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2013 Flood Aftermath


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#1 DrCloud

 
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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:18 AM

I’m starting this in a new thread, as the old one is getting long, and a thread for aftermath and recovery that’s focused on Estes Park seems appropriate. This post is rather long; I’ll try to keep updates shorter.

 

We returned yesterday from Santa Fe, where we’d been since leaving here on Tuesday morning. At that point, it had rained a bit on Monday and overnight, and it was drizzling here. Most of the drive south (down I-25) was gloomy; it started raining just north of Santa Fe again. While we were there it rained off and on – point being that this was a large-area regional weather event. Of course, while we were there, we began hearing all of the horror stories, both here and on the TV news. Our house is on a gentle hillside that’s well vegetated, so we weren’t worried about it (and that attitude was justified); naturally we were wondering about others.

 

Yesterday (Friday) we started back north in moderate rain on US285, which stays west of the mountains up to central Colorado. It rained, sometimes hard, into southern Colorado and then stayed mostly cloudy the rest of the way.

 

At Rocky’s west gate, we got a cheerful “Hi, folks, where you from?” from the Ranger; our response (“Estes Park”) changed his demeanor a bit. After we proved our residency, a conversation ensued and he let us through. TRR was mostly dry at that point and there’s zero damage all the way to Deer Ridge Junction. There, US34 (down through Horseshoe Park) was blocked off, so we headed down to Beaver Point, seeing no damage to there. We turned right onto Marys Lake Road, half expecting to see the bridge gone, but it was fine – dry, no mud on the road or anything. However, the Spruce Lake RV Park on the south side of the Big Thompson was closed and half under water.

 

Marys Lake Road is not quite fine, the west ditch being washed as deep as 5’ in some places, but its easily passable. The Marys Lake Campground is closed and empty; Peak View is also passable with some shoulder wash-outs. That’s all we’ve seen so far, as we didn’t go back out last night, having procured some groceries in Grand Lake. We’ll go downtown today (we get our mail by the Safeway) and I’ll update this later.

 

HPM posted this morning in the “Flooding” thread that the Peak-to-Peak Highway (which is a combination of State Roads 119, 72 & 7, from US6 in Clear Creek Canyon through Blackhawk and Nederland to Estes Park) was opened – we heard from neighbors last night that it had been washed out near Lily Lake and was the Colorado DOT highest priority. If that’s the case, kudos to them; now there’s east-side access to town. This is important because the Visitor Center folks on the west side told us yesterday that there were “caravans of tourists” being escorted over TRR to get them out of town before they eat all the food the residents need (we all know that tourists are like plagues of locusts in that regard). Having the Peak-to-Peak open means that re-supply trucks can get here relatively easily, and soon. (Our neighbors told us that, yesterday, about the only thing left in Safeway’s produce section was Brussel sprouts.)

 

Meanwhile, it appears that my comment in the Flooding thread about that Big Elk dam break was right: Meadow Lake up there is on the Little Thompson, and that would put its water down the piece of canyon just below the Big Elk Meadows Road and under the bridge just north of Pinewood Springs. Neighbors report that DOT people told them that the canyon in that section now has no evidence that a road ever existed there. That, combined with the damage in the Big Thompson Canyon, means that we’ll be using either TRR or the Peak-to-Peak to get in and out of here for quite a while. “Elk Fest”, I fear, is going to be something of a bust this year for the merchants. As beautiful as it is, the Peak-to-Peak is not very efficient, and getting to Boulder and Loveland is going to be a royal pain, as it’ll involve driving back north from Golden. Of course, it’ll also mean that we’ll be forced, forced I say, to look at all of the aspen over and over again when we do leave town, and I expect that part of the Town’s recovery plan will be to emphasize this as soon as it’s possible to accommodate visitors.

 

Meanwhile, if you had plans for a Fall visit, well, alternatives are worth considering. Rocky’s closed and the two roads are closed to all but residents and essential traffic. HPH

 

 


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#2 Aaron

 
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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:55 AM

One thing I'd recommend is for people who will eventually donate to disaster recovery efforts is that they donate to local groups where the money will go directly to local efforts and people. I'm skeptical of national groups and how much actually makes it to locals who need it and who the givers intend it for. Sent using Tapatalk 4
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#3 DrCloud

 
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Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:15 AM

A brief trip to the Safeway was interesting -- they got a delivery sometime yesterday, or maybe overnight, and restocking has begun. We were able to get more than Brussel sprouts. Whew!

