High Line Canal from Miles 15-10 Highlands Ranch
We had a short way to go and short time to get there. Fortunately, the 88 degree sun began to set as the eight of us headed west into its sunset through Highlands Ranch along the High Line Canal Segment 9. Feeling the support of the High Line Canal Conservancy and Walk2Connect, we High Liners knew that we had 2 hours of walking but only 1 1/2 hours of daylight, so off we went.
Fly N By Ranch
We picked up the trail just west of mile marker 15, walked west just a bit, and made a quick rest stop at Fly N By Ranch. A few folks were fishing. We nibbled off an apple tree and reviewed the 110 years of history on this wonderful treasure now managed by South Metro. Here, the Trail turned southerly and we picked up some well-needed shade.
Is Everyone Walking?
Originally the Fly N by expanded beyond c470, but now a large senior citizen complex owns its southern section. We marveled at how big and how many buildings made up the complex including a giant skyway that crossed over the Canal and the Trail. A gorgeous tunnel goes under an intersection within the complex. We hope the residents of this facility are out using the Trail. Sadly, we only saw one other person on the Trail here this evening.
A Break Up or a Romance?
We continued along the Trail and meandered through the Highlands Ranch Golf Course. Two fathers were out with their teenage daughters playing golf enjoying some family time. We started to catch some scrumptious front range views as the foothills came closer. At one point, we decided to take a break at a bench. At the bench, we weren’t sure if we had found a very romantic moment or a broken-hearted moment. Surrounding the bench were hundreds of dried rose petals of various colors. We settled on the romantic side and made up stories of proposals and commitments.
After being in some of the prettiest parts of the Trail for a good 20 miles, starting in Cherry Hills, we emerged out of the visual love of vast landscapes, barns, and places. Crossing Santa Fe, which was sheer terror where no crossing exists, the industrial impact of Denver abutted the Trail. With train tracks on our left and right and concrete and gravel plants sandwiched in between, we still found interest in the area. The sun began to set, casting our beloved pinks all over Denver. We could even see the Denver skyline to the north.
Trains, Bridges, and the Dark of Night
Trains began to pass on to our right, carrying coal. With darkness just about to descend, we continued our journey, picking up our pace just a bit. By mile marker 11, it was dark. We had another mile to go, and a few of us pulled out head lamps. Finally, we arrived at mile marker 10. Just south of the mile marker is a foot bridge sorely in need of some loving care. Lit by our cell phones and flashlights, we crossed the bridge single file on its north side–where the best footings could be found–then crossed the train tracks, then arrived at our cars.
In the dark, we raised the number nine on our fingers and took our parting shot. Now in the single digits of mile markers, we are getting very excited for the end of this 71 mile journey. With High Line Canal Segment 9 in the books, next up we’ll be walking along Plum Creek. It should be a pretty walk; join us next Friday. Sign up here.