Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Climbing the Incline

Until Sunday, I could not easily name the hardest thing I ever hiked/climbed.  With family and friends, I've done a number of different trails over the course of my life, but none were as hard as the Incline just outside of Colorado Springs (although a section of the Cheddar Gorge trail in the UK would come close if it had been longer).  The climb to the top is only 1 mile long, but it climbs 2,000 feet.  In combination, it's a very difficult climb.  (You can visit the trail's website here).
I snapped this just as we were starting out.  You can see the "false" summit at the top.
Despite being in fairly good shape, it took me about an hour to get to the top.  I had to pause to rest and drink water numerous times, my heart beating so fast and hard like a drum banging warning.  I knew the air would be thinner than I was used to and did not want to over push myself.  People have died on this trail.  Various factors play a role, but mainly they try to climb too quickly and don't always bring enough water.  Be prepared!
The view back down the stairs.  Stunning.
The view from the top of the stairs is well worth the climb.  The city spreads out before you, looking both petite and vast.  The sun was setting behind the mountains as we climbed, leaving us in much appreciated shade upon the stairs.  With each look out into the distance, the shadows crept further away, like a blanket spreading out to tuck in the Springs.  The sky above the mountains was painted in splashes of pale pinks, yellows and reds as the sun dropped below the horizon.
View from the plateau at the top of the stairs. (to the south-west-ish)
It got dark pretty fast after that so my new friend Frost and I hurried down the trail--but not before taking a selfie together at the top.  Maybe someday we'll meet back here to climb it all again.
Me and Frost after she made it to the top.

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