Day Five in Vancouver, Canada

So today we decided to hike up a mountain. Grouse mountain, to be precise. But a mountain’s a mountain and, as I found out, bloody hard to climb. The first thing you’ll see when you open the web page is a picture of a Gondola. Take that as a sign. Because climbing up the thing shouldn’t be taken lightly. I knew it would be hard but I didn’t know it would be THAT HARD. It didn’t help that we got lost on the way up. We took a wrong turn and ended up on another route so we had to backtrack and start again. So instead of hiking for 3km (which should have taken a couple of hours), we hiked for a lot more and it took nearly 4 hours. At one point, I nearly cried. No, I’m lying. I did cry. It was around two hours in when every f*cker that passed us said we were half way… I couldn’t handle the fact that we had to repeat everything we had just done ALL. OVER. AGAIN. Also, half an hour and a million rocks / steps later, another a-hole would say ‘don’t worry, you’re nearly half way’… How can we still be half way half an hour later?! So yes, I got my rage on and threatened to stay put and spend the night under a rock, avoiding the bears. Thank god for my friends – they kept me going.

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 (Here are my friends… note that they’re all ahead of me)

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(And yep, it turns icy at the top… watch your step)

In all seriousness, don’t be a dick about it. One wrong step and you’ll be down the bottom of that mountain as fast as you can say ‘WHY AM I DOING THIS?!’. If you don’t believe me, here’s a sign:

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“KNOW YOUR LIMITS (Jo Sutherland)”

People have died. Also, if you’re not a friend of exercise, I’d stick to the gondola. Here’s what they have to say about it… https://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind.

If you hike up, this is what happens at the top… (if you’ve got the same fitness levels as me, i.e. none):

(Yours truly passed out on the stairs leading up to the bar)

We refuelled at The Observatory and then went to say hello to the Grizzly Bears.

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Then we took the Gondola back to earth (no way in hell were we gonna hike down!) and this is the view that made all our efforts worthwhile:

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Despite our bodies cry for mercy, we continued our adventure and headed towards Lynn Canyon to cross one of Vancouver’s many suspension bridges. As a tourist hotspot, you’ll definitely hear about the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but apparently the website makes it look better than it is, so you may as well save yourself $35 and go on the free one at Lynn Canyon Park instead. Well, that’s what we did and we loved it.

There’s also a really cool rock pool nearby so you can sit and have a picnic as you listen to the water crashing down. If you’ve got a car, the park gates close at 7pm, but if you’re on foot you can go there whenever – I would avoid getting caught in the dark though.

We headed back to our hostel in tatters but it was all worth it! If you fancy exploring Grouse Mountain or Lynn Canyon, you’ll need to catch the SeaBus from Waterfront, north to Longsdale Quay. It’s about $4 return. From there, you can catch a bus. Simples.

Or – if you’re staying at HI Vancouver Central – Erik runs a Lynn Canyon tour on Tuesdays.

What. A. Day.

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