Fitness Junkie

5 Reasons to do the Grind
June 15, 2008, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Fitness Fix | Tags: , , ,

A vision conceived by hikers Don McPherson & Phil Severy, they hacked out the Pacific rain forest in the early 70s and built a 1.8 mile uphill trail illegally as a training course for mountaineers.   Now known as Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, the Grouse Grind is an extremely steep climb of 853 meters (that’s 2,800 feet).  But that doesn’t stop many avid hikers and fitness enthusiasts.  According to the Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia, the Grouse Grind has at least 100,000 people using the trail each year.  And here are 5 reasons why…

1.  Getting there is easy.  Easily accessible, the Grind is located just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver.  Up to 5,000 hikers on a busy summer day do the Grind early in the morning or right after work! Others catch the Sea Bus from Canada Place to Lonsdale Quay and take the #236 bus to the bottom of the Grind for a weekend day retreat.

2.  The cost is minimal.  The climb up and down is free.  But for a breathtaking view and relaxing descent, I suggest you take the $5 gondola ride down.  It’s worth it.

3.  Your heart will thank you for it.  In a study of hikers in the Alps, it was found that going uphill cleared fats from the blood faster, while going downhill reduced blood sugar.  Hiking either way lowered bad cholesterol.  More importantly, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of your daily routine to hike the grind, you have essentially created a calming effect.  The constant motions of climbing uphill, taking the first step and then the next provides you the opportunity to open your mind and think about the events of your day and your life.  You might even find your mind opening up to ideas or answers to problems you never thought of before.   

4.   The end rewards.  At the end of your journey (the average completion time is 1.5hours), you will be rewarded each time with spectacular scenery, welcoming staff offering snacks, drinks and even alcohol and at times, there are tourists cheering you on as you complete your final steps to the top.  In the summertime, make some time to experience the lumberjack shows, Birds In Motion demonstrations, guided Eco-Walks, Ranger Interpretive Sessions at the grizzly bear habitat, and now the brand new Air Grouse mountain zipline adventure – Vancouver’s only zipline circuit. 


5.  The journey is unforgettable.  I’m not gonna lie.  The trek up is gruelling.  The first part of the trail may not seem so bad, but the trail gets steeper and steeper the higher you go.  Rocks, dirt and wood are placed to form steps and half the time it’s difficult to enjoy the scenery because you have to concentrate on where to place your feet.  But I’m not complaining.

Most of us live and work indoors, with our face in front of a computer and seated for the majority of our work days.  Being able to get outdoors and just enjoy being outside is one of best reasons to do the Grind.  The smell of fresh air, the sound of birds chirping, the beautiful tall trees and the majestic Grouse Mountain to connect with all contribute to a sense of contentment and fulfillment.  The pain of the trek will go away, but the memory of the entire experience will be unforgettable.