The Manitou Incline

The Maintou Incline… what can I say about this wonderful, challenging, and beautiful climb here in Colorado? For starters, I have injured myself ALMOST every single time I have climb the steps of the incline. The wonderful 2700 steps.

The Manitou Incline increases in altitude by a little over 2,000 feet, a little less than a mile in length, and approximately 2700 steps. How do I know the number of steps? I count them… every single time. I will touch back on that next. The incline is a very challenging endeavor and it’s not for those who are not prepared. This past weekend there were 5 or 6 rescues on the incline to where it got to the point that the news stations, fire fighters, and rescue teams were posting on social media to remind the community that the incline isn’t easy. I have seen individuals do this in jeans or other pieces of clothing that should be left at home and carrying only one water bottle. As an example, when I go, I am in clothing that is light, wicking, and comfortable as well as a camelback. That camelback will last me all the way up and majority of the way down. In addition to clothing you may want to spray yourself with sunscreen. So here is my word of caution, make sure you are dressed appropriately and wear the correct attire, it can take rescue teams 3-6 hours each time when called to the incline.

Last week I did the incline with a friend, and it was hot, the sun was shining down hard on us about an hour after we started. So the earlier you start the better, so that way you can be protected from the sun.

While I usually listen to a podcast when going up, sometimes it’s not enough to cancel out the lovely pain of climbing those steps. So I usually count them. I make myself mini goals on when I can take breaks, and after each break I try to go a little further than the last time. I get excited when I reach the halfway point of counting the steps, I get a little more excited when I reach the bailout point, and then I push myself even harder when I reach the false summit. My little mini goals are what keep me going to the incline as much as I do. Oh and yes, you read that correctly, there is a false summit, so while you are so happy and ecstatic that you are getting close, trust me there is more.

After you make it up the incline the way to get down is by taking the path down via Barr Trail. Barr Trail when hiking up and passing the incline, it takes you up to the summit of Pikes Peak. After the incline and going down Barr Trail, many people will choose to walk or run down… I am a runner. It is approximately 3.5 miles down, and despite the long hike up, you all of a sudden find the energy to run down. I honestly just also want to get down as fast as possible.

Running down is where I seem to injure myself. I have twisted, sprained, and rolled my ankle running down that trail more times then I can count. I once found out a few weeks after an injury that I had fractured my ankle. So this last time, you can probably guess… I injured it. It was so bad my friend told me that we should just walk all the way down… I walked a teeny tiny portion and then continued running. I of course continued running because like I said… I want to get down as fast as possible. Was that wise? Absolutely not, however I am used to it at this point.

So in a few days time I am doing it again with my sister and her girlfriend. I told them we will be starting at 6:30 AM so that way we are done before it gets too hot and so I can also get a very delicious pancake breakfast afterwards.

Despite injuring myself almost every single time I am thankful of what my body can do for me. I am thankful of the fact that I am able to do these types of hikes and challenge my body and mind when attempting each task that I do.

What do you do to challenge yourself?

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