In Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, “Grind” trails are renowned among hikers for their challenging terrain and stunning vistas, falling into two main categories: “Summer Grinds” and “Spring Grinds.” The Explorer Series’ Spring and Summer Grind Challenges provide the perfect opportunity for hikers to build early-season fitness and explore the best of these trails across both regions.
Summer Grinds: These trails are a quintessential challenge, known for steep and rigorous ascents. They generally span 2.5 to 7.5 kilometers with steep gradients, often exceeding 15%. Examples include:
- The Grouse Grind: 2.9 kilometers long, with an 853-meter elevation gain.
- The Sea to Summit Trail in Squamish: 7.5 kilometers with a 918-meter elevation gain.
- The Velodrome Trail/Burnaby Grind: 1.5 kilometers with a 240-meter elevation gain.
Spring Grinds: These are gentler, perfect for early-season hiking, offering a more moderate challenge suitable for a broader range of fitness levels.
The Explorer Series has introduced the Spring 10 Grind Challenge, starting in March, to explore distinct grind trails while supporting local trails through the Chilliwack Park Society.
Safety Measures for Grind Trails: Safety on Grind trails is paramount. It’s important to check weather conditions and trail alerts before you head out. A fully charged phone, and if possible, a map or GPS device, are essential. Letting someone know your hiking plan and expected return time is a good practice. Carrying a basic first aid kit and knowing first aid care is advisable. Be alert for any wildlife and respect the natural surroundings.
Training Tips for Grind Trails: Preparing for Grind trails involves both physical and mental preparation. Building stamina through cardio workouts like jogging or cycling is beneficial. Strength training, focusing on leg muscles and core stability, will prepare you for the physical demands of the trails. Gradually acclimatizing to steep terrain by practicing on less challenging trails is a good approach. Exercises like squats, lunges, and step-ups are also helpful.
Hiking Grind Trails with Dogs: When considering hiking with dogs, it’s important to note that most Summer Grind trails are challenging and might not be suitable for them. However, Spring Grind trails are generally safer but still require ensuring your dog’s fitness. Keeping your dog on a leash, bringing enough water and a collapsible bowl, and being prepared to carry out their waste is essential. Always check for trail restrictions regarding pets.
Explorer Series Summer Grinds Challenge: The Explorer Series is also offering a Summer Grinds Challenge starting in June. This challenge is designed for the more experienced hiker looking to push their limits on some of the most challenging trails in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas. It’s not just a test of physical endurance but also a way to connect with nature and like-minded individuals.
Whether you’re gearing up for the challenging Summer Grinds or starting with the more moderate Spring Grinds, these trails offer a unique way to experience nature, improve fitness, and contribute to the local community. Get ready to explore these trails and embrace the adventure! #ExploreMore