Goal 145) Hike the Manitou Incline

From Wikipedia:

The base of the Incline sits at 6,600 feet and the trail climbs 2,000 feet in about 0.88 miles. Sections of the trail have exposed pipe from the days when the Incline was a hydroelectric utility system. Hiking the trail should not be undertaken by the physically unfit, as there is no vehicle access to the trail and anyone injured or suffering a medical emergency will have to walk or be carried down by other hikers.

This was a last minute decision.

I didn’t want to do it alone. I hate doing things alone.

I had just spent the last few days in Colorado Springs hanging out at the Garden of the Gods, climbing the red sandstone fin known as Montezuma’s Tower. That climb was easy physically but a bit nerve racking balancing on the edge of a rock that’s maybe a couple of feet wide with 100 foot drop on either side.

I was less intimidated doing that than I was by hiking straight up the side of a mountain. Aside from the fact that I’d be doing it alone, I had my doubts that I could even do it. I didn’t want to be the guy who quit 3/4 of the way to the top. At least if I didn’t do it, I could still claim I could. But if I tried and failed, well … I failed.

Fuckin’ ego.

It was down to the last minutes of the trip. Either I was going to do it or I wasn’t.

“It’s not even a mile.” I kept telling myself. Even if it was horrible, it would be over soon enough. I could tough it out for a mile.

I cranked my music and started hiking.

It didn’t take long before I realized just how difficult it would actually be. I thought I was in pretty good shape but I felt like my lungs were on fire. Maybe you’ve had the feeling before, where your heart hurts and your lungs burn. It’s shit.

But I kept on going until I reached the bailout point. I stopped to take a break, looking up, looking down and then looking at the trail to the bottom. Nope. I wasn’t going to quit. Not now. Even if I had to crawl the last 100 yards to the top, I would reach the top.

I might have crawled a little but I finally made it to the top. I sat there for a few minutes feeling satisfied with myself. There really isn’t a lot of glory in doing these kinds of things. Or, if there is, it isn’t long lasting. Which is okay. I’d done what I set out to do and I could go home with my pride in tact.

And now that I’ve done it once, I’ll probably do it every time I’m out that way. It just seems like the logical thing to do. I don’t have any rituals so maybe this is one I could start.

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✓ Goal #147) Stand at the Center of Stonehenge

Something about Stonehenge has always captured my imagination.

When I added this goal to my list, like most of my goals, I didn’t want to just go and look … I wanted to immerse myself in the experience. I wanted to stand inside the stones and be surrounded by them.

Last month I went to England and took a tour of Stonehenge. Our bus arrived early in the morning before the crowds of tourists and we split into two groups. I waited to join the second group.

I poked around the gift shop for a while and then went outside to marvel at the stones in the distance, peaking through the morning mist. Once our group was allowed to enter, I walked through the center, took some photos and then walked around the edge holding hands with my girlfriend.

It was smaller than I’d expected but still impressive. One of the guards took us aside to show us how some of the stones had been repaired and others where people had carved their names.

As the people from our group began filtering out of the stones, I had one last thing I needed to do. I walked around to the edge of the circle and knelt down in front of my girlfriend to propose.

She said “Yes.”

We lingered a while longer as the rest of the crowd left and for a few moment it was just us and the security guards.

This Article Won’t Change Your Life

This website won’t change your life. That self-help book on the nightstand next to your bed isn’t going to do it either. Not a single word you read has the power to make any difference in your life. That quote from Gandhi changes nothing.

This article isn’t going to change your life. It might be the most inspiring thing you’ve read all day but it isn’t going to do you a damn bit of good.

The truth I hope you’ll realize by the end of this article is that reading it hasn’t changed anything.

It hasn’t changed anything not because the knowledge contained in the words isn’t valuable, or that the lesson taught isn’t sound. But if you quit reading this article right now, you aren’t going to miss out on anything that is going to change your life.

If you’re trying to change your life, you’re at the wrong place doing the wrong thing. If you’re searching for some insight, the answers to your problems might be contained within the pages of a book or blog, but even if you do find the solution, it isn’t going to do you any good.

It isn’t going to solve anything.

Having the answer isn’t the solution. Gaining knowledge may make you wiser, but it doesn’t matter how smart you become. Despite all the information you consume, unless you incorporate that knowledge into your life, it’s served you no purpose.

You can only change your life by taking action; by making decisions and following through. You have to commit to more than the desire for change, but to change itself. Improving your life cannot be done without action. A book can’t act for you. The most inspiring quote you’ve ever read isn’t going to make anything different.

 “Action expresses priorities.” ~ Gandhi

No. That’s up to you.

If you want to change your life, quit reading this and change your life.