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Last night I tried to stay in a small hotel. The walls must have been made out of moth wings because I could hear the conversations next door going on all night. All I know is the people in that room definitely live a more…interesting…yeah…interesting…life than I do. Finally, at 11:30pm I decided to go find another hotel to get some sleep because I’m needed to get up early to hike the Manitou Incline today.

The Manitou Incline is EXTREMELY difficult. You start at the bottom and it is truly as close to straight up as you can get.

It’s like walking up 2000 feet of stairs.

Here is the incline from a distance:

The Manitou Incline from the street several miles away

And here is a shot from when I first started.

Manitou incline steps from the base with the pine trees on the side of the stairway-incline

My legs were burning like crazy. They hurt, everyone’s hurt. It was one of the toughest endurance challenges I have ever done.

David out of breath on Manitou Incline we multiple people in the background taking a break

It hurt so good, but the real accomplishment is making it to the top. The altitude really gets to you. I wish I would have taking a before selfie, because my skin is much whiter here after excerising and being at high enough altitude that oxygen in the atmosphere is considerably less accessible.

Here’s another picture when I had to take another break. Really, it got to the point that I would take about 10 steps and need another break to catch my breath. This was a painful exercise on my muscles and my lungs.

Then I finally made it to the top!…and I proceeded to take a 20 minute break because, damn, this was exhausting.

Selfie of David Dugger at the top of Manitou Incline Summit

After I took my break at the top, there was another solo hiker that I interacted with on the way down. I forgot her name already, but we had a great conversation about her desire to travel, her husband’s role in the Air Force, and how she loves to get out in the Mountains and just hike.

When we were done. She let me take a photo of her fitness tracker. The whole climb and descent was over 6 miles!

This was really empowering. I knew it was going to be extremely difficult, but I didn’t think it would be even more challenging than it was.

Now I’m dead tired, and 10 days away from Peru.