Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Grouse Grind (or, Why I Love My Backyard)

I’ve told people often how great Vancouver is—it’s just over the border from where we live, and adds so much to living here in this little pocket of the world.  I love living in a small town, with my library, bank, gym, grocery store, and not much else…’cept cows, good neighbors, and good schools.  But I also love having a major metropolitan area within one hour from my house, complete with all of its culture and activity.  Even better that there’s an international border that separates us, because that metropolis won’t grow and take over little ol’ Whatcom County (not including the dairy cave at Costco).  It’s perfect.












A metropolitan area has a lot more to offer in activities.  They have the people, they have the tax money, and if you paid any attention to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver definitely has the landscape.  A few months ago, a Canadian friend of mine, Amy (she’s lived here for quite some time, and apparently soon will be my Canadian-American friend!), invited me to do the “Grouse Grind” with her.  I’d never heard of it.

I looked it up online.  Nature’s Stairmaster, they called it. 

Trail Facts

Length: 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 meters (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 meters above sea level (900 feet)
Summit: 1,127 meters (3,700 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830

Statistics: Annually, over 100,000 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.

Ohhhhh…sounded like fun!  And because it’s in a big city like Vancouver, there’s no need to hike up and down.  They have a fancy gondola that we could just take for the ride down.

Actually scheduling the day was a bit harder than selling the idea of doing it.  Amy has three kids, I’ve got my two boys, and summer was just crazy with activity.  But fall is upon us, and winter quickly approaching (Grouse Grind is closed as soon as snow falls), so we finally squeezed it in today.  Living in a small town, it makes sense that Amy’s sister Lisa is my neighbor and watched my kids before school so we could do this (thanks Lisa!).

It was a little cold, a little drizzly, and a lot cloudy.  But so COOL! 


The feeling of accomplishment at the end was fantastic (but the ride down in the gondola through the clouds was a *little* unnerving).  It took us a little over an hour to do the Grind, so now we have a time to beat for next time.  I loved it, and want to do it again (and again and again and…).  If you’re ever looking for a workout and experience in Vancouver, let me know.  I’m game. 


A and C said...

Awesome! Wewanted to do it earlier this year but I didn.t want to carry a baby up. Soon...I want to do that one

Michelle said...

Does it involve running up the hill? Cause if I could just hike, I'm up for it (heck - I think A would join us too!). Running? Not so much.
Maybe next summer...

Melinda C. said...

For comparison--Heliotrope Ridge was 1570 ft elevation gain, and we got to the top in about 2 hours, 45 minutes. Skyline Divide is 1280 ft elevation gain, and we got to the top in about an hour and a half. Grouse Grind is 2275 elevation, and you do it in ~60 minutes or so. There's very little horizontal travel--think Stairmaster for an hour. It's more of a workout than a hike (have to watch your feet more than look at scenery, until you reach the top).

Melinda C. said...

And you don't have to run--do it at whatever pace, for sure! You can do it as a challenge, or as something to check off your list :-)