RT Length – 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1962’
The girls planned this event 8 months ago. The goal: to hike to the top of the Manitou Incline wearing onesies. Me, being their leader and knowing they weren’t referring to outfits they wore as infants, had to look up what onesies were (pajama-like costumes that are all one piece). This sounded fun to me so we worked on setting up a date. We settled on the first week in December because we thought the weather would be cooler, there’d be less people climbing, and because band and cheerleading would be over so more girls could attend. They all met at my house and we carpooled to the free shuttle lot. Side note: they all drive now, which is weird since I’ve known them all since they were 5.
I’ve never used the shuttle before but it sounded like fun to go with a group and it would save us $20 in parking fees so I was all onboard with this idea. Once the shuttle arrived we had to wait a while for it to take us to the incline (it only goes every 20 minutes) so we talked about our strategy and goals for the climb.
I’d shown them a video last week about hiking the incline and they were all excited to try it themselves.
When we finally arrived we walked up to the start of the incline (one of the harder parts of the hike, actually) and the girls put on their microspikes. I wasn’t 100% sure they were needed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and the troop owned enough pairs so everyone wore them. I took a selfie with the girls and we were off!
We started out at a moderate pace
But after the first 200 steps or so they all needed a break and two of them were having a hard time breathing. Not gonna lie, I got a little worried at this point. When I hike the Incline I don’t take breaks. Well, today we took a lot of breaks. And I mean a lot. Every 100 steps or so we stopped.
Soon the girls had tied the arms of the onesies around their waist (who’s idea was it to wear felt on this thing?) and we stopped at the Christmas Tree (the halfway point) for an extended rest.
We were glad we’d chosen to hike in December: Yes, the weather was cooler (this would not have been fun in onesies in the sun) and there were less people than normal.
And more resting…
But to be fair, their rests were short and they all kept going. One of my girls had her Tourettes start acting up and she had a hard time seeing due to the ticks but she never complained. They were all tired but no one wanted to quit. I’m proud of them for that! The microspikes ended up coming in handy after the bailout spot, when the trail got icy for a bit.
The girls stayed pretty much together, only being separated by a few feet or so for most of the hike, with Kimberly powering on ahead as we neared the summit. Finally, after an hour and a half of hiking, the girls made it to the summit!
Jules got out the Fun Dip and the girls rested for a bit while I got out the hot chocolate and apple cider. We ended up only having the apple cider though, as my fuel canister had run out and we didn’t have anything to heat the water (bummer!)
I took a selfie because hey, how many people hike the incline in costumes? Caroline did as well, I’m guessing for SnapChat
I tried to get them to continue on to Rocky Mountain but Emily had winterguard practice and everyone was hungry so it was time to gather our stuff and head back down. The Barr Trail down was much icier than the Incline route up and I was glad we had spikes. The girls realized just how important they were when one of Emily’s broke and she took it off. In less than a minute she slipped and fell on the ice, landing on her back. Hard. Ouch! But bless her, she took some ibuprofen and kept hiking. We made it back down to the shuttle at 1:45pm, making this a 4.5 mile hike with 1962’ of elevation gain in 3 hours.
We rode the bus back to our cars and drove to Fargo’s Pizza, where Breanna met up with us and we all chatted for a bit. It’s so cool watching these girls grow up! We discussed boys, school dances, cookie sales, homework, teachers, and a little about our upcoming trip to California.