Today was our final day in Vancouver and probably consisted of the most strenuous activities thus far. Today we were to face The Grouse Grind. This hike has been talked up all week and every Canadian we have spoken to has not only wished us luck, but also thanked the lord it wasn’t them doing the hike. We learned that a great time for the hike was less than an hour and an average time was approximately 1.5 hours. Coach made it clear that she wanted us to go up the mountain at our own pace and many thanks that she did.
Grouse Mountain has been called nature’s Stairmaster. Confirming all the hype surrounding the hike, HCFH learned they were in for a real doozy as soon as they started. Right from the start, there were steep stairs that were never ending. There was never a horizontal path, as the hike was directly up the mountain with minimal switchbacks.
Here are some quick facts about the Grouse Grind:
Length: 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 meters (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 meters above sea level (900 feet)
Summit: 1,127 meters (3,700 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830
To say the hike was exhausting would be an understatement. As we dragged ourselves up the natural staircase, we were surrounded by all the locals. I personally was passed by elderly, children, and even moms carrying babies. I’m not sure what that says about my athleticism, but the hike was definitely a challenge. There was no going back once we passed the quarter distance marker. The staircases progressively got steeper as the hike went on, to the point where we needed to get on our hands and knees to pull ourselves up. Dripping with sweat and fighting for air, everyone could feel the burn with every step.
Not surprisingly, the first to finish the hike was Coach Cox with an impressive time of approximately 45 minutes. Cory came in second at around 50 minutes followed by Assistant Coach Lauren with another sub-hour time. The whole team got up the mountain in less than 1.5 hours. The process itself was grueling and little fun, but was definitely made worth it by the views that the top provided. At the top of Grouse Mountain, we were able to get a panoramic view of Vancouver with it’s surrounding body of water and mountains. Along with the sites, there were many more activities to do at the top. The team got to view the wildlife refuge, which housed orphaned bears and wolves. We also caught some of the lumberjack show, which consisted of hillbilly styled actors doing tricks with axes and logs. Cory and Ashlee took advantage of the mountain zip lining too. The team was able to complete some filming for our upcoming music video (mentioned in the first post) and take some fun team pictures with the landscape. Thankfully we took the gondola down the mountain and were able to appreciate the impressive mountain that we had just climbed.
We had a couple hours free before our late game, so the team grabbed lunch and relaxed. Some girls ventured into Gastown to see some of the city and do some shopping, while others took advantage of the hotel’s sauna/hot tub to relax and assuage their soreness.
After an early dinner, the team headed to the field for our final game against the Vancouver Hawks. Already sore from the morning hike, the team tried to pick up the pace in the warm up and give it their all in the final game. The Hawks provided great competition and were quick on their feet. HCFH kept up with their pace and took numerous shots on goals. Knowing we would have the next three days off to rest, Haverford refused to go out without a fight. The game would end in a loss, but Haverford had succeeded in finishing in the goal and playing through our fatigue. All the strenuous activities of this past week finally took their toll on HCFH and by the end of the game we were wiped out. Holding our heads high, Haverford left the field proud of all our hard work this week and looked forward to what preseason has in store for us. Knowing we are going into preseason more fit and united, HCFH can only get better from here!
Tomorrow we leave for the airport and have the long travel home to Haverford. Thank you for following our travels in Vancouver and I hope everyone gets the chance to come out and support us during our 2012 season! Go Fords!