Hiking The Grouse Grind (Intermediate)

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In this episode I just have a conversation with Jill, one of our Linguist tutors, about our weekend’s activities. In particular, Jill talks about the renowned Vancouver hike, “the Grouse Grind”.

Mark: Hello again.

Welcome back to the English Lingq podcast. Mark Kaufmann here. Today we have a different kind of a show. Jill has joined us. Jill is one of the tutors for The Linguist amongst other things. You can introduce yourself.

Jill: Hi, my name is Jill.

As Mark said, I am a Linguist tutor and I do customer service as well for the Linguist and most likely if you ever send an email I will answer you and I think today Mark and I will probably discuss the outdoors, outdoor activities. We are both quite interested in being outside.

Mark: I thought actually you were telling me earlier you were hiking yesterday, or not really hiking, doing the Grouse grind which I would assume most of our listeners would not be familiar with. We, for those of you who don’t know, we’re in Vancouver and in Vancouver the Grouse grind is quite a popular activity, at least for those who are physically active. Maybe, Jill you can explain a bit about what the Grouse grind is.

Jill: The Grouse grind is a hike from basically the base of one of our local mountains, a ski mountain, a ski hill and so you can park at the base and normally you would take a tram up the mountain if you are to go skiing but there is also a trail so you can walk from the base to the top of the mountain, you hike. It’s quite steep and I can’t remember quite how long it is but it’s actually not that great of a distance but it’s very steep so it’s quite difficult. It’s not a mellow stroll in the park kind of, you know, I’m going to go out for some fun and an easy walk kind of thing.

But, it’s hard work and there are lots of people who are trying to do it in a certain time or better than their time, there are races on it and because it is quite a challenging hike, I think there is quite a lot of competition around it so people are always kind of trying to beat each other. Mark: Yeah, for sure. You hear people around town talking about how I went and did the grind yesterday and what was you time and this sort of thing. I don’t know how long it’s sort of been a popular thing to do.

I assume that the trail has been there forever, not forever, but for a long time, but as far as people talking about doing the grind and talking about their times and it becoming popular for a lot of people actually, maybe in the last ten years it’s become that. I know you were telling me you got a pretty good time yesterday. Jill was telling me how she did it in 45 minutes yesterday which is an excellent time and I’m not sure if you told Steve.

Jill: No I didn’t tell Steve yet and actually Steve is in great shape for those of you who don’t know he exercises very regularly and so he can do something like the grind generally quicker than most people who are twenty or thirty years younger than him.

He can do it in, I guess the first time out this year, the first time he did it this year he also did it in 45 minutes. But I think he has done it quicker than that in the past, in 42 minutes or something I think is his best time. Yesterday at 45 was definitely my best time. I don’t know that I can do it a lot quicker, it was pretty hard.

Mark: Yeah, he says he’s been up it 42 and I’m sure he has, but I mean the difference in those times is huge actually. It is very steep. I know that when I do it my feet start to fall asleep because they are bent, there is such an incline that they are constantly bent and I guess the blood flow, the circulation starts to get cut off.

I don’t like doing it so I don’t go very often. Jill: I don’t think many people really like doing the grind. It’s more, it has the name the Grouse grind because it’s a grind. It’s difficult. I think most people who do it, who seriously do it are fairly avid outdoors people or people who like to exercise and so they do it as more of a workout and the people on it who are not that way I think are usually, don’t really know what they are getting themselves into. You see a lot of people, a lot of tourists busses go to Grouse Mountain.

It’s a very popular tourist place in Vancouver and so a lot of those tourists decide I’m going to go on this little hike so they are not dressed properly, they are not in very good shape or they just have no experience with hiking and this is quite a grueling hike. So, there are people every year who have to be rescued off of the trail because they just can’t make it or they have an asthma attack or they get lost. They somehow get off the trail and get lost, so it’s not just something that should be done and taken lightly, it is difficult. Mark: Yeah, for sure. Because it’s difficult is again, why I haven’t probably done it in a while.

Although I should mention that when I did do it, I can’t remember what my time was but, I beat my dad. Yeah, something like that, 36 or something like that. Anyway I will do it soon because everybody else here seems to be on the Grouse grind doing fast times.

