Manitou Incline

I've lived in Colorado for 4-1/2 years. Until recently, I had yet to hike the Manitou Incline. I had heard stories about how intense it is and noticed how those who had completed it wore it like a badge of honor. Climbing 2,000 feet in elevation, I had been warned that, somewhere along the less than one mile path, I would curse my decision to take it on.

Last weekend, as I finally got around to making my way up the incline, it didn't surprise me that there were moments when I thought to myself how ridiculous of an idea this was. I wondered why Colorado had to be the state with residents that pride themselves on being so fit that it brought hundreds of people out to this trail on a Sunday afternoon. But these moments were few and far between.

Instead, I found that those moments were far outnumbered by the ones where it struck me how fortunate I am. I got to get away from the city (but not for too long), feel some muscles I haven't felt in awhile, and breathe in some fresh air in the presence of some good company. The experience was so symbolic of quite a few journeys in my life. I turned around about halfway up and saw how far I'd already come, realizing that I had high and low moments behind me and knowing there would be plenty of both before I got to the top. Just like all of those other journeys, I was reminded that turning around before I reached exactly where I was headed would never be an option for me. The 4-1/2 mile trail winding down to the start offered the chance to take some deep breathes and realize that the outcome was well worth what it took to get there.

Manitou Incline Facts
Distance: 0.88 miles
Location: Manitou Springs, Colorado
Elevation at highest point (peak): 8,590 feet
Elevation at lowest point (base): 6,500 feet
Number of steps on Manitou Incline: 2,744

The Manitou Incline gains 2,000 feet in elevation from start to finish. The average grade for the trail is 45 percent and, in some places, it is as steep as 68 percent.

The Manitou Incline was originally built as a cable car to carry materials to build pipelines on Pikes Peak.

Quinoa. More please.

quinoa

By now you're most likely aware of all of the reasons why quinoa is good for you. Quinoa was first consumed by the Incas three to four thousand years ago (give or take) and "was the gold of the Incas” because they believed it increased the stamina of their warriors. 

Quinoa is a good source of proteinfiberironcopper, thiamin and vitamin B6. It's also an excellent source of magnesiumphosphorusmanganese and folate.

Knowing the coming work week may require the stamina of a warrior, I whipped up this recipe for dinner tonight and it did not disappoint.

Vegetarian Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad (Gluten-free, Vegan if you skip the feta)

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth (go with the veggie broth if you want more flavor
  • half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, chopped 
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste (I used sea salt)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese (optional)

How to Make It

In a medium pot, cover the quinoa in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, scallions, garlic, fresh mint and fresh parsley.

Once the quinoa has mostly cooled (it can be warm still, but not hot) add the cooked quinoa, olive oil, lemon juice and salt, tossing gently to combine well. 

I found that is tasted yummier when I chilled it in the fridge for 15ish minutes before serving. A little hint of summertime flavor that tastes right any time of year.