pounding so hard that it felt like it could pop out of my chest.
I was only ten minutes into the famously hard, and very aptly named, Grouse Grind and I was completely shattered
For those who have never heard about the Grouse Grind, let me explain…
It is a 1.8 mile hike up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. This may seem like a small distance, but the trail was relentless for a number of reasons.
It was not one of those slowly winding paths you get up some mountains. It was very, very steep.
More than 4,000 feet in fact.
The steps were craggy and uneven.
Believe me, completing the Grouse Grind is not an easy feat.
But it was one of those challenges that needed to be taken on.
I had met people who had already completed it and had said it was hard. So it was not like I was completely unprepared for a difficult hike.
There was even a warning sign at the beginning of the trail, which read:
“The hiking trails on Grouse Mountain are located on steep and challenging wilderness terrain. Hikers using these trails assume all risk of personal injury or death…”
Before beginning our ascent up the mountain, I did a few quick stretches.
Andy, however, took his stretching much more seriously…
And then it began.
On average it takes around an hour and a half to complete this hike.
The record is something like half an hour.
Just to compare, it took us around three hours.
Some people are racing against the clock to beat their personal bests, or maybe even have a good go at breaking the ridiculously fast record.
We on the other hand paced ourselves…a lot.
Why were we such slow coaches?
After a while we were literally stopping at the top of each section of steps, to have a rest and hydrate slightly with a few gulps of water.
We were slow because we did not push through the pain, we just stopped and rested.
It was kind of like delaying the agony for as long as possible, or rather suffering through it in small bursts.
“You have to grind through the pain, that’s why it’s called the Grouse Grind,” I heard somebody say to their friend in encouragement as they raced past us.
Another woman could be heard saying: “Why did I decide to put myself through this?”
I have to be honest, I was thinking along the same lines.
Some relief was felt at reaching the half-way mark.
It felt like forever getting to the quarter-way mark, let alone the half-way one.
Finally, we reached the top and were greeted by an extremely appreciated shower of glacial water, followed by pizza and nice views.
Afterwards, I felt great and happy to have completed something that was so challenging.
Will I ever do it again? Hell no.
Did we hike back down? No, this is not allowed.
Annoyingly, it costs $10 each to get back down in an overcrowded gondola.
Although we spotted quite a few people ignoring this rule and turning back before the end of the trail.
Have you ever taken on the Grouse Grind?