Off the Beaten Path: Deer Mountain

The Rocky Mountain National Park rangers suggested a hike up Deer Mountain for our family.  They said it was a moderate hike and when we finished we would be able to say we had hiked to the summit of a mountain.  The kids were really excited by that idea, so we set out early in the morning to hike our mountain.

3.0 miles to the summit. Which makes this hike 6.0 miles total.  It starts out really flat and gentle and peaceful as you hike through a little bit of a valley.

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Then you head into the forest.  We had a strange encounter with a deer here.  This girl was acting really strange.  She was bucking around wildly and kept coming towards us rather than running away.  She also looked pretty mangey.  (We ended up reporting this to the rangers when we went back down, just in case.)

Once you get into the forest, you start going up pretty rapidly.  Switchbacks and stairs galore.  It was pretty steep going, and a little tough for those not used to the altitude or the workout.

But the views were worth it!  Here is looking back down toward where we started:

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And then you reach the top.  Nothing feels better than the success of knowing you just climbed a mountain!

And then you get to go back down, which is ten times easier!

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Once we got back down, we headed back to town for lunch with one more stop along the way.  We went back to the Ranger Station and turned in the special 100th Year Junior Ranger booklets the kids had finished and picked up their Centennial Jr. Ranger Badges.

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We had one more activity planned in Estes Park before leaving for the trip home.  A fun dinner show with my family.

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