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We had a reservation at an Airbnb in Denver for that night but check in was not until the afternoon so we had plenty of time to kill. We decided to take our time driving through Rocky Mountain State Park and do a few hikes along the way.
Once we got to the park, we got a map and a few suggestions from the ranger at the visitor center. We decided on three different hikes, one to hopefully see wildlife, one historic site, and one lake trail. We figured that would give us plenty of variety and still let us make our reservation in good time.
The first hike, Coyote Valley Trail, was really beautiful with some nice water views We met a young aspiring photographer who gave us some tips on using Instagram. Our next hike brought us to Holzwarth Historic Site- Never Summer Ranch. It had been a working dude ranch up until the 1970’s. The original owner had been a taxidermist so there were animal heads everywhere, and a footstool with legs that were actual deer legs, hooves and all. Yikes! The kitchen still had the old fashioned stove and our tour guide told us a similar one was posted on eBay for over $80,000 dollars! The tour took about 30 minutes and was full of interesting history about the area and the owners. Our last stop was a very short hike to Lake Irene. This one was a bit anticlimactic as it was nothing special so we headed back to the car quickly.
The drive out of the park towards Denver took quite a while between a stop to view a herd of elk and heavy traffic in some areas. The park gets a very large number of visitors in the summer as so much of the park is not accessible in the winter due to heavy snow.
Once we made our way through the very crowded Estes Park area, it was smooth sailing to our Airbnb in Denver. We had a very nice room with a separate entrance and private bathroom. The hosts were very nice and we had access to the kitchen and laundry facilities. It was a steal at $45 a night!
Mexican takeout for dinner and a very comfortable bed made a pleasant end to an already lovely day.