Hiking the High Line Canal from Mile 2-0-2 - Denver By Foot

High Line Canal –The Search for Mile Marker 0

The End Is the Beginning

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Sometimes the end isn’t the end. When the High Liners, a group of 7 adventure seekers walked into the final parking lot of the High Line Canal, we had scratched our heads. If we were at the end of the trail, why were we only at mile marker 2? Vowing to find an end to this mystery, we decided to re-convene in two weeks to find Mile Marker 1 and Mile Marker 0 of the High Line Canal. Backed by love and hugs from the High Line Canal Conservancy and Walk2Connect, we met once again to tackle High Line Canal Segment 12.

Mile Marker 1 Pops Up

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Parking in the Waterton Canyon parking lot, a few additional ramblers joined us for our jaunt up Waterton Canyon. Passing the sign for the Colorado Trail, 11 thrill seekers headed up the Canyon. First view, mule deer. Second view, mountain sheep. With fall colors all around us and a nippy breeze, we ambled up the maintenance road along Platte River. Soon the breeze stopped and 70 degrees shed our coats. And then, to our wonderful surprise, we see mile marker 1. Check mark!

The High Line Canal Makes Its Final Appearance

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We continued on a slight rise up the canyon, and began to notice a sluice to our left along the canyon. Ah-ha! The High Line Canal’s cemented pathway showed itself, and shortly later we found the tunnel into the mountain where the Canal stole itself away. Sensing our imminent arrival to the beginning of the High Line Canal, we continued quickly of the trail.

The Wizard of the High Line

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And like Dorothy arriving to the Wizard’s castle, the High Line Canal’s diversion dam rose from the water and into our hearts. Never before had any of us been so happy to see hardware! Straddling the Platte River, our eyes beheld the beginning of the Canal and the end of our walk. With water gushing out the open head gate, we continued around to the western side of the dam to witness how the dam worked. When the head gate is closed, the water backs up and diverts to the tunnel on the south side into the head of the High Line Canal.

We Are the Champions of #71miles

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One of the High Liners started signing, “We Are the Champions.” Another pulled out noise makers, and an instant party began. Smiles, high fives, and hugs championed our glee. But sadly, no Mile Marker 0 could be found. So we fashioned our own. Let’s just say blue chalk drew a big zero, and we celebrated our arrival to the makeshift Mile Marker 0. After 73 miles (where Segment 10 required a down-n-back, adding two extra miles), we had arrived at our #71miles goal, the beginning of the High Line Canal.

56 Folks in All Joined the Fun

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So with big thanks and gratitude to the six who walked the entire High Line Canal Trail and the fifty others who joined us on at least one segment along the way, our first iteration of a segmented walk down the High Line Canal had come to an end. Simple joy.

It’s Not Over

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And guess what? We’re going to do it again. Details forthcoming within the week, with a start date in early November. Who wants to join me for a winter’s amble on the High Line? Email me, post here, or tweet me at @eatwalklearn and I’ll send you the details. With special thanks to the High Line Conservancy and Walk2Connect, and the end of High Line Canal Segment 12, this trip is done 🙂


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