A defeated spirit takes longer to heal than muscles and bones.
I have not really wanted to scale mountains since Kilimanjaro. I mean, I absolutely continued to do it anyway, like completing Half Dome last summer, but none of it has actually felt good.
What’s nice about Grouse is it’s a short drive away from Vancouver. The Grind, as people call it, is a stair challenge that is about 1.8 miles with an elevation gain about 2800 feet. After looking it up, I just felt like ok, this isn’t too bad. Mission Peak at home is probably worse in terms of lacking in coverage and is similar in the distance and altitude gains.
Convinced Steph to go with me that morning after brunch with Steve and Jesse. During brunch S&J politely turned down my invitation to join us in experiencing nature’s stair master.
Once we get there, I parked on the road right outside of the parking area where you have to pay. We looked around for the entrance to the hike to no avail, and upon asking a local she pointed us in the direction and also commented: “The hike is hard, and you’re bringing too much stuff.” Wow lady, did you just judge us? We lamented to her that we’d be just fine and headed to start the hike. Geez, I how I love a good condescending word from a stranger in the morning. It really wakes me up more than coffee.
The hike itself starts beautifully, cool and shaded by tall trees. It was kind of mild-mannered compared to some of the more recent hikes I’ve been on, once it starts getting steep, however, Steph decides to turn around. She feels uncertain of whether or not she can make it as she hasn’t been training recently and doesn’t want to injure herself before kayaking tomorrow. I wave to her goodbye and we’ll meet at the top since there’s a gondola that takes you upwards.
I get to the 1/4 marker easily. Let’s be honest, left to my own devices when I hike I actually pause a lot and take a lot of photos. So I rested while trying to look for the perfect trail photos to take. As I was resting I met two guys from Toronto.
Guy: Hey are you ok? Gonna make it?
Me: Looking up from my phone. OH me? I’m just taking an Instagram break.
Guy: I don’t know what that means, but I was hoping you would say you needed help so I could take a break.
Me: Can’t help you there, but I can show you what Instagram is?
They paused with me for a minute, then kept going. We would back and forth taking lead and following since I generally do an interval pattern while hiking. It was nice to have the company and have pacers, otherwise, I’d just be lazy and take it slow.
The rest was pretty much cake until I see the sign that you can’t hike downwards off Grouse. Ugh. Of all my favorite things to do on a hike, it’s a good downhill. Nevertheless, this hike felt really good. I wasn’t sore at all the next day and was ready to reward myself with carbs afterward.
We ate snacks once I met back up with Steph and it was joyous. Maybe that’s all it takes to get out of a funk, having people tell you you can’t make it for something you know you can do and doing it anyway.