Jill: The record for doing it is, a guy from New Zealand did it in, I think it was 27 minutes, 26 or 27 minutes and that is the quickest anybody has ever done it. That is somebody who can basically run up the whole hill and that’s very unlikely for most people. Mark: 27 minutes. That is fast you know. I know the few times I tried it I started out trying to run almost and I mean, after ten minutes of that you are just dead.

You kind of have to start off a little more slowly and then hope you pick up some time at the end. It’s more being able to hold a constant pace up rather than running but 27 minutes. That is fast. New Zealand eh? Never, I don’t trust them. Jill: They have lots of mountains there too so I guess it makes sense. But I ever do it faster than 45 minutes I’d be very happy. I can’t imagine. I think the average time, they average it out, is actually it’s an hour and a half or an hour and fifteen minutes when they aver it out over all the people who do it.

So you know, the average person I think, even people who are in decent shape, who exercise on a fairly regular basis but maybe don’t do a lot of hiking or running or that kind of thing. It still takes them usually about an hour and ten or an hour and twenty minutes. Anybody really under an hour is a good time for the grind.

Mark: Yeah, I think for sure that’s the case. I know, getting back to what you were saying earlier about people not being prepared, I mean you see people on there that they are a quarter of the way up and they are there in their loafers and jeans and they have no idea what they were doing and saw some people heading up the trail and thought oh, that looks like fun, yeah, let’s walk up the mountain.

And it’s not a walk, it’s not a walk. It’s definitely strenuous physical activity unlike what I was doing last night. You were on the grind working hard and I was playing mixed slow pitch softball which is a different kettle of fish. What do you mean old man sport?

Jill: No, I just say that because I know my step dad when I was younger, he played on a slow pitch team so I kind of associate it with a dad thing to do but of course that was twenty years ago when I was only ten years old. So he seemed old to me at the time.

Mark: Well I am a dad, however I never thought I’d be on a slow pitch team because really that’s not my speed of game in general, but I did play baseball for a few years as a kid and actually how we ended up having a team, a bunch of the parents at the school we were good friends with, at the kids school, a few guys decided we should have a slow pitch baseball team. It’s mixed so that the wives play as well and you know it’s, I mean it’s slow but actually because it’s slow pitch everybody hits. There are not a lot of strike outs and walks so there’s a fair amount of activity in the field and it mostly is just a social event.

Jill: Yeah, in my experience I know my brother has several friends who play slow pitch and have played for a number of years in their twenties so it’s not just an old person sport. They do it, I think, definitely more for the social aspect. A bunch of guys, their team is all guys and a bunch of them are friends and have been friends for twenty years and they get together and hang out and girlfriends or wives come and watch and I think there is always some beer and other things or sometimes going out afterwards to a pub is a very popular thing to do too. I think that it is mostly a social activity and like you say, because it’s slow pitch you don’t have to be a superstar to be able to play and have fun.

The ball is not coming at your very fast so you can usually hit it which makes the game more fun.

Mark: By the way when we, when I call it slow pitch, slow pitch is soft ball but it’s like a lobbing pitch, it’s like a moon ball we call it as opposed to real baseball where the ball comes in over hand or fast pitch soft ball where it’s under hand but it’s very hard. Slow pitch is a lobbing pitch that’s easy to connect with. Sometimes it’s easy to pop up the ball or hit grounders, whatever, but at any rate, there’s a lot of action for the defensive team as well so as you said, everybody gets into the game and as you also said a big part of it is the social aspect.

There are not many games you can play just about while drinking beer, not to down play the athletic aspect of what we’re doing but if there was no beer allowed I’m not so sure we’d be playing, which I wouldn’t say about any of the other games I play. Part of it is in the spring and summer and the weather is nice and friends get together and the kids are out playing at the playground next door and it’s just a fun thing to do. But certainly not as strenuous as the Grouse grind.

I think with that we’ll probably wrap things up.

I hope you all enjoyed hearing about what we did last night and we’ll try to talk about different things, different aspects of our lives and a variety of topics going forward with the English LingQ podcast and we’ll sort of intersperse these conversations with our regular podcasts and if you have any comments of course, please let us know through our website. Most importantly to get more from this podcast an dread the transcript and save words and phrases that you want to learn and use our learning tools to really learn this material please visit our website at englishlingq.com. Sign up and try out our learning tools.

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