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.)
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.