Thursday, August 29, 2019

--- Highline Canal: Summer ---

Monday the 9th, I hiked about 5 miles of the Highline Canal Trail from Iliff to Alameda. The sundial said 9:40 (I think).

                                                          [Newman Center Sundial]

Earlier this year, I took a much longer stretch of the Highline and decided to avoid any more long hikes during the summer. I'm literally getting too old for that, and I moved away from Alabama to get away from summer heat. I guess global warming is catching up with me.

This stretch of trail is flat out urban. There are urban greenways but I never felt "Wow! It's almost as if  were not in the middle of Denver!" There are some nice distant views of the mountains occasionally. It is pretty obvious that I was putting some distance between me and the Rockies from where I started at Waterton Canyon back in February.

                                                               [Rockies from Iliff]

                                                   [Highline Canal trailhead at Iliff]

This hike had a dual focus. In addition to seeing the trail in summer, I wanted to explore heat on the trail and the next blog will tell you what I found. The trail itself was predominantly green and a little dusty. Most of the flowering plants had gone to seed.

                                                       [The Highline Canal Trail]

The canal itself was dry, as I expected in the middle of summer.

                                                            [The Highline Canal]

Here's the first milepost I came to. The park below offered a much needed rest and toilet.

                                                                     [Milepost 46]

There were a few plants still blooming. Here is a favorite of mine, the prickly poppy. It is prickly, the leaves look like a prickly lettuce, but the blooms look like something else, only bearing a slight resemblance to a poppy.

                                                                [Prickly poppy]

Here's that trailhead at South Quebec. Don't park there overnight, cause the sign.....

                                                         [South Quebec Way Trailhead]

Most of the blooms were bindweed (they are forever), tiny white yarrows, and these golden asters.

                                                                  [Golden Asters]

This section carried me through the monumental (literally) Fairmount Cemetery. Fairmount has beautiful architecture and lots and lots of graves and mausoleums. Some famous people are buried there. Funerary architecture wasn't my focus then but I'll likely want to go back some day when I look at graveyards.

                                                            [Fairmount Cemetery]

Burdocks are the kind of plant that florists prefer when they are dead and dry and there was a considerable number on the Highline.

                                                                  [Line of burdocks]

Colorado, for some reason, doesn't like shade, but there were two of the many benches along this stretch of the Highline that was in the shade. Here's one.

                                                                 [Shady bench]

Despite the recent thinning of the goose population in Denver, there were geese out in Expo Park, which borders Alameda and has two lakes.

                                                        [Geese at Expo Park]

There was a snazzy looking grasshopper on the pavement.

                                                          [Two-striped grasshopper]

Expo Park is near milepost 50 and was my last stop on the Highline Canal. A bus stop was convenient so I took a bus down to the Alameda Station - I had some shopping to do at the Englewood Walmart - and took a train to Englewood Station. The fountains at the Art Walk were inviting, but I passed, wanting to be home at this point. After picking up a few items I took the light rail to University Station and a bus home.

You may or may not prefer urban trails to country hiking but all trails have their charm in every season. It's fun to compare the two - their wildlife and plants, their landscapes, geology, and the people that frequent them.

No comments: