If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Incline and Barr Camp

We had thought about trying some new trails up north a ways on Sunday, but decided with the great weather - and the prediction that it would be leaving town - we might rather enjoy the awesome day closer to home and leave the 3 hours in the car for another weekend.  So we pulled a random one from the hat and decided to hit the Manitou Incline and then head up to Barr Camp.  Some may be shocked by this, but in 20+ years living in the shadow of Pikes Peak, I have had never been to the iconic Barr Camp.  In fact, I have never been on the summit of Pikes Peak.  Kathleen has done both, but not me.  Of course, I have only been on one 14er period, as I have ear troubles that high, but I see this mountain every.day.of.the.year.  Given that it was forecast for sunny skies and 70 in town, what better day to see some new turf.
Manitou Incline looks so innocent from far away
Step and Repeat ... approaching the 68% grade and looking up to the false summit
Kathleen summits with Colorado Springs west side sprawling below

As was expected, the Incline was a freeway - lots and lots of 'traffic' to weave through, which is not easy on 3000 railroad ties going straight up.  I'll try not to rant, but there were a fair amount of inconsiderate folk out Sunday who did not want to move out of the way, which is very annoying.  This was the case coming back down Barr later in the route as well.  Let's be honest here - if you are going to be out on the Incline and/or Barr Trail on a weekend, there are going to be lots of folks out.  A good handful of them will be runners and fast hikers.  If you get your snuff ruffled by having to move aside for traffic to go through, probably not a good place for you.  Just a public service announcement....  Anywho, where was I???  So we made our way up the Incline, not pushing to quite our normal extent as we needed to have a good reserve for the continuing climb to Barr Camp.
Kathleen feeling invincible at the top of the Incline!!!
Shooting over the connector trail to Barr
Lots of stellar views of this rock on Sunday!
Happy Trails indeed - not too shabby for a photo backdrop!
Making our way up to Camp
Up here, the leaves were long gone...
Made it to Barr Camp

We hopped onto Barr Trail from the Incline connector and had just under 4 miles to the camp.  Along this section, there are a couple stretches which are the "flattest" parts of Barr Trail and made for some nice running.  It was shaping up to be a phenomenal day and we were soaking it in, taking tons of pictures, and enjoying the treat that it is to live in the place we call home!  It was probably in the low to mid 50's as we approached Barr Camp, but the intensity of the sun at 10,200' made it quite balmy.  We sat out on the deck for a bit, refueling and chatting with the gracious caretakers.  It was pretty sweet hanging out there and probably won't be the last visit to that deck on a sunny day .....  After fueling up and getting a short rest, it was time for some raging downhill.  Aside from several short climbs on the way down, you are looking at 6.5 miles of mostly decline heading back into Manitou Springs.   Hang on!
Sunny day and feeling good
Looking out from the W's across to the Garden - awesome!
Back down at the Cog Railway Depot - spectacular fall day!
Our 11.25 mile route - quite the gaudy first mile, eh?

The Incline shaves a bit of mileage off the round trip number, but who is really counting miles on this kind of run?  11.25 miles with accumulated gain and subsequent descent of 4100' made for some tired legs (and sore quads!!) by the time we were done.  It was a blast and we had some stellar weather to be out enjoying the lower part of the Pikes Peak Massif.  

Shoes - K Nike LunarFly Trail
S Brooks Cascadia

We were not done with our visit to Manitou Springs, however, as it was time to refuel at Coquette's Bistro & Bakery.  Check out these plates:
Kathleen went for the Fat Frenchie
And I had the Monte Cristo Crepe - plate was not full for long!
Manitou was hopping on this fantastic fall day
Monday, Kathleen enjoyed near record temps out on the road bike touring the hills above our neighborhoods.  She was once again treated to some awesome views on a 25 mile loop with overlooks such as this:
Not bad views for a Monday ride?
Great day for a walk in the park, too!!

Happy Trails!
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