Simply known as ‘The Grind’…anyone from the West coast knows what you’re talking about. The Grouse Grind is a challenging hike that is 1.8 miles up the side of Grouse Mountain with over 2,830 stairs and *cough* me and my boys completed it yesterday. It was truly a summer highlight and since my boys are ages 7 and 9 – I’m more than a little proud. And if we’re including me in the celebrating, I’m a little proud of me too. I had some great advice from friends on how to approach the mountain with two children and the best advice – which can really pertain to any summer hiking – was the following:
Water – lots of it. I packed up three stainless steel bottles with tons of ice and at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 marks of finishing the Grind, we would finish a bottle. It was glorious because it meant we were resting, but also my backpack got so much lighter!
Heat – don’t hike with children in the heat. The trail is probably most popular when it opens early in the morning, because hiking in mid-day heat would be tough. The weather was overcast and slightly cold which made for perfect hiking conditions.
Proper footwear – Sandals or Crocs are not a good idea for mountain trails. We wore just average running shoes with socks and didn’t have any twisted ankles or problems with the rough terrain of the mountain.
Don’t look up – it was funny advice when I read it on the Grind For Kids website, but what great advice! On very steep terrain…don’t look up. Much better to look to the left, right, and down at your feet. Enjoy the surroundings and keep a close eye on the rocks, stairs, and tree roots!
Keep it fun & light! During our 1:45 hr hike up the Grind, my boys and I had plenty of time to comment on the experience and our surroundings. My boys noticed people that were trying to make it up the mountain and maximize their workout with amazing speed and we all know everyone loves bragging about their ‘time’ on the Grind. But we agreed at the beginning of the hike that it was about the journey…nothing more. At every stop we drank our water, commented on how beautiful the mountain is, and chatted with other people as there’s a very cool vibe among all 1st timers of the Grind. Experienced hikers were also very supportive and had sweet words of encouragement for my sons – it was just a lovely experience. I know why so many people complete this hike on a regular basis. You pretty much make the hike what you want to. I remember doing The Grind 15 years ago in my 20s. I got a really good time since I was in great shape, but when I got to the top feeling sore all over I hadn’t maximized my enjoyment. I had the opposite reaction with my sons. I remember getting to the 3/4 marker and feeling sad it was almost over – I wonder why nobody tells you how much more you’ll enjoy everything once you have children!
Thank you Grind For Kids for the helpful tips and next summer my kids will participate in this great program. The Grind For Kids program is you ask friends to pledge $1 for each time you complete the Grind between June and September. When you sign-up for this program, you pay $20, receive a timer card that you swipe at the bottom and top of the mountain (records your hiking time & info) and guest services will take your bag up the mountain for you so you can do the Grind without anything weighing you down.
And of course once you’re up the mountain, you will spend one of the best days of your summer. During the summer months, Grouse Mountain offers the hilarious Lumberjack Show, peak chair, Birds in Motion, and the majestic Grizzly Bears that were rescued as orphans and brought up to live on 2 acres on the Mountain – Coola and Grinder. We visit Grouse Mountain every summer and it never disappoints. Really quality family entertainment once you’re up the mountain…my kids have deep belly laughs during the Lumberjack show and it’s awesome to teach them that the wind turbine that you can see at the top of Peak is now powering 25% of the resort’s operational electricity annually.
I hope the hiking tips help any family new to hiking. It is a family activity that I’m enjoying more and more; absolute quality family time to bond with nature without computers, phones, and interruptions to get in the way. Thanks to Grouse Mountain and Grind For Kids for the tips & summer highlight for me and my boys. Enjoy these pictures of our day!
At the top!