Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ahhh, another fantastic weekend.  Given that this was the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend ... I am definitely thankful for some pretty awesome weekends lately.

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.

Keep Active!



Fran said...

Love it! You look fantastic! And had to laugh that you walked down too.

Parking fees are very expensive here too. Going to Amsterdam is cheaper by train then by car because of the parking fee in the city.

Sweety you must visit my blog soon, you're a special person I'm still missing on my virtual run and I know you want to join :)
And ...... I've run a new PR on the 10K last weekend, very proud of that and posted some very charming pics of myself (NOT!)

Look forward to the recap of the rest of your weekend.

Nikki said...

I've only done the grind once - several years ago - and it almost killed me! I think it took me about 2.5 hrs to do! ha ha. I knew you weren't supposed to go downhill, but I hadn't heard that the tram had doubled. $5 is way better if you ask me. Anyhow, good for you for doing it (and for being naughty on the way down!)

Marlene said...

Too bad about the rip off for the ride down... don't blame you for breaking the rules in this case! Sounds like quite the hike!

Anonymous said...

the hike sounds awesome. sounds like u had a great time! lol

sucks that they doubled the ticket to go down.

Jen said...

Good for you. I am wanting to do the Grind too but live way up here in PG. Step one, get moved. Step two, I'll tackle the Grind! thx for the pics.

ajh said...

Congrats! That is a seriously steep hike! Sounds ridiculous - all the nonsense about not hiking down.

Syl said...

Sounds like a great hike Heidi! I too would be ticked at the cost.
I know in Banff it cost a ridiculous amount of money to ride the gondola, it's insane!
Also at minawanka lake it cost 35.00 per person for a 1/2 boat tour of the lake - talk about INSANE! Peter and I wanted to take the kids but at those prices I would NEVER do it! Instead we skipped rocks ;-).

Oh and BTW what have I done to you? do you really hate me that much?????

What am I referring too... the fact that you want me to run on DECEMBER 12th! Do you know how cold our winters get.......Just sayin' ....

BUT FOR YOU MY FRIEND, I would do it, it's on...just be kind and don't make it a long one ok.... ;-)

Fran said...

I've just read your comment on Syl's blog!


Count me in!!!!! I need just one more run to complete my goal of 12 months, 12 runs and this would be perfect!

Nej said...

They raised the price on a downhill tram ride that you HAVE to take?? I agree with you, that's pretty ugly. And the pathetic excuses for why they did it are even worse! :-)

I would LOVE to come and climb the Grind. I'd be a rebel and walk back down. They have to catch me to stop me! :-)

Missy said...

Good for you for getting out there and doing it! That's crazy that they would double the cost. Seriously. Even though $10 isn't horrible it's TWICE as much as it used to cost. Good for you for hiking down!

Leana said...

Congrats on the Grind! I'm hoping that the trail will be in good shape to do it next weekend when I'm in Vancouver. Seriously though, $10 to ride down because they are hoping to discourage out of shape people from hiking? Interesting... At least now I know about the price increase, but I think that is pretty ridiculous!