The Grouse Grind in Vancouver has become a popular tourist attraction, but for no apparent reason. After all, it’s a steep stair-master like trail, crawling with lycra clad racers with fanny packs busy trying to improve their “Grind time” while overtaking you without missing a heartbeat. It’s the kind of place where you can scan a card at the start and end to have your time recorded for posterity, and have a latte at the coffee shop at the top, not exactly a remote wilderness experience. Then there’s the odd issue of the trail name being trademarked… How often does that happen?
With that in mind, we set off to the so called Harrison Grind, a lovely trail leading up out of the village of Harrison Hot Springs, a cute touristy hamlet on the shore of the weirdly huge Harrison Lake. Despite the name, this trail bears no resemblance at all to the infamous Grouse Grind, except perhaps the similar elevation gain. We saw very few people, the trail is much less steep and more beautiful, and needless to say, there is nowhere to buy coffee on the trail. Our Mexican friends Galo and Catia joined us, after being forewarned that hiking with Neil demands patience and willingness to be on his schedule, to which they replied that “lots of stops and lots of food is our style”. We stopped to ask for directions, and Galo loaded up on kiwis and mangoes, Mexican style.
The trail starts up an old road, which is so old and overgrown that it looks like a trail to the untrained eye. After crossing the power lines where we enjoyed a sneak peek of the snowy Cheam range (which we have yet to explore) and we continued up through the lush forest. There was a slippery log crossing, where the handrail had fallen down, and in actuality we could have bypassed it, but it was just too tempting… We started late and were getting quite hungry by the time we reached the viewpoint. From there we could see the huge jewel of Harrison Lake right below us, and Mt. Breakenridge and Slollicum Peak, which brought back good memories of other trips.
After a long break for all of us to eat (including Neil), as well as do our tummy time (only Neil), we headed back down. The trail apparently continues up to Campbell Lake, but reportedly it is accessible by ATV’s and has not been treated well. The hike down was uneventful and easy, and after another feeding session (just Neil) we drove back to Vancouver. Having two Mexicans with us, we decided that a stop at el Rinconcito Salvadoreño would be in order, and the delicious pupusas (everyone except Neil) brought back good memories from El Salvador.