Posted by: Noni | July 27, 2010

All I could say was…nothing…I was so out of breath I couldn’t speak

All I could say was…   nothing…  I was so out of breath I couldn’t even speak.

When Slick asked me if I wanted to come along… I had no idea what I was in for.  He called me at 5:30am this morning and told me he’d be there in half an hour.  He was.

I grabbed my runners and a thick pair of socks and headed out the door.  We stopped along the way to pick up M&M (Kelly) and were at the base of Grouse Mountain by 6:39am.   There was still a good hike to get to the start of our 2.9km journey to the top.  As you can see from the picture, the trip is worth every inch of effort.

View from Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, BC

Top of the Gouse Grind

The Point of No Return!

Grouse Grind

Region: The North Shore
Difficulty: Difficult
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Distance: 2.9km Elevation Gain: 853 meters
Season: June – September
Approx. 30 minutes from Vancouver

Did you see that description?

It said Difficulty: Difficult.  Difficult?  Yikes!
When we finally reached the 1/4 mark (clearly posted on a tall tree) I was wondering if I should turn back.  The sign at the start of the trail was over 6 foot tall and and presented some pretty grim facts about the degree of difficultly.  Here we were only 1/4 of the way and I was already hurting bad.  I struggled for breath.  I was suffering from 3 primary ailments.

  • sitting at a desk the past several months
  • allergies to the flora and fauna of the Pacific NW
  • altitude sickness (we drove uphill for about 15 minutes just to get here)
  • Kelly congratulated me for completing the first leg of the trip and assured me that it would get better.  I strained to see any sign of the top but all was lost in the thickness of the forest.  At least there was no snow at this time of year.  And since we had gotten an early start, the day was still relatively cool.

    I was happy to stop and take a picture.

    I busied my self on the Blackberry as if making elaborate settings (it was a one button push for a shot but I was stalled to try and catch my breath.)

    Kelly mentioned  the old people that were passing us on the trail.  I was guilted into pushing forward.  I focused on my feet and tried to “get into the zone”

    By the time we reached the 1/2 way point I was staggering and gasping.  I pushed myself forward and made a conscious effort to slow my breathing by taking deeper gulps of the oxygen thin air.  I chided myself for being so badly out of shape and admired the view through a gap in the branches.  (another way to catch my breath while appearing to be “lost” in the beauty.)

    The signs marking the progress.
    My hands shook and I swayed on my feet as I clicked.  No wonder it’s blurry!  My movements were labored due to the altitude and my congested airways.  Each inch covered seemed a monumental challenge.  We didn’t stop for long (at least in my opinion) and I went back to the task of scanning the ground in front of me in search of the easiest, smoothest, shortest route.

    Surprisingly the last half of the trail passed by with less effort than I had anticipated.  It was steeper but our pace was slower so I managed to keep up a lot better.  As we neared the summit the trees got smaller and more light filtered down around us.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself by the time we finally arrived.

    There’s only one question left unanswered…

    When are we going again? Ask me tomorrow when I see how my legs feel.


    1. Good on you Ali!! I would have never been able to do it, Robert might but me no way. Nice Job.


    2. You could do it! If you quit smoking…


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