I’m not a morning person. The sweet smell of napalm in the morning makes me want to go curl up in a bed. Emme kidnapped me at 2:30 AM to go up to Grouse mountain and investigate what fun stuff there was to do. I had never been up there before, and the sights were simply astonishingly beautiful, but it comes at a price: your calves.
We got up there right in time to catch a couple of glimpses of “The Today show”, which to my sadness is not hosted by Katie Couric anymore, but Meredith Vieria who is so photogenic she should be studied. The whole crew was there: Matt Lauer (who has quite a fan following… mainly 45+ women who comment on how “young” his skin looks), Al Roker (who won’t stop smiling while he reads the weather), Anne Curry (who does most of the reporting in Vancouver not in Grouse, and who normally does more controversial topics like Haiti) and the beautiful Natalie Morales (who is eye candy). But as they posed for pictures and yelled behind the athletes, we asked people why there were there, and although some wanted the chance to be on television, some of them were actually ending their night after a Monster party. Emme actually kissed one of them for some bet, at which point I started wondering what I was doing there.
It ends up I was there for comical purposes as they knew I had no experience on the snow or ice whatsoever. They made me hold the camera, put me on skates and tied the camera to my neck, so I wouldn’t drop it. We met a fellow UBC student who was there for fun and a man wearing shorts because he felt Canadian. If you listened you could actually hear the pride on his voice, and deservingly so as Canada is beating the odds in the games. The man in shorts was interesting, but afterwards on the way down we met a man who trekked up Grouse mountain almost every day. He said he climbed up 594 times, but also timed himself and took notes every time. That sounds like obsessive compulsive to me, but that’s just my opinion. What surprised me about this man is that he said it like it was something as ordinary as going for the groceries. The mountain is HUGE and to climb it in 45 minutes is a super human ordeal. Even though it is illegal (in the off season), there are world records and everything (24 minutes and 22 seconds), telling me that there are a lot of these iron-man people out there. Do they all suffer from OCD or are they simply adrenaline junkies? Whatever the reason, they deserve as much recognition as the athletes because they accomplish the extraordinary. If the winter games are about the “amateurs”, then people like him deserve recognition as well. And for that matter so do the people that make it to the Olympics, because it is an amazing accomplishment and they should not cry when they don’t make it to the podium or say they have failed their country, because just by being present, they are making someone in the world proud. I think too much emphasis has been put on the medals, when we have to recognize everyone that makes it here to Vancouver. That’s what the Olympics are all about guys: amateurs who accomplish the impossible. And I am speaking as a person whose nation has three athletes, and for me simply participating here is way more valuable than a gold medal.
Anyway, after skating for a while Brie suggested snowshoeing. I had no idea what this was, I thought we were going to put on those funny looking snowshoes and start walking. I was wrong: we started climbing. Now here lies the problem, I have climbed a lot of mountains before, but I use my whole foot. I have a very weird balance center, and I know it, so I need my whole foot to climb up anything. In snowshoes you use the bottom part of the foot (those little bumps) so you are essentially tip-toeing up a mountain. Let me repeat that: tip-toeing up a mountain. It’s brutal. I think its really cool that people do it every day and have adjusted themselves to it, but it’s definitely not for me. My calves are still hurting and my lower back is not functioning correctly. But the trip was worth it. The view of the mountain and the city is beautiful and like nothing I have seen before, its simply breathtaking. The day was perfect too, it was sunny and nice, the perfect day to tip-toe up a mountain.
Would I do it again? No. Maybe in the summer when I can wear shoes, but snow shoeing is something that everyone should try and then just leave it to the pros. I felt bad at myself because there was an old couple (and I mean old, like 70) in front of us (we began, and were immediately the slow group) that was just going at it like Speedy Gonzalez. We didn’t make it to the top, which was perfectly fine with me, but we still got a great view. I recommend it to the athletic people out there, not to the ones that prefer being taken up by a gondola, like me. Also, if you think you are going to be slow, don’t get Dawn as a guide as it was her first time up the mountain at sunrise and she was stuck with us, so just let her go to the top with the not so out of shape ones, although she was an AMAZING guide.
In the end it was a great experience that I will remember as long as my legs hurt and for a long time after that. For the younger folks I think the Monster party is fun if you snowboard and such, but I asked around and it doesn’t seem that cool. Everyone should experience it, and on a last note, help us find Saxel the mouse as he has been kidnapped. He is a really timid creature, and deserves better treatment.