Nose to the Grind

The "Grind" is apply named. It's not a pretty hike but nature's stairmaster: a 2.9 km (1.8) mile hike, with an elevation gain of  853 metres (2800 feet).  I was just another pilgrim in a constant stream of hundreds, come to worship the god of physical fitness.

I've done the Grind five times. Some people do the climb every weekend but I'm not one of those. It is not a pretty hike. There's nothing to see. There are few places to rest. It's crowded.

At times you have to scramble up the mountain with your hands and feet. In places, the trail is nothing more than fallen rocks. It's one long constant uphill battle that reaches an incline of 40 degrees.

There are all kinds of bodies on the trail: hard bodies, soft bodies, six packs, one packs, tourists trying to save on the 30$ gondola ride up, kids bouncing past, kids crying... and every solitary soul is sweaty.

The 1/4 mark is about where the delusions started to kick in. That was only 1/4? That HAD to be more than 1/4. Hah, it's too late to turn back, sucker!

"Honey, that girl looks like you!" E points at a girl behind us.
I look back, confused. "The 100lb, 5' tall Asian girl with the DD's?"
Wait, which one of us is hallucinating?

The 1/2 mark is about where I hit my stride. Hey that wasn't so bad. I think I can do this.

Spotted: a business man, in a crisply pressed suit, running down the mountain in white sneakers. A giant hefting a sack of rice on one shoulder. A mother with a newborn strapped to her belly. A squirrel making a bee line for spilled Starbucks Frappucino. A...

The 3/4 mark reality set in. I thought that patch of blue was the end... Those are not tears. Really, I just have some dirt in my eyes...

"But it's so far!" A six year old girl in pink looks exhausted.
Her dad replies. "It's just a couple more switch backs. You can do it."
"Thanks Dad!" I nearly blurt out loud.
"Follow the kid." E whispers back to me.

All of this for what?

No guru awaited us to dispense wisdom. The heavens did not burst into a spontaneous rendition of Eye of the Tiger as we crested the end of the trail. We had to be content to conquer the mountain, and pay $10 for the 2 minute gondola ride back down to sea level.

You know, that was enough to make me want to go to the gym. Forget the Grind, it's time to make an appointment with an elliptical machine, and a flat screen.