Going Vertical

There was a time more than a few years ago when I was a fresh-faced Ontario girl who had just relocated to Vancouver. A week or two into this new lifestyle, my then “BC boyfriend” asked me if I wanted to go for a hike. “Sure!” I said.  I thought that it was going to be a mostly-horizontal walk in the woods – Ontario-style – with a bit of beautiful BC scenery thrown in.


The guy took me to hike North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind!  When I saw what that mountain looked like from the parking lot my thoughts turned from excitement to Oh crap.  Man, was it high.  Could I do it?  And with an audience? My boyfriend had asked a woman friend of his – whom I hadn’t met yet – to meet us there.  To my dismay she turned out to be not only super-fit, but pretty!  I pictured her hiking the Grouse Grind every morning before work and not even breaking a sweat.  I was so sure I was going to suck wind big time in front of the both of them.  (Let’s just say there aren’t a lot of mountains in my part of Ontario. Welcome to BC, Softie.)

We began our ascent.

We’d been climbing for a while – it really seemed like forever – when my boyfriend looked back at me and said, “We’re halfway there!”  I looked up at his face (with my red one) and laughed. What a joker! He said, “No, I’m serious,” and my knees took a definite swing. Oh lordy. I felt we’d been hiking for an eternity already, and there was an equal shot of more? I had no choice but to keep going on and up. I’m sure my gritted smile was the perfect picture of Boy, is this fun!  I can’t wait to do this again!

We kept hiking.  And my legs began to burn.

Eventually we all got to the top.  (I may have been last.)  But I looked down on where we had come from and, you know what? All of a sudden I felt so “Yeah! I did it!” that my worry and leg burn melted away. The scenery was amazing and I had surprised myself.  I realized that I was an Ontario girl who was fit enough to climb a mountain.  Soon I was feeling all sporty and accomplished and proud.  And our hike had also taught me that my boyfriend’s pretty and fit friend was actually pretty nice.

We celebrated by having veggie burgers in the restaurant at the top of the mountain.  I’d never eaten a veggie burger before. To me, the whole experience now tasted like victory.  And I couldn’t wait to do it again.

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