Conquering The Incline

The Incline By: Taylor Hensel The Incline

Nestled in the mountains of the quiet town of Manitou Springs, Colorado is a 2,000 vertical foot beast known by locals as the Incline. What was once a cable car track used to carry pipelines up the mountain is now a fitness junkie’s dream trail. This man made track constructed of wood beams, rail road nails, and steel cables is no leisurely hike, in fact it’s the opposite.

On my drive in I spotted the Incline from the highway. At first I thought, “No, that can’t be it, there’s no way I should be able to see it from here.” Sure enough, as my GPS routed me to the base, the sheer size of the trail made me think that perhaps I was in over my head. I stood at the bottom of the path looking up. I felt determined and maybe a little intimidated. All I knew is that I was not leaving until I had conquered the Incline.

I started walking, and the vertical ascent began immediately. After I made it up around 50 steps, I could already feel the burn. My heart was racing and my legs felt heavy. As I took my first water break, two hikers sprinted, not jogged, but sprinted past me. They jetted up the trail, into the distance and out of sight. It was at this point when I started to question if I really was in over my head.

I have been an athlete my entire life and through my time playing I have learned to embrace the challenge of pushing my body and mind to their limits. As I stood watching the hikers race past me I realized that conquering the Incline would not be so much a physical battle but more of a mental one.

If I was going to achieve my goal of making it to the top, I had to come to terms with myself. I asked, “Is my body capable of making this climb?” The answer was, “Yes.” That meant that I needed to fully embrace what was ahead of me…the pain, the sweat, the exhaustion. Once I acknowledged the adversity that was to come, the slow going momentum of my hike thus far immediately changed.

It took me almost 2-hours making more than one stop to make it to the top of the monster that is the Manitou Spring’s Incline. Standing at the top I felt empowered and proud. I had just done something that I had never done before and I was that much stronger for it.

The mind is a powerful thing. In my life I have come to find that when you demand your mind to exude strength, your body will follow. If you are striving for excellence in anything including fitness, overcoming adversity is part of the recipe; in fact it’s the main ingredient. Progress and results come one day at a time, so keep telling yourself you can because… it’s the truth.



Taylor Hensel

Taylor grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado USA. From a young age she began playing soccer (football) and played into her university years. When her soccer career came to an end, Taylor continued her fitness journey by taking up yoga. Along with being an avid yogi, Taylor has her BA in Journalism. After spending a summer exploring Uganda her passion for travel, storytelling, and fitness reached a new high. Taylor finds purpose in bringing awareness to people and ideas that have gone unnoticed. Taylor is the founder of EchoBoom Project, a media organization dedicated to sharing inspirational stories through film, journalism, and photography.