Okay, well I don’t know if you’d really call it “climbing a mountain” as such. But I did the grouse grind for the first time on Saturday morning. Over 100,000 people hike this trail annually, so why does it matter that I am now one of them? Well, for one, I am not what you would call a very “fit” individual. I never run, unless it’s for the bus. But I do walk. I walk a lot. And I believe that that’s what allowed me to push through.
Many people doubted me. My friend warned me that it was very hard, but also that she would be disappointed if I turned back. When I asked people what I needed to know about it, replies included “you’ll have to cheat death itself” and “make sure there’s someone to carry you if you faint”. I so appreciated the support. Several people just asked “why?”. Why not? When I woke up early my dad asked what time it was. It was 7am. He asked where I was going. When I told him I was doing the grouse grind he asked me why. I said “because I can”.
Everyone says the worst part is when you reach the 1/4 mark of the trail & think “are you kidding me? I’ve only come this far?”. Lucky for me, I was so focused that I somehow completely missed the 1/4 mark, so I didn’t realize how far I’d gone until I reached the 1/2 mark. I felt so good after that. But that good feeling soon turned into the feeling that I was going to die. It was on and off with “I feel great” & “I’m going to die”. It was a very bipolar experience.
The worst part for me was not the exhaustion, nor the pain, nor the struggle. The worst part for me was the insects. They were everywhere. Everywhere that I was. And the closer I got to the top, the more I was surrounded by them. If you saw me, struggling, swearing under my breath (and out loud), it wasn’t because I was tired. It was because of those damn insects. The flies kept hitting me in the face, crawling on my legs, and dying on my arms. I was so grateful to finally finish, so that I could go inside and escape them.
This was a feat that I was forced to complete alone. No one seemed willing to accompany me on my journey. I did have one friend, one strong companion, but she was unable to continue with me all the way to the top. I appreciate that she encouraged me to go on without her and wait for me until I was done. If not for her, I would never have attempted it in the first place.
The grind took me almost an hour and a half. Which I’ve heard isn’t so bad for your first time? Also I’m not sore. My legs are strong. I just have no upper body strength. But that’s overrated. My mom asked if I was sore the next day and I said no & she said “Really? You’re not sore at all?”. Maybe I’m just that awesome.
I feel a sense of accomplishment having done this, and would like to do it again, but hopefully with company this time. It was a difficult, uphill battle, and I didn’t know if I would make it. Many doubted my ability to survive but in the end I fought hard and I prevailed. If I can apply this logic to certain other aspects of my life, then I’m going to be alright. If I can handle this, then I can handle anything, right?