Climb up a mountain they said, it will be fun they said… So yesterday I went to Grouse Mountain, Grouse Mountain is just north of Vancouver about half an hour by car. As I was car-less a sea bus which is the boat you can see above (I thought the directions firstly were ‘C’ bus so got very confused as all the buses here start with the letter C and have a number at the end…) and normal bus later I arrived at the bottom.
Now you have two choices, pay $40 and take the gondola up and down that you can see above, or hike up and pay $10 dollars for the gondola down. Why get a gondola when you can walk eh.
So they call this hike the ‘Grouse Grind’ and it’s 2.9km long, an elevation of 853metres, and close to 3000 steps. They also call it ‘natures stairmaster’. That all sounded fine to me, until about 20 exhausting minutes in and too many steps to count I was only a quarter of the way up. Now for someone who used to occasionally get the lift up three stories at work because three stories is a fair amount of stories. Climbing up an altitude nearly 3 times as high as the Shard definitely started to take its toll as you can see as this hike is basically a shed load of stairs a lot of which are rocks. They don’t allow people to do the trail down for safety reasons. Also to add to this I forgot bug spray so felt like a human bird feeder for mosquitos.
They have a sign at the bottom that other than basically saying ‘if you die it’s not our fault’ says ‘legs you got this’. Now this sign would have been useful motivation towards the top when your legs are not in a good way but at the bottom kind of defeats the point. Passing a friendly chap who looked like he was about to have a heart attack on the way up I felt his ‘tomorrow is definitely going to be a day of rest’ comment summed it up perfectly.
Eventually I got up after being passed by many many people, and one guy in his seventies who put me completely to shame. The views were incredible, and the feeling when you make it to the top above the tree line and see how high you you’ve hiked is pretty awesome. Also there are bears…
These guys are called Grinder and Cooler and they live in the sanctuary/enclosure at the top of the mountain. Seeing Grizzlies from literally metres away was definitely the highlight of my day and in real life they are incredible creatures. They’re a lot bigger than I thought and also a lot more entertaining, they were rolling around, swimming, annoying each other, having a stroll and a scratch. Anyway compared to most animals they were surprisingly active and until you see their teeth and claws look super friendly and cuddly.