It was by far the most strenuous hike I've ever done. Even more so than climbing Pikes Peak. Okay, not really but it's close.
For those of you who aren't familiar with this legendary trail, it's a one mile hike with a 2000 foot elevation gain straight up the base of Mount Manitou. The grade is 41% for most of the climb, but there is one super steep part that has a 68% grade. Crazy. The Incline is actually the old railbed for the Scenic Incline Railway, hence the railroad tie "steps", and even though it's a heavily populated trail, it's privately-owned land so hikers are technically trespassing when they're on the Incline. Oops.
It was a really beautiful day to hike. It was sunny and cool. I didn't need my fleece on the way up, but I definitely needed it on the hike back down.
I took the above pic from Barr Trail. There were some patches of golden aspen that really stood out against the evergreens. So pretty.
The Incline connects to Barr Trail (the trail that leads to the summit of Pikes Peak) and that's the recommended path back down. We saw some people walking and even running back down the Incline. Amazing. Lots of people were running up it too. I canNOT imagine.
Heather and I climbed at a slow, steady pace and still had to stop often to catch our breath. I felt really, really nauseous at one point too, but it seemed like it got easier after we got past the really steep part. A little past the half-way mark there is a bailout point where you can cut over and connect with the trail back down. We had considered bailing but we were feeling better at that point and we both just wanted to finish and savor the feeling of accomplishment! Considering that three months ago I could barely walk without pain/limping because of my leg/hip injury, I'd say it's a big accomplishment!
Would I do it again? Absolutely! But first my glutes need to recover. That's the only place I'm really sore, but man oh man, I am VERY sore!
Here are some interesting links about the Manitou Incline and it's history. I love all the old pictures, and these more recent ones as well!