With this post, we’re starting to feature memorable moments in MTA history. Some will be from trips just finished and others could be from trips long since relegated to the history books but still remembered by MTA boys and leaders.
So with this new feature, I’m starting with an amazing feat accomplished by a group of boys this past July while out in the Colorado Rockies. This trip was our sixth or seventh out to this area and we’ve always admired the beauty of Pike’s Peak. And for the past few trips we’ve always seen this cleared path going straight up and partway to the top of that mountain. But that’s as far as we’ve gotten. This year leader Don Silleman did some research and found out it was now a foot trail called the Manitou Incline. He also found out it is one of the hardest uphill climbs anywhere and especially around in these parts of the Rockies.
The trail, while just at a mile long, goes what seems to be straight up. The facts are scary enough but thinking of hiking up it should scare off most would-be hikers. The trail gains over 2,000 feet in less than one mile with an average grade of 45% (about a 24 degree angle) and in some places the grade is as steep as 68% or nearly a 34 degree angle). The trail is the remains of a former narrow gauge funicular railway.
Don offered the challenge to the kids. He explained the difficulties, what they would need to pack, and explained they would have to be up by 5:30 in order to get onto the first shuttle. A bunch of boys seemed excited about the opportunity and the challenge including a few that we personally didn’t feel would be able to make the trip. Mr. Y even showed a couple of videos to some boys just so they knew what they would be faced with. We figured by the time they got to bed most would either forget about it or decide to sleep in the next morning.
What a shock when 15 boys excited, if not sleepily, made their way outside the motel that fateful morning to try the first-ever Manitou Incline attempt by MTA campers. And they made it. All of them! What an accomplishment that I’ll never forget and I wasn’t even on the trip. I’m sure this is a story these boys will be telling the rest of their lives.
Find out about this year’s opportunities at: www.MindStretchAdventures.com and become your own storyteller.