Monday, May 17, 2010

Hiking The Incline and Mt Manitou

This Sunday's hiking adventure was a solo one, as the idea of spending several hours in my company is even less enticing than the idea of climbing 2000 steps, and putting the two together is a hard combination to overcome.  That's ok, because having no hiking partner does have its benefits, such as the ability to rock out to my favorite tunes on my Ipod.  The weather was sunny and beautiful, so I packed my gear in my saddlebags and hopped on the motorcycle for a ride to Manitou and a date with the Incline.

Parking was not easy to find, so I had to park down the hill a ways, then remove and stow my riding gear, and put on my camelbak to start my climb.  I put in my earbuds and started listening to my portable best friend.  Halfway through the first song on my playlist the battery went dead.  Not a good start.  Now I would only have the boring voice of myself to listen to for several hours.  Great.

The beginning isn't too steep.  That's the starting point at the bottom.
This is what's left to climb.

The town of Manitou is below.

As you go up, the trail gets steeper, and the number of guys with no shirts gets higher

As you continue higher, the view keeps getting better.  Assuming a really ugly person isn't following you.  I feel sorry for those people in front of me.

The Incline is based on what was once the tracks for a cog railway. 
This is the steepest section, with a grade of 68%, also
known as the point at which Thomas the train went from
"I think I can" to "Screw this".

It's best not to look back at this point, if you are prone to vertigo. Or if you're intoxicated.  Of course if you're drunk and you've made it this far, you deserve some kind of award.

The view from the top.  Not bad I must say.  I took this picture a couple hours later, on my way down, which is why it isn't as bright.  That's also why I was much more hungry, although you can't tell it from looking at the picture.

Once I conquered the Incline in a respectable 40 minutes, which was 12 minutes slower than my fastest time, but also less sweaty, it was on to Mt. Manitou, which I have never climbed before.

I soon found myself off the beaten path, as I followed the trail I had created on my GPS. 

Some Parts were easy.
Others were harder.    

Eventually Pikes Peak came into view.

Mt. Manitou, in all of its splendor.  Or, as the British would say it, in all of its splendour.  Either way, it's not quite as impressive as Pike's Peak.

Finally arriving at the top, I had my best friend, the rock, take my picture.  No, not Dwaye Johnson, The Rock, but a natural geological feature, the rock.  He didn't do a bad job.

The top afforded some nice views of The Garden of the Gods and Colorado Springs.

One last view of Pike's Peak before heading down. 

Overall, although a bit lonely it was an enjoyable hike, and I couldn't have asked for better weather.