“Why and what on earth was I thinking?!”
Those are the words that run through my mind every year I do the Grouse Grind. For those who live in B.C., we know it as Nature’s Stairmaster, I call it the Mountain of Doom.
The first time I did the Grind, I was 17 and boy was I in for a surprise. I was one of those people who thought I was going for a walk in the park and you just do a mental face palm as you look at me.
Ever since then, I’ve done the Grind at least once or twice per summer. My best time was 1hr 15 mins and my worst was 2hr 30 mins. Actually let me retract that. Last year my Mom did it for the first time and I stayed with her to motivate and encourage. Her time was 4hrs. I believe the website states the average hiker takes about 1hr 30 mins. Although in my opinion, the first few times you attempt this and reach the peak is quite a reward in itself.
As you start off, you think “oh this is not so bad” but perhaps 10 minutes in, you start to pant, the sweat is trickling down and you’ve already taken off your jacket. You look down and wish you didn’t bring all these extra things and start looking around for a place to sit and rest! You can’t rest for too long though because the trail is narrow and you don’t want to hold up everybody. You keep lifting your legs, step by step. Your face is getting hotter and to ignore the exhaustion, you look around at the other hikers. Side story: When I went last time, I saw this amazing man who had a hiker backpack on and his 5-year-old son on his shoulders. Even though he was drenched in sweat, he was so patient with his son (who did not want to walk at all!) and just kept trekking.
As you reach the 1/4 sign, two things cross your mind:
01. Yay I am 1/4 of the way there!
02. OMG, all that hiking and I am only 1/4 of the way there?!
But you can’t turn around and give up now, you’ve made it this far. So take a deep breath and let’s keep going.
There is a lot I learned doing this hike that may help you if you embark on it:
– A week before, start building up your cardio. It could be walking for 30 minutes on a slight incline.
– Tiny backpack filled with tissues, granola bars and 1L of water bottle
– Listen to music but only in 1 ear so you can hear those who want to pass you
– Wear shorts, your pants will get super dirty
– Do not bring any valuables with you
– Go early to avoid parking and people
– Try not to hike in big groups, it either slows everyone down or you get frustrated with one another
– Try not to take frequent breaks and if you do maybe only to catch your breath or at every quarter
– Look before you step as it is dangerous if you don’t
– Stay at the peak for as long as you can to enjoy the view