Thursday, July 18, 2013

what goes up

For Comic Con weekend, we stayed in a hotel near the convention center (Comic Con package deal).  It had, I think, forty stories.

That Sunday morning, I got up a bit early and put on some shorts and a t-shirt.  Chaco asked, from his heap on the bed, if I was going to the hotel fitness center.

I'm not really much of a gym girl, and for some reason, I find hotel fitness centers kind of depressing.  I dunno, the strangers in there just have a "lonely traveler" feel about them.  So no, I wasn't headed for the fitness center.

"I'm going to do 'The Incline'", I told him.

"Ahh", he acknowledged, knowing what I was referring to.

I hit the 40-story stairwell.  It was strangely fun, going down it, then up to the top, then back down a few stories.  Before heading back to our room, I did happen to stop by the fitness center just to see the lonely travelers.  Chaco had decided to do "The Incline" too, and then swung by the fitness center shortly after I did.  That's where he bumped into George Takei.  I missed him by that much.  Figures.

ANYWAY, The Incline I'd made reference to is The Manitou Incline - a local hiking attraction.  It's a series of railroad ties that remain from a former railway going up the side of Pikes Peak.  It's just under one mile long and gains over 2000 feet in elevation.

It actually closed to the public in 1990, but nobody really paid much attention to the fact that it was "illegal" to hike it.  Earlier this year, it was converted back to public access.  Criminal climbers no more.

It's extremely popular with outdoor and fitness enthusiasts - both of the visiting and local variety.  Visitors just "hafta" do it, since they're here.  Locals regularly climb it, often trying to get a new PR each time.  Many just like doing it noncompetetively with friends, as a sort of bonding experience.  I suppose that's a better bonding activity than getting drunk and holding each other's hair.

We've lived here for about ten years.  I've never done it.  Just never had the inclination *snort*.  Wolfgang's done it a couple of times with friends and has described it much like I imagine.

"You just keep going up a bunch of stairs, and when you think you're at the top, there's more stairs".
Coming down is a much less steep, but longer, hiking trail.

Lately, The Incline seems to be calling to me.  Getting my haircut last week, a guy in the chair next to me related his setting a new Incline PR that morning.  A student told me of doing it for the first time this summer.  While buying vitamins a few days ago, the cashier remarked that she should get back to taking her vitamins again, how she was better with taking vitamins when she does The Incline regularly.

Then this morning, a friend of mine shared this photo from an Incline hike yesterday.


Even the bears apparently know something I don't.  I might just hafta.


Anonymous said...

oooh! Wait for me!
Ok. You don't have to wait, but I wanna do it too! Still tryin to talk Amp into visiting a campus, ANY campus, so I have a reason to return. And then I'll have to talk him into The Incline! It looks cool - bears and all!

Abby said...

Come on over, it's suddenly looking fun to me! Tell Amp it's "Bear College" or "Railroad Tie University". I'll bring the bear spray!

lotta joy said...

Riding an elevator exhausts me.

Guano said...

Looks challenging -- 'specially where there's NO AIR! And I prefer the hotel stairs to the gym, too; but man, those stairwells could use some brightening up! Nothin' but concrete & echoes....

I had a favorite abandoned inclined railway where we use to live it was a 1.5 miler with a 1200ft elev gain. Spectacular 360deg view at the top. Talk about "Inspiration Point".....

Abby said...

Yeah, those hotel stairways. Remind me of college.
I'd like to hit it early morning. I'm sure the views are inspiring, not to mention the lightning strikes are usually absent.

Abby said...

Maybe you could do it with a bear chasing? Or no. Show him your gun.

Riot Kitty said...

My dad and brother are at Comic Con at the moment. Not enjoying crowds, I think I'd rather be out with the bear.

Betty said...

That looks like a great hike! If I ever get to go I hope I see a bear too! I'd definitely go next chance you get. Sorry you missed Takei.

Abby said...

Comic Cons do get crowded, but I've found the attendees to be a friendly group. Still, you can only rub up against strangers for so long before it gets old. Bear hugs are nice... except for teeth and claws.

Abby said...

Until now, I've never seen the point of walking up a mile of stairs. Now it's starting to look like fun, although I still don't really see the point.

Marcy said...

Yeah, you hafta! I'm a sucker for anything like that when I travel, and if you're a local, I would say you need to do it. We rode bikes down Pikes Peak, though, one time, and I was out of breath from the altitude. From riding DOWN!

agg79 said...

That's one wicked looking set of stairs. I'd be interested in doing the incline as well but, since I'm a flatlander from way down on the coast a couple of thousand feet below you, I'd probably die making the climb.

terri said...

I will do it when they install one of those chairs that rides up stairways!


Okay, it might be fun to actually climb it.

Anita said...

I never thought about walking the stairs at hotels for exercise. I take them sometimes, but toward a destination.
Headed to a hotel right now, but it only has 5 floors. Still... Why not?
The Incline reminds me of a park in Virginia Beach called Mt. Trashmore. A previous garbage dump now covered with grass and stairs built to walk up, though a run up the grass is a challenge. Hardly a mile high though.