Hiking Manitou incline has become a ritual for me while visiting Colorado Springs. During my last visit, I hiked the incline twice. The first time it took me 1h30m and the second time it was 1h15m. I wanted to do it faster this time. (My previous Experiences - Round 1 and Round 2 )
It was a beautiful day on the 4th of March, almost 19 deg. Lot of people, had gathered to do this most challenging trek in the city. I had a bit of confusion with news about parking. Many websites mentioned that the parking price had been increased from $10 to $20. A free parking facility and shuttle service was available from Manitou town. While I reached there, I found out that the $10 parking still exists at the base of incline but Barr trail parking lot is $20 now. I did not know the shuttle timing so, I chose to park for a price. You could also park somewhere in town and walk, as a bit more of walking would not harm you anyways.
It is always an interesting sight at the incline. There are these regulars who run up and down the steps several times, there are the first timers cribbing about why they even thought of this idea and in between them are people like me who are slow and steady but committed to complete it in their own pace. Many underestimate the hike but this one is a real tough one. The inclination is 60 deg at times. In a mile it reaches a height of 2000 ft.
I was slow and steady and I never made any long stops. My continuous walk got me to the summit in 1h 05m. After two years from the previous trek, this was a great achievement for me. I felt motivated.
I spent some time at the summit and took the steps down till midway and then switched to Barr trail for a change in view. I had small conversations with people trekking up. Some where camping at pikes peak and some taking short treks on the trail.
I returned to the hotel after that exhilarating experience, ready to pack my bags and head back home next morning. Snehil and I met for dinner at BJ’s and then I returned to the hotel and retired for the day. Thanks to the hike, the last day at springs was very satisfying and I was all ready to return home.