Grouse Grind

Vancouver, day 2 -- Grouse Grind. This is a walk up a mountain to the north of the city (there's a lot of mountains to the north!), and it's a popular one -- absolutely packed. So packed in fact that you aren't allowed to walk back down the same way, although there's a cable-car provided. According to wikipedia it climbs 853m elevation and covers 2.9km. Great fun.
 At the top they have a bunch of (mostly educational) tourist entertainment in addition to the usual food outlets. There was a guy giving a talk about bald eagles; they have a couple of grizzly bears there (although the only one I saw had hidden by the time I got the camera out sorry), and a lumberjack show (the log picture is from the set there, warming up I presume -- turns out the guy at the far end of the log in picture is a 4-time world champion). Also, they made me eat a "beavertail", which is basically dough stretched out and fried, then covered in sugar (and in my case, also cinnamon and lemon juice). Surprisingly good, and probably the equivalent of about 3 climbs. I swear I had abs until I ate that thing.
 The picture with me in it -- don't expect there to be many of those, I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear -- is next to a carving of a Kodiak grizzly. It's 18ft high, which is apparently only a foot taller than the biggest real one ever seen. There was also a couple of timberwolves at the base of the climb, albeit sleeping.
 We got icecream on the way back. This place was insane: 218 flavours, including... curry. (I had chocolate and chilli -- which had serious heat, even for me -- and balsamic). That final picture is just one wall of 3 freezer displays!
 Work starts tomorrow; it might be a bit of a shock to the system! Looking forward to it though.
Mark Hepburn 14 June 2009
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