Saturday I climbed the Grouse Grind, a local mountain (2.9 Km/1.8 miles long, but with a 900M / 2800 ft. elevation gain) with a friend. I swore I wasn't going to climb it this year because they DOUBLED the cost of the tram ride down. It's still cheap, but on principal alone it makes me mad.
There is a tram you can take up to the top of Grouse Mountain which is $40 return. Of course there is also the option to hike the Grind (as it is known) and then take the tram down only. It's become quite the attraction for tourists, as well as locals, to hike this trail. The mountain claims that too many tourists are climbing it ill-prepared just so that they can pay less to view the attractions up top. Therefore they raised the return only tram price from $5, to $10. Yes - it's still relatively cheap ... but it's a rip and a farce! They have claimed that the main reason for doubling the price is to discourage tourists who may be out of shape and not wear proper hiking gear.
First, it's difficult to even find a price listed anywhere for how much it costs to ride the tram down. Second, for a tourist who is probably going to do this once in their life - $5 or $10 is irrelevant - they will still hike it at either cost. But for locals who don't quite do it enough to justify the cost of annual membership, but might do it multiple times in the year - it's a major rip off! Annual membership is $100, so I'd have to go at least 10 times to break even. Which is fine if you live very close and can go often enough. But for someone like me, who it's just a little too far away to do too often, 10+ times a year is tough to pull off.
I was quite angry about the price increase. They also increased the parking fee. I was determined that I would not hike the mountain again because I wanted to rebel against their price increase.
To top it off ... they have prohibited downhill travel, so you are forced to pay for their tram. The trail is NOT owned by this mountain, it is owned by the parks board. There is also another (not as popular, not as well marked, and not as travelled) trail nearby that you can hike - but I've heard that if you request at the mountain for information on this trail they will tell you it is unavailable and that downhill travel on that is also not allowed ... which I understand is complete bull!
So, we were rebels and we hiked down the trail. I'm bad!!! I'm normally very against breaking rules like that, but I was just mad enough (and perhaps broke enough). The trail was not very busy that day anyway, and we made sure to give complete right of way to anyone hiking up and were respectful.
I took along my daughter's camera to capture a few pictures. It's not the greatest quality so the pictures are quite blurry, though it does have the advantage of being waterproof and shatter-resistant. Good thing as it rained pretty good on the way up.
Check out the rain splatters...
Though we did go early (left home at 6:30 ... started climbing around 7:30), it wasn't nearly as dark as it appears in this picture. The trail is quite tree covered, and we were in alot of fog. My Garmin couldn't even work properly. It calculated the elevation gain fine, but told me I only travelled .12 miles ... just a little out hahaha. A few times the skies just opened up and drenched us. It wasn't so bad. My jacket kept me mostly dry and it was nice not to get hot. Quite refreshing really!
I said before I went up that I was not aiming to break any speed records on this climb. I decided I was just going to hike with my friend and whatever pace she was comfortable with. Though I was absolutely thrilled with how easy the climb was for me.
Last year my best time was around 50 minutes and that was pushing hard the entire time. My worst time was 1 hour and 32 minutes, which honestly felt about as difficult as my fastest because I was in such horrid shape then. This weekend, going at my friends pace, we did it in 1 hour and 13 minutes and to be honest I got VERY little cardio workout. I could easily talk the entire time and never felt winded. Yes, I could have had a better workout ... but it felt awesome to be in that good of shape that this felt easy.
I think the hardest part was the climb down. That sure uses completely different muscles and I definitely felt that. It was OK coming down, and even the next 24 hours I felt pretty good. But starting yesterday and still today, my calves are screaming at me and my quads are a little tender too. Wearing heeled boots today probably wasn't a wise decision. ;)
Don't mind the blob, my friend wasn't
comfortable with her face showing.
We were soaked, but it was fantastic! This was just part 1 of a VERY enjoyable weekend.