After two years of simultaneously talking about it and making excuses for why I couldn’t, I finally did The Incline yesterday. Shhh…don’t tell, it is sort of illegal.
Trails.Com says it is a 3 mile hike with a 2,011 feet gain in elevation from the base in Manitou Springs near the Cog Railway to the top of the “stair case” at 8,595 feet above sea level. The train is a much more relaxing way to ascend the mountain, but there is almost no sense of accomplishment in riding it. Except maybe surviving an hour and a half ride with two small children on a train with no bathroom.
I was huffing and puffing all the way up, but to be honest, so was everybody else, even the young studs who sprinted past us and were bragging at the top that this was their third time in two weeks and that their goal was to make it up in under 30 minutes. It took us about 50. And I am totally pleased with that.
The view on the way up was pretty much the same the whole way, right foot, left foot, dusty railroad ties, rocks, rusted out metal tubes. We stopped a few times along the way, but I was a little too queasy to look down. Sadly, my fear of heights can be somewhat dizzying…not something you want to experience when perched precariously on an old plank of wood somewhere around 7,500 feet elevation. I managed to take one picture without really looking when we stopped about half way up. It is actually hard for me to even look at the picture.
I managed this obstacle just like I get through most things these days – with a little help from a friend. I’ve had several offers to hike up before and I have always had legitimate reasons to pass on the challenge. If I am truly honest with myself, I think part of it was that I was intimidated by those who make this a regular part of their routine. I was afraid of not making it. Every so often a friend comes along that I feel comfortable enough with to show my huffing, puffing, sweaty, red-faced, true self to and run the risk of her bearing witness to my potential failure. I am so thankful that I’ve found a few friends like that here in Colorado, not just for tackling The Incline, but for making the best of this deployment with me.Perhaps that should be the motto of us Army wives: We get by with a little help from our friends!