Manitou Incline and Barr Trail, Colorado Springs CO

Once we saw the huge carved out Mountain and learned you that it was a hiking trail, we knew we at least had to check it out.

On thursday we decided it would be a good time to give the Manitou Incline a try as the weather was most promising.   Luckily the day before or so, while driving towards Manitou Springs we were able to see it in the distance and somewhat get an idea of what it entailed.  This is Denny’s preparation kit, deciding on which shoe, knee braces, motrin, C4, and pain meds.  Ended up going with Tennis Shoes, Motrin only and small knee brace. 🙂

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Once we got there our spirits were still high and with our camel-back all packed and ready we began to climb.

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Here is a good view from the bottom… let’s just say we started slow.

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This is a photo below was taken almost at the halfway point at one of the many breaks we HAD to take.  I don’t think I’ve done anything as hard as this before,  including my marathon, sprint triathlons and half marathons.  My heart was going to explode! no joke. Maybe the altitude, the not being in the greatest of shapes, or it was just the most insane hike /climb ever.  We also did it after work, it was warm and we didn’t have a proper meal in us, so the thought of trying again is possible.   There were others suffering right along with us… locals would pass right up without even stopping. One military guy was carrying his protective vest, a little test from his bootcamp buds, each of pushing our limits and huffing and puffing away.    More breaks ensued and when I couldn’t calm my breath all you could do is look up and say you’re almost to the top.. but no.. it’s a false summit, a spirit breaker with one last section to complete.  We took another short break, got our spirits up and kept going up because there’s no quitting in this team 🙂  (Also nowhere really else to go!)

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And we did it! We finally made it to the top! it only took us 1 hour and 22 minutes, not the best of times but not like we knew what to expect.

A girl who was obviously training reached the top right after we did, huffing and sweating reaching down and stopping her watch,  we asked what her time was, she said 31 minutes!!! Unbelievable!    And motivation for us to come back again and try to at least get toward the 1 hour mark.  But kudos to all that do this for a workout, it was intense.

Here is our celebratory shot, sweaty, dirty and weird tired smiles and all 🙂

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Then it was time to head down after talking with a couple of locals, we heard some rumbling in the skies and decided to take Barr Trail down which is 4 miles but much better than trying to tackle the steepness with the weather going down. Here are some beautiful shots and also a google image of the trail weaving in and out alongside the incline. DSCF3650

 

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We were happily enjoying the views and taking pics until it started raining then somehow we got some inspiration to try to make it to the end quicker by jogging the rest of the way.  4 miles down hill isn’t so bad unless you are wearing tennis shoes and have a bad knee you are trying to protect. (below is a great picture of Veronica while the rain was coming down)

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And so you know by now we truly under estimated this challenge. Here is a nice description that fits it:

“The Manitou Incline has been hailed as the holy grail of cardio for locals and athletes, alike.  The once railroad track now consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties! Although it’s only one mile in length, the ascension averages a 41% incline (68% at its highest) and a 2,000 foot climb in elevation! Phew! That’s a lot of stairs! That’s even more than the Empire State Building! Needless to say, this hike isn’t for the faint of heart, or heights. The Manitou Incline is considered one of the highest sets of stairs in the world! This trail is rated Extreme.”  from: www.pikes-peak.com/want-climb-manitou-incline

 

And Denny in action! Nothing stops my man! not even after two arthroscopic and two ACL replacement knee surgeries. Not only did he complete the incline, the run down the trail, but now he wants to do the incline again to see if we can beat our time. I love him 🙂  with better preparation and now knowing what it really takes we might just do beat it.

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