Monday, February 15, 2010

While hiking up a trail in the Red Rock Canyon today I turned to look over my shoulder and this was the view.  The focus today will be on that tiny sliver of a white line in the top middle of the picture.  It is the old Mount Manitou Scenic Incline Railway roadbed.  We just call it The Incline.  The tracks of the railway were removed years ago but the cross-ties remain.  2,800 of them.  The railroad ties form a "staircase" up the side of the mountain.  It is 3.25 miles up with a 2,200 foot change in altitude.  It is a severe workout.  Stacie has done it 3 times and I have done it twice.  It is technically closed to the public but tens of thousands of people go up it each year.  The city of Colorado Springs has plans to take over the land and management of The Incline.  It is in need of some serious repair.  There are several places where jagged iron pipes (used for drainage around the track) cross your path on the way up.  Many people train here and all the websites devoted to running/fitness trails rate it as "strenuous".  Stacie and I usually traverse The Incline to the top then run down the switchbacks of Barr Trail.  That is a 4 mile run down the mountain.  Last year Stacie took a pretty bad spill while we were heading down.  Her ankle was in an air cast for a couple weeks and she left most of the skin from her shin on the trail.  Barr Trail is the path that goes to the top of Pike's Peak.  Barr Camp is about half way up.  We have hiked to the camp where we ate our picnic lunch, only to be directed by the Rangers to not attempt the ascent any further due to bad weather (Once above 12,000 feet there are no trees.  You are the tallest thing around for lightning to strike).  We were chased down the mountain by said lightning. At this time of year, The Incline is covered with ice and snow (thus the white line).  It is a tough hike but offers some of the most scenic views in the area.  There is an optical illusion near the top (called the "False Summit") that makes you feel like you have almost reached the pinnacle, but as you continue climbing, more of the trail becomes visible.  If you attempt to climb The Incline bring plenty of water and your camera.  I will post a picture from The Incline later on in the year (when the ice and snow melt!).  What heights will you achieve this year?

1 comment:

  1. Dad and I remember seeing the Incline when we visiting you guys. Colorado Springs has some of the most beautiful sights to see.