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.