If you saw my earlier posts on the Grouse Grind, my first experience to the top was via the luxury of the Skyride and I mentioned this was a ‘must do’ as there is so much entertainment up top of the mountain.
Then my husband (in my opinion of peak fitness), enjoyed his first experience grinding his way up. At the time, I wouldn’t have considered it reading the Trail Facts from the grouse mountain website…
Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
“The trail is very challenging. Keep in mind that there is a wide range of mountaintop trails that might better suit the average hiker.”
I assumed I would fall in-between the ‘novice and average hiker’ range so if I was going to do it, the pace would be my own and not competitive at all.
The advice on the site??
“On average it takes and hour and half and novice hikers two hours is recommended.”
Ok, so a good friend who has completed the grind many times previously invited me to come along and well with my husband’s motivating force persuaded me to say yes. It was a “yes” rather than “YES”. There was trepidation as he has a habit of making things sound easier than they actually are.
The record by a woman is completing it in 31:04 minutes and the official record at 23:48 minutes by a man. Not that I was paying attention to any of these statistics prior to embarking on the trail, in fact I was purposely trying not to focus on anything but putting one foot in front of the other in order to reach the final step.
The start of the trail is clearly marked as demonstrated in this picture…
so there is little chance you can start in the wrong direction. I put my timer on and we set off, quietly confident that it would be better than anticipated.
I was into the trail by about 10 minutes and I could feel my elevated heart rate and breathing becoming fiercer. The girls were feeding me words of encouragement to reach the first 1/4 Mark. This point they assured me takes the longest and I was alert and ready looking out for it. It could not come quick enough I can tell you.
There was a busy and eclectic crowd should I say on the trail last night, perhaps the gorgeous weather we’ve been having in a straight set brought them all out this week, and who knows what their motivation was for reaching the top? My driving force was a cold, crisp glass of white wine or two while soaking up the beautiful expansive views around me.
For others, I am sure some of these motivations were filtering through the various groups…
Generation Z’s – The youngest lots were stopping, not for water but to get their iPad out (What the?) and change the music on their iPods which might have well have been on a loudspeaker for everyone to hear the volume was so high.
Generation Y’s – The ego motivates with ‘I am sure this will be a piece of cake and I can socialize and possibly even pick up once up top’, but sadly the comments I heard from a few girls before they even reached the 1/4 mark was “I can’t go any further, I can’t do it”, with a slightly less impressed look from some of the other girlfriends.
Generation X’s – like moi, we were mostly quiet and happy to step aside should any freaks want to sprint past us, I was quietly internalizing most of the pain so as not to show us up, reveal our age or any negative thoughts crossing my mind every couple of minutes particularly when I was just past the half way mark.
Baby boomers – I’ll show these young upstarts a thing or two about endurance, I even heard some 75-year-old telling some younger sprinting males they were “not allowed to go downwards”…tutt tutt.