When Phil Severy and Don McPherson built the Grouse Grind in the early 1980s, they simply wanted to create an easier way to hike to the top of Grouse Mountain.
Little did they know it would turn into a local institution.
“We had no idea what happened would happen,” McPherson said. “We thought a few hikers and…a few locals that want to get a workout would go up. That’s who we were building it for. We were building it for ourselves.”
“It was just a rough one-person footpath,” Severy said. “We just cleared all the logs out.”
“We went up and down, I’m sure, 30 or 40 times before we started actually building it,” McPherson said.
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That’s the funny part – the Grouse Grind was a rogue operation. Nobody wanted them to do it, not the hardcore hikers who didn’t require trails nor those who govern the mountain.
“This is not Grouse’s land…it was the GVRD and they didn’t want any trail,” McPherson said. “And then it started becoming a reality because people were hiking up and pretty soon there were more and more and more people.”
By 1995, the Grind was so popular they had to make it wider than just a one-person footpath. Once again McPherson and Severy did the trailblazing, working with other volunteers to widen the path in their spare time.
“That was every Friday and Saturday for two years,” Severy said.
It could be argued that McPherson and Severy know the trail better than anyone. But there’s one thing they don’t know – how did the Grouse Grind get its name?
“Nobody knows,” McPherson said. “We’ve asked, inquired, hoping to find somebody who started the name. We don’t know.”
What they do know is the Grind grew from being trail for a few to a trail for all.
“It was our baby and now it’s all grown up,” Severy said.
– With files from Squire Barnes