On September 12th, I noticed a Facebook post from our wonderful trim carpenter about nonstop rain for the previous four days and wondered what our little tiny creek behind the house was looking like as a result. Then I received a video from our next door neighbors that showed the creek was definitely UP. The next email we got was from another neighbor reporting that things were getting really bad and soon afterwards he followed with some photos and video and also reported that the neighbor next to him had lost the back half of their house. We were stunned. That tiny little 2-foot creek behind our house had become a 50 foot wide river and it had completely changed course, knocking out sections of the road, sewer, water and electricity and flooding homes upstream. The two neighbors who were in their homes at the time were told to evacuate over Trail Ridge Road (Highways 34 and 36 from Loveland and Boulder were too damaged) and expect not to return for at least 8 weeks. (It turned out to be 7, thanks to amazing effort by the Town of Estes Park).
The Town of Estes Park Facebook Page started posting lots of information and updates, EP News and Trail Gazette FB pages became more active, and even the Upper Thompson Sanitation District (sewer) was instructed to get a Facebook Page up. (If you look at their Facebook Page, you can see it was instituted on September 13th, 2013… very poignant.) Someone in the marketing or public relations department in the Town of Estes Park should get an award of some kind for the impressive way they keep information flowing (and still do).
As of this writing, the sewer line repair is complete, water has been turned back on and we are out of the “No Flush Zone”! Our wonderful housekeeper, a neighbor and our stellar real estate agent have all been in the house and all report they couldn’t see any damage. We started hearing early on that our lower level had not been breached, but with that much soggy ground we were a little concerned about the foundation and are greatly relieved to hear it appears to be okay.
The photos below were taken by friends who were there at the time of the flood or have been there since. We will return to the house ourselves to celebrate parents’ significant birthdays (80 and 85!!) and Thanksgiving, which will be heartfelt this year. Considering how much damage was sustained in the area, we are truly grateful the house appears to be fine.