Hiking the Incline in the winter?

If you've spent any amount of time in Colorado, you know that our weather is more than capable of changing in an instant.  If you haven't spent any time in Colorado, consider yourself warned!  That said, what can you do to prepare yourself to play outside, aka hike the Incline, during our 'chilly' season?  To start, there are a couple of facebook pages where people post pictures daily, if not hourly, to give you a rough idea of what to expect.  The facebook pages are:  The Manitou Incline, Everything's Better on the Incline! and our page at Incline Friends.

 

Traction?  What the heck is that?

If you've ever watched a cartoon character take off in a hurry, only to have his feet spin wildly beneath him, you've witnessed someone in need of traction.  DON'T BE THAT GUY!!!  There are many options, most of which can slip over the shoes you normally wear for running or hiking.  Some of the more popular options include microspikes, yaxtrax, and something called "screw shoes" (a new one for me).  Runner's world wrote a nice article covering such things.  Go check it out!!  http://www.runnersworld.com/trail-running-gear/gaining-traction 

Baby, it's cold outside!!!

It's been frigid all week, but it's supposed to be sunny and highs in the 30's today.  You've taken a look at the pictures of the Incline on facebook, packed your yaxtrax for the run down Barr Trail, but what should you wear?  It's cold, but you know you're going to get warm on the way up!  Layer, layer, layer.  Always best to err on the side of caution in these temps.  You can always take off a layer and attach it to your person should you get too hot, but if you get too cold, you could be putting yourself in serious danger!  After a few times of playing the layer game, you'll find the right combo that works for you. 

 

What about Barr Trail?

It's been nice and sunny out, the ice has melted off the Incline, so you're going to hike up, and have a nice easy run down, right?  Not so fast....  While the ice may have melted off the incline, please remember that it is largely exposed to the sun, allowing the intense Colorado sunshine to magically make the ice vanish.  Barr Trail, on the other hand, remains shadowed by the beautiful trees that line both sides of it.  These beauties, while a blessing in the summer, keep Barr quite icy in the winter.  Be prepared!

Safety first, Safety always!

You're all prepared now, with your traction and layers and desire to defeat those doggone stairs!!  What else might you need?  First, be sure to let someone know where you're going to be, and when you expect to be back.  Cell service is remarkably good on the Incline, but you never know...  Hydrate!!  Just because its like the arctic tundra out there doesn't mean that your body is not outputting crucial moisture in the form of sweat!  Let there be light!!!  Please be sure to have some sort of light source handy, other than your phone.  On more than one occasion, I have left expecting to be finished before dusk, only to encounter some sort of complication (taking too many pictures, etc) and needing to use my headlamp to get down safely. 

Last but not least, enjoy yourself!  Post pics on our facebook page and let us know how much you loved your trip!  See you out there!