 

Elkhorn through downtown is closed to traffic, and we saw a small lake about at the entrance to the Egg and I. The Big Thompson is running full through town, but there is not a river down Elkhorn now. And one of the pedestrian bridges to the Visitor Center is open (the other is closed), meaning that they're not overly worried about further river rise or debris at that bridge. We heard that lower Fish Creek Road is closed, so we didn't try to come home that way; South St. Vrain out to Carriage Hills is fine -- with somewhat deeper ditches most places.

 

And the Sun's out! HPH


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#4 goatboy

 
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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:02 PM

good point aaron, really watch what charities you donate to, so many scammers out there to make a buck it's sick !

as soon as someone finds a good one that helps directly please post on here. maybe we could as a group make a donation ?

I know theres lots of help here to be donated.

todd


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#5 John

 
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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:31 PM

I'm going to offer some reflections from my experience with the tornado that devastated our city and claimed 160 lives. The Red Cross primarily helped with emergency food and shelter. They focused on relief rather than recovery. I'm not knocking that, because we needed relief. They worked with the college and provided shelter for families until FEMA trailers (600+) were hauled in and set. But they didn't save a business from going under or rebuild homes.

Our church received several hundred thousand dollars. Our first step was to find the 105 families in our church whose homes were destroyed and give them a check for $1,000. That may sound like a lot, but it doesn't go very far if you are staying in a hotel or lost your apartment and everything in it and didn't have renter's insurance. Later our members in greatest need were given thousands of additional dollars to help them with house rebuilding or repair (many were grossly under-insured).

For the community, we set up Mission Joplin and gave away free clothing, household goods, furniture, appliances, etc. In the early days we had about 200 families a DAY coming through our facility and getting help, all funded by donations. Two years + later, all of the money that came in has gone to the people who needed it. We didn't use any donated funds for overhead, salaries, etc. It all went to those in need, either in the form of cash or goods. We feel really good about the thousands of families we've been able to help.

If you can find a church or not-for-profit organization doing that kind of work in Colorado, you can often get a charitable contribution credit. If you don't want or need that kind of credit for your income taxes, direct help is not a bad idea. We know who runs businesses in Estes Park and they are going to be hurting due to the lack of tourists. Some of them sell products we can buy online. Some of them would appreciate a check or gift card. Our experience was that some of the most needy families in our church were too proud to ask for help. But when we gave it, they often broke down in tears saying that they didn't know how they were going to make it and that our gift was an answer to prayer.

I'm not telling anyone what to do...follow your own heart on that. This is just my own experience for what it's worth. The need right now isn't for used clothing. A lot of families are going to need some cash to tide them over until they can get back to their property and start the process of rebuilding or relocating.
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#6 cardinal

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:42 AM

John, well said.  I appreciate the advice and will act on some of your thoughts.


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#7 DrCloud

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:49 AM

I've got a cell phone signal this morning (didn't late last night), so that's progress. Haven't tried to call out yet, though, so it could be only local service -- but if anyone is itching to try someone up here, it's worth a shot. HPH

 

Edit: Hmm. Maybe it's really not worth a shot; or maybe they'd rather you didn't. See this.


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#8 DrCloud

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:20 AM

There's a summary of status in the Estes Valley on the Trail Gazette site, here. HPH


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#9 Allie

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:22 AM

Wonderful thoughts, John, and I agree with Goatboy, as soon as a charity is set up for the folks in those areas only, I will gladly help out.


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#10 Allie

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:45 AM

I’m starting this in a new thread, as the old one is getting long, and a thread for aftermath and recovery that’s focused on Estes Park seems appropriate. This post is rather long; I’ll try to keep updates shorter.

 

We returned yesterday from Santa Fe, where we’d been since leaving here on Tuesday morning. At that point, it had rained a bit on Monday and overnight, and it was drizzling here. Most of the drive south (down I-25) was gloomy; it started raining just north of Santa Fe again. While we were there it rained off and on – point being that this was a large-area regional weather event. Of course, while we were there, we began hearing all of the horror stories, both here and on the TV news. Our house is on a gentle hillside that’s well vegetated, so we weren’t worried about it (and that attitude was justified); naturally we were wondering about others.

 

Yesterday (Friday) we started back north in moderate rain on US285, which stays west of the mountains up to central Colorado. It rained, sometimes hard, into southern Colorado and then stayed mostly cloudy the rest of the way.

