By DUSTIN NILES
Layout & Design Editor
Sometimes we tend to forget the urban sprawl that surrounds New York. Driving three or four hours into upstate New York only comes close to the quality and quantity of natural beauty that surrounds Vancouver.
I only took a 20-minute bus ride.
Grouse Mountain is located just north of Vancouver, with a ski facility perched on top. It’s accessible from a bus route leaving from North Vancouver and leads to the base of a gondola, which will, at a very steep angle, pull riders to the top. The top overlooks Burrard’s Inlet, the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver, with some of the taller buildings in Surrey and Burnaby visible too.
However, in addition to the gondola, there are a few trails up the mountain.
The Grouse Grind is “Vancouver most- used trail and is renowned for its challenge in requiring physical strength and endurance in order to make it to the top,” according to vancouvertrails.com.
But it’s closed for the winter due to icy conditions. Just east of it is the British Columbia Mountaineering Club trail, commonly known as the BCMC trail. Running nearly parallel to the Grouse Grind, the BCMC trail offers a less busy alternative in the summer to the famous Grind, and usually remains open in the winter. It climbs 853 meters vertically in 2.9 km (that’s 2,800 feet in 1.8 miles in freedom units), taking about 2 hours.
On Feb. 10, I took on the BCMC trail to get some photos of the spectacular British Columbian wilderness. When the trail starts, there’s no sign of snow. But, climbing higher, the snow becomes more and more a part of the landscape, and eventually dominates it.
The change in altitude and temperature changes so drastically that you are climbing directly into the snow. You are hiking to a ski resort, after all.
Thankfully, I took the gondola back down.