After having a good laugh, we look up…way up. Our stairs are no longer the short staircase we have been running up and down for the past seven years. Mike refers to them as the Grouse Grind.The Grouse Grind Trail is located in North Vancouver, B.C., at the Grouse Mountain ski resort. It is an extremely steep and mountainous trail that begins at the 300-metre-elevation and climbs to 1,100 metres over a distance of approximately 2.9 kilometres. It’s commonly referred to as Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.
The average time it takes to climb the Grind is an hour and a half. Mike and I have hiked it together once. His time was 40 minutes and mine was 43. Mike always wanted to climb the Grind again. He was convinced he could easily shave a few minutes off his time with practice. He says there’s a technique to climbing the steep hill.Well, there is a technique to climbing our stairs now too; slowly and carefully. I walk right behind him with one hand on the railing holding tight and one on his back, so he knows I’ve got his back. Before taking his first step the other night, Mike said, “How many more steps have we got? Oh, wait, we haven’t started yet.” A few steps up and he says, “What have we got ourselves into?” About half way up, he says, “Are we there yet?”
We climb the stairs together twice a day; once after Mike’s bike ride for a shower and again at the end of the day to go to bed. Once in a while I time how long it takes us to reach the top. It usually takes between five and six minutes. The five to six minute journey to the upper level allows for some contemplation. I think about Mike’s determination and how I probably would have given up a long time ago. I admire his patience and mental strength and humbly follow one slow step at a time. I examine the grain and the lines in the wood or our beautiful wooden stairs and hand railing. I pray for protection and for the kind of patience Mike has.My sister, Elanna and her husband Peter have invited us to come and stay in their ground level basement. It has a beautiful guest room, a bathroom, laundry and a large living area. They say it’s ready when we are. But Mike’s not quite ready and with his strong will and determination we will keep climbing those stairs for as long as possible. Plus, he is convinced he can shave a few minutes off his time with more practice.
Mike working up a sweat just thinking about the climb ahead of him.
Keep looking up Mike...you are doing well!