 

At Rocky’s west gate, we got a cheerful “Hi, folks, where you from?” from the Ranger; our response (“Estes Park”) changed his demeanor a bit. After we proved our residency, a conversation ensued and he let us through. TRR was mostly dry at that point and there’s zero damage all the way to Deer Ridge Junction. There, US34 (down through Horseshoe Park) was blocked off, so we headed down to Beaver Point, seeing no damage to there. We turned right onto Marys Lake Road, half expecting to see the bridge gone, but it was fine – dry, no mud on the road or anything. However, the Spruce Lake RV Park on the south side of the Big Thompson was closed and half under water.

 

Marys Lake Road is not quite fine, the west ditch being washed as deep as 5’ in some places, but its easily passable. The Marys Lake Campground is closed and empty; Peak View is also passable with some shoulder wash-outs. That’s all we’ve seen so far, as we didn’t go back out last night, having procured some groceries in Grand Lake. We’ll go downtown today (we get our mail by the Safeway) and I’ll update this later.

 

HPM posted this morning in the “Flooding” thread that the Peak-to-Peak Highway (which is a combination of State Roads 119, 72 & 7, from US6 in Clear Creek Canyon through Blackhawk and Nederland to Estes Park) was opened – we heard from neighbors last night that it had been washed out near Lily Lake and was the Colorado DOT highest priority. If that’s the case, kudos to them; now there’s east-side access to town. This is important because the Visitor Center folks on the west side told us yesterday that there were “caravans of tourists” being escorted over TRR to get them out of town before they eat all the food the residents need (we all know that tourists are like plagues of locusts in that regard). Having the Peak-to-Peak open means that re-supply trucks can get here relatively easily, and soon. (Our neighbors told us that, yesterday, about the only thing left in Safeway’s produce section was Brussel sprouts.)

 

Meanwhile, it appears that my comment in the Flooding thread about that Big Elk dam break was right: Meadow Lake up there is on the Little Thompson, and that would put its water down the piece of canyon just below the Big Elk Meadows Road and under the bridge just north of Pinewood Springs. Neighbors report that DOT people told them that the canyon in that section now has no evidence that a road ever existed there. That, combined with the damage in the Big Thompson Canyon, means that we’ll be using either TRR or the Peak-to-Peak to get in and out of here for quite a while. “Elk Fest”, I fear, is going to be something of a bust this year for the merchants. As beautiful as it is, the Peak-to-Peak is not very efficient, and getting to Boulder and Loveland is going to be a royal pain, as it’ll involve driving back north from Golden. Of course, it’ll also mean that we’ll be forced, forced I say, to look at all of the aspen over and over again when we do leave town, and I expect that part of the Town’s recovery plan will be to emphasize this as soon as it’s possible to accommodate visitors.

 

Meanwhile, if you had plans for a Fall visit, well, alternatives are worth considering. Rocky’s closed and the two roads are closed to all but residents and essential traffic. HPH

 

 

 

You had a great post, Dr. Cloud, until your comment "we all know that tourist are like a plagues of locust".  Dr. Cloud, that was totally uncalled for.  I am a tourist, but feel as though Estes Park is my second home.  We all love Estes Park, and RMNP,  and I for one was hurt by your comment.


Edited by Allie, 15 September 2013 - 10:48 AM.

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#11 DrCloud

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:58 AM

 



You had a great post, Dr. Cloud, until your comment "we all know that tourist are like a plagues of locust".  Dr. Cloud, that was totally uncalled for.  I am a tourist, but feel as though Estes Park is my second home.  We all love Estes Park, and RMNP,  and I for one was hurt by your comment.

 

I'm sorry if you're offended by sarcastic humor -- but perhaps your sensitive nature can understand the need for us in this situation to employ humor to relieve some of the tension. HPH


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#12 Rhonda

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 11:36 AM

I agree with Allie.  We are trying to help our local EP friends here, and our hearts are broken for them and for our beloved town and park, so maybe tension should be relieved another way than by insulting us or any others who happen to supply EP with their main livelihood.  


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#13 Melanie

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:02 PM

I read your comment about tourist being like a plague of locusts. You are blessed enough to live there, we, however, love this place as our second home and make Estes Park and RMNP our yearly destination, and we pump a lot of money into their economy. I believe you owe all of us an apology. Shame on you.
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#14 DrCloud

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:08 PM

What part of "I'm sorry if you're offended" do you not understand?

 

If this is all stressful and sad for y'all in Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, and other points east, you can trust me when I say that whatever you're experiencing is nothing compared to what's going on here.

 

I'll be sure to be quite solemn in future commentary. HPH


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#15 Melanie

 
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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:10 PM

I am not going to get into a P match with you, but that was not an apology, it was sarcasm.

Edited by Melanie, 15 September 2013 - 12:12 PM.

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