Time for the main event
After about 45 minutes we reached a park bench at a flat overlook. There stood a plaque explaining Charles Kroger and his life's work.
"They put this up here so people know who the man was responsible for this," Dave said. "And it also gives us a nice little rest right before the main event."
Right past this little overlook, the trail really did disappear. The metal cord continued on, straight across a sheer cliff face dotted with metal rungs.
"You ready?" Dave asked. I couldn't see the end of the cliff face I was supposed to traverse, which meant I could be clinging to the side of this mountain for possibly the rest of my life. Or, maybe a mile. They might as well have been the same thing.
Again, Dave went first, and again, he made traversing metal rungs that stuck 6in out from a cliff look like walking to the refrigerator.
"Just put your feet on the rungs and step your way along," he said, sounding a little like Bob Ross telling me to paint happy trees. Everyone in Colorado seems to talk like this.
The first few were surprisingly simple. After about 50 yards, the two rows' rungs -- which are ostensibly put at hand and foot height -- suddenly squeezed in, just 2ft apart.
"You're going to have to scrunch up a little bit," Dave said as he folded himself in half and scurried across the rungs like a spider monkey. I was not so graceful.
Imagine doing a full squat, then having to hold that squat and side-step your way about 5 or 6ft to your left. But instead of a nice gym platform to support you there's only void. Yes, you're clipped into a cable, but that makes the thought of slipping off these metal rungs no less terrifying.
"Is this going to support all my weight?" I asked, like somehow I was the first dude over 200lbs to ever cross the via ferrata. Dave nodded, and I put both my feet on one rung, with both my hands gripping the rung above it. My ass literally hanging out over the side of the cliff. And as I squatted there, thighs and forearms burning, I realized the key to getting through this, or anything, was just to relax.
So calmly, I moved to the next rung, and then the next, and despite some difficulties with some of the longer stretches, I made it without slipping at all. Or soiling the abyss.