Saturday, August 18, 2012

So Inclined

I'm sure you've heard on the news lately that Colorado is the fittest state. But I can tell you from my two years plus absence overseas, that it isn't quite as fit as it used to be. The newest Colorado obesity statistics range from 20% to a whopping 50%. Like most things, I'm inclined to believe that the truth lies somewhere in that gray area. And this is the fittest state?

There are a couple of unique things about Colorado Springs that may help sway the numbers in the state. The Air Force Academy and the Olympic Training Center. Oh, and let me just add a third. The incline. What the hell is the incline you ask? It's a mile long trail that starts at the base of Pike's Peak that consists of wooden ties that act like stairs. And the best part? It's at a 40% grade.

Ok, so it's not actually in the springs, but our neighbor to the west, Manitou Springs. Probably the most alluring part of hiking the incline is that it's illegal. Which would make it the most broken law in Manitou. Well, next to all the illegal pot selling. And smoking. But since neither of these are violent crimes, it makes for a very fit and peaceful town. Cause frankly, the population is too exhausted and munchy to do much else.

But now, the city is going to turn it into a real trail. And real trails come with real fees for a real paved parking lot. Real stinky port-a-potties. And lots of real rules to follow like no dog allowed. Really. And a real stupid sign that states the obvious like this is an extreme trail. And maybe even more obvious, if you have difficulty walking up a flight of stairs, do not hike the incline. This is like the legal disclaimer on disposable coffee cups that coffee is hot. Duh.

So even though the city is attempting to suck the illegal fun out of it, all the way to the bank, we're still going to hike it. At least until they start hiking up the entrance fee which is currently free.

In other cities you might have to go to a strip club to see half naked people sweating and panting heavily. Here you only have to climb 2744 steps. And if you act really, really fast it's even free. (Parking excluded of course.)

Photo courtesy of nameless, sweaty, shirtless guy with the tattoo on the incline.

All this exposed flesh makes it a great meat market. (And a great place to set up a shop that sells sunscreen and water. As Colorado has some of the highest rates of skin cancer.) So, if you're single and in the market, Which one of my friends is, this is the best barr this side of the Mississippi. I mean really, could it be scarier than meeting someone on the internet? And you already know if your potential date has a hairy back or not. How bonus is that? Especially if it's a woman.

The views are gorgeous too. And not just the sweaty bodies, but the aerial view of Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, I got so distracted gasping for the unclean air that was my own b.o. stank (I don't wear deodorant remember) and considering whether I wanted to just lay down and die or impale myself on an old rusty rebar (for a timelier death), I forgot to take a picture of it.

Now, you can take the stairs all the way up, or you can cheat and bail out at Bail Out Point half way up. Either way, you can cross over to Barr trail and have a 3 mile trail run (or half that) back down. I know that sounds easy. But you have to try to avoid wiping out on the small gravelly stones, big boulders, transverse the switch backs and avoid the rattle snakes and cougars. Well, really just the snakes. The only cougars on the trail that day were us.

And you know it's all over when the ambulance arrives. Thankfully, it wasn't for any of us cougars because we'd already made it down. But, I was about ready to pounce on the paramedic so we could get a ride back to the car we parked way down the hill to avoid the parking fee.


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I'm impressed that climbing that thing is fun for you (even if you want to lie down and die in the midst of it). Also I'm glad that you continue to tell truly funny stories now that you're home. said...

I'm still catching my breath!
Thanks for dragging me along for the ride.

The Loerzels said...

@ BOG Comedy is inexplicably linked to tragedy.
@Roy Sweet jesus, that's why I'm so exhausted cause I was giving you a piggyback!

Chantel said...

Perspective's all in how you look at it. (personally, I want to be behind the tall, good-looking fellow on that hike)

So strange how I met exotic you--and now you tell tales of Pike's Peak--which I could see plainly from my childhood bedroom window. I have strains of "it's a small world..." drifting through my mind.

Cheri said...

My gosh, how long does it take to climb that thing? You know, if you're *NOT* from the fittest state in the union? We vacationed in Colorado Springs once when I was a kid, and then I persuaded my husband to visit many years ago. Both times we drove up the peak, but who knew there was an actual trail? I might've actually tried it the first time I was there. The second included my child, 2yo at the time, IIRC, so such an attempt would've been out of the question. Maybe we'll plan another trip someday and see if we can at least make it to Bailout Point.

The Loerzels said...

Chantel- It IS a small world and I'm glad you're in mine!
Cheri-You know there are insane people here who try to climb all the peaks above 14,000 ft? I'm not one of them, but one of my friends in the picture is. Let me know if you're back this way and want to try it. I'm an expert at bailing out....

Sine said...

Ha, looks like that would make for good Kili training. Instead I paddled through the wilderness for three days. Not sure how that helps other than getting you prepared for the toilet situation. I really could have used those steps. Illegal or otherwise.

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