A bear was spotted today making its way down "Colorado's Craziest Hike," the Manitou Incline. I'm very jealous of this bear. Here's why.

The City of Manitou Springs posted the image earlier today on their official Facebook page. You'll notice there are not people around. There are two reasons for this:

  1. There's a bear on the trail
  2. The Incline has been closed for some time due to the current crisis

Normally, the Incline is shoulder-to-shoulder people. If you're not familiar with it, the Manitou Incline climbs 2,090 feet in just 9/10 of a mile. In comparison, the trail up Western Colorado's Mt. Garfield climbs 2,000 over a distance of 2 miles. It's hard to imagine a trail twice as steep as Mt. Garfield.

Here's why I'm bummed. Each year on my birthday I make the drive to Colorado Springs just to visit this hike. This last April 30 was my 50th birthday, and I found myself especially motivated to climb. Well, recent events began to unfold, and the trail was closed to the public. So, it seems Manitou Incline will have to wait.

So, why am I jealous of the bear? Well, for starters, it's getting to enjoy the trail. Secondly, while it's hard to tell from the photo precisely what point along the hike the bear is located, it seems as though the bear is doing far better than I would have. That hike is nuts!

Here's a look at one of the most wonderful things you'll ever see - the last few steps of the Manitou Incline. Do you hear that puffing and panting in the background. That's me.

So, when will the Incline reopen? According to KOAA.com, a very long-winded statement from Manitou Springs City Council suggests the Incline will remain closed until at least Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Come May 26, that bear is going to have company in the form of a 50-year-old balding jock from Grand Junction experiencing a whopper of a mid-life crisis. Since I can't begin to afford a shiny new sports car, it seems a visit to Manitou Incline is in order, with or without bear accompaniment. Note: Being ready to climb the Incline and being "in-shape" to climb the Incline are not necessarily synonymous.

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