The Incline: Thoughts From a First-Timer


The Manitou Incline.  The legend.  Like the good Lord himself drew it into the side of the mountain. It is visible for miles and known around the world as a fitness challenge. It is nearly 2,800 steps and 2,000 feet of elevation in just under a mile of distance.

My husband tackled it right after we moved here, but it took me a couple of years to work up the courage. I’ve been exercising more since school started and decided it was time to bite the bullet. Once I get something in my head that I want to do, I can’t stop thinking about it until I make it happen. That’s how I got bangs, too, but I digress.

Here are my thoughts from my hike up the Incline:

Alrighty, I’m pumped.  Got my workout capris and tank.  Looking like I know what I’m doing.  

I want a donut…

Parking in Manitou sucks.  Why are there so many people here on a weekday morning?

I should’ve peed.

My only goal is to finish.  I don’t care how long it takes.

Don’t forget the quintessential selfie.  Oh, good.  I look happy to be here.

It’s 9:43.  Let’s go.

The weather really is perfect.  Not hot, not cold.  I love October.

That does NOT look safe.  Whose idea was it to hike up old railroad ties?  What an idiot. 

Now I have two goals:  finish, and don’t impale myself with rebar.

I can’t breathe.

I already need a break.  That’s embarrassing.  

Oh, good, other people are taking breaks.  I’m gonna beat THOSE people to the top.

Get up.  Move your butt.

Or, better, move your lungs.

Step.  Breathe.  Step.  Breathe.

It’s not working.  Did someone steal a lung when I was sleeping?  I’ve seen it in a movie.

Oooo, look at that view!  Almost worth it.

“Good Morning!”  No, it’s not.

“Good Morning!”  Shut up.

“Good Morning!”  Leave me alone.

“Good Morning!”  Put a shirt on.

There’s the bailout.  Don’t look it in the eye!  Don’t give in to the gravitational pull.

Keep your head down and your feet moving.

I’m so glad I wore comfortable underwear.

I also wore waterproof mascara.  Does that make me OCD that I actually decided to do that?  I don’t want mascara running down my sweaty face, but I want to look kinda put together.

I’m weird.

I’m dizzy.

Pull off.  Breathe.  It’s harder than it sounds.

Look how far I’ve gone!

Look how far I’ve got to go!

There’s supposed to be a false summit.  I don’t want to see it.

Gotta. Take. A. Longer. Break.

I’m such a pansy.

Ah, granola bar.  I will pretend you are a donut.

I got this now.  Refreshed.  Refueled.

Can I see the top?  Is it really the top?

This is steeper up here.

But I’m so close!

How come this thing isn’t nicknamed the “Stairway to Heaven”?  Surely I’m not the only one to come up with that.

If someone tells me I did it when “it was easier”, I’m totally going to smack them.

How the heck are people RUNNING down this thing?  I would face plant.  Repeatedly.  It would go viral.

I thought the website said no dogs?

GO!  GO!  You got this!

Wait, still can’t breathe…

Final push.  Look excited!

When I’m at home, I intentionally do chores in such a way to reduce the number of trips up and down the stairs.  That seems foolish right about now.

I wonder how many people have actually done this.

This is really pretty cool!  I’m part of an elite group, now right?!?

Almost there!

WOW, what a view!

I love this!  I’m absolutely doing it again and taking all my friends who’ve never gone.

Don’t ask me about my time.



  1. Definitely have had some of the same thoughts when I have done the incline. This was a great read first thing in the morning, thank you for a wonderful start to my day!

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