Climb the Grouse Grind - North Vancouver
Activity:I know the perfect consequence for missing football practise-doing the Grouse Grind. I'll bet Coach Bell would never again have to worry about players skipping practise. If you've never tried it before, doing the Grouse Grind is like walking up one hundred flights of stairs. Fun huh! Actually it's not all that bad, because you're out in the forest and the scenery is totally awesome. You can get to the Grind by going to the Grouse Mountain parking lots. The entrance is close to the east side of Nancy Greene Way. You can't miss it.
Mom and I tried the Grouse Grind for the first time in September. I knew it was going to be hard because people were coming back, totally soaked from perspiration. And those were the ones who didn't make it to the top. That didn't stop me though from launching up the stairs like a rocket. Why not? I had a foot-long Subway sub to burn off. Only Mom was slowing me down-the Tortoise-slow but sure. I guess that made me the Hare.
As you might've already guessed, the Hare ran out of gas pretty quick. I couldn't believe my ears when this old hand on the Grind told us we were almost ¼ of the way. "Mom, pass me the water bottle." I needed a drink. I convinced myself he didn't know what he was talking about, and we would see the first tower any minute. I decided breaks weren't bad after all, and started taking them regularly. I thought about "the whistler," this guy who does the Grind three times a day whistling a tune the whole way. Who would think of whistling at a time like this? Eventually we came across two ladies who said they gave up at the halfway point. We were very close-only 100 steps to go. Judging by the way they were going down (one almost tripped and catapulted down the mountain), I knew there was only one way for me to go, and that was up.
At one point I started feeling dizzy. Mom thought we'd have to get helicoptered out. That would have been a story to tell the football team. Towards the end I started imagining the Grind as "the Stairway to Heaven." For some reason the thought of dying crossed my mind. It must've been all those sheer drop-offs into rock faces that were getting to me.
Anyway we made it to the top. It took us about 1 ½ hours (give or take 15 minutes). Mom said the record is about half an hour. That person must have grown wings. We kidded around about our adventure while I sipped a long-tall Coke and wolfed down a Trix bar on the deck. It was a clear day and the view was amazing. Speaking of view, there are only a couple of viewpoints along the Grind. The best place to take pictures is definitely at the top. We took the Skyride Gondola down which cost Mom $5, and I was free because I have a SkiPass. On the way home we talked about doing the Grind again, maybe next week even. (That was over a month ago).
P.S. I don't think the Grind is a good idea for little kids. I'd say grade four as a minimum, unless you know your kid can handle it.
P.P.S. Sometimes the Parks Department closes the Grind, like if there's a lot of snow or the forest is really dry. You should phone the GVRD (which manages the Grind) at 604-432-6200