I said in my last post that I was going to hike the BCMC Trail Friday afterwork. Well, that did not happen. It would appear that I ate something out of the norm that day and it didn’t sit well with me and it didn’t hit me until quitting time, so I ended up taking it easy that afternoon. However, I did tackle this hike today. And I managed to complete it in 2 hours and 25 minutes. Not bad since this is a neighbouring trail to the Grouse Grind. This is also the trail where a 6 year old kid fell down 12 meters. Now after hiking the Grouse Grind and the BCMC Trail, I have to put in my to cents worth. If you’re going to bring your kids to hike either of these trails, really, they should be kept close at hand to you. It is a very steep trail, both the Grind and the BCMC. And with the BCMC, there are many sections where you can see clear erosion of the trail. And many places where there is only room for one person. Unlike the Grouse Grind, there are many people that go up and then back down the BCMC. Granted there are signs at the start of the trail that say “Downhill prohibited”, but that doesn’t mean people will follow the signs. The one really nice thing about the BCMC Trail is there are way less people on this trail compared to the Grind so the down hill traffic isn’t really all that bad. Even so, the few kids that I saw on this trail, would be going up quite quickly, leaving their adult supervision behind in their dust. I think it’s great to get kids outside to enjoy nature and to exercise, but they should be supervised for their own safety.
So, BCMC Trail. I liked it. I liked it much better than the Grouse Grind. The biggest difference was the lack of people. On the Grind, it’s like a line up of people just waiting to get to the top. It is impossible to have any peace and quiet to yourself. But the BCMC Trail, was practically abandoned compared to the Grouse Grind. For the most part, it was a very well marked trail. The description on the vancouvertrails.com website talks about the number of markers on the trail and I could read most of the markers but after awhile, the numbers actually were faded away to the point where all you could make out was the colour of the marker. There were still the required water breaks and thumping heart breaks as with the Grouse Grind, but because there were less stairs on the BCMC, the breaks weren’t as long nor as frequent. Yay! But there were a few times where I did get slightly disoriented. I won’t say lost, but at one point near the beginning of the trail, I veered off and somehow made it onto the Grouse Grind. All I could say was WTF! and then quickly turned back because the last thing I wanted to do was join the train of people headed up the Grind. There was one other spot where I went the wrong way. I followed the marker but it was off the trail. It was very weird. The only good thing was that I went up hill and from my higher vantage point, I could see where I went wrong. During one of my breathing breaks, I was pleasantly surprised with some Hiker’s Humour. On a trail such as the BCMC, it was a welcome chuckle before having to continue onwards and upwards.
As I continued upwards, there did come a point where it appears to level out a bit and it doesn’t seem as steep anymore. And with the Grouse Grind, when you look up and it appears that the trees are thinning out, it’s a good sign that you are nearing the top. Not so with the BCMC. I was so utterly disappointed when I reached the top of a rocky outcrop because I thought I was near the end. And I was, but when you make a mad scramble up rocks only to realize that you now have to go down the other side of the rocks and then further onwards, you kind of want to cry, or swear. Either way, I wasn’t done yet. But I was also noticing more people heading back downhill, as I was progressing onwards. Perhaps I was getting close? As trail runners passed me, I just continued my hike. It was no longer a trudge since it wasn’t as steep anymore and in my mind, I was near the end. Let’s just say, when I made it to the gravel path, I was actually confused. The trail runner that had just passed me 5 minutes ago was now standing on the path, stretching. Was this the top? It certainly didn’t look like it. And then it clicked. These people that I had seen going back down, didn’t actually go all the way to the top. So I went passed the trail runner and continued my hike. When you start hiking along the pipes, you are probably less than 10 minutes from the top. You could make a mad scramble from the pipes, but it’s quite muddy and splashy and possibly slippery if you misstep or don’t have the proper shoes. Do like me and do the mad scramble up at the last portion of the pipes, when the top is in site. It feels great. One other really nice thing about this trail was the lack of bugs and mosquitoes. I don’t know how to explain it, but there weren’t a lot of bugs on this trail. Perhaps it was because of the two week time difference. It can’t be the time of day. I hiked the Grind in the same amount of time as the BCMC and I started both hikes at the same time of day. Anyway, I liked this trail. Will I do the Grind again? Maybe. Will I do the BCMC Trail again. Yes. If you’re looking for a great workout, you could do either. Grouse Mountain is only 30 minutes from Vancouver so it’s very convenient. Keep in mind the Grouse Grind is all stairs. And it’s not all natural anymore since there are so many people who do the Grouse Grind. There are a lot of stairs that are built for the Grind. Whereas the BCMC is still nature. There are stairs, but there are many parts that just follow the trail of tree roots and rocks. It is still a trail. Whereas the Grouse Grind is “natures stair master”. If you’re unsure, try them both out. I did and I love the trail.