Part 9 of An Attempt to Live a Normal Life – (Originally posted on my (then) ‘Homeless and Female’ blog in 2013).
On the 14th, the clouds lifted a little, we could see the tops of some peaks, and with the clearing skies, came the sound of helicopters, tons of them. Not a minute went by from dawn to dusk, when the sound of helicopters did not weigh on our ears. Rescues, and more rescues. Helicopters of every shape, size, and color. Hundreds of people were stranded on the sides of canyons, their homes washed away, or buried, or unsafe. The usually tiny rivers were too full to cross safely, and people were rescued by rope and helicopters. The sound of blades beating the mountain air went on continuously for days.
As Estes Park didn’t have access in or out other than helicopters, and one very windy, and partially eroded and flooded mountain road with a mud slide across it, it was left to defend for itself. A Red Cross station was set up, and run by towns folk, cots were gathered from anywhere they could find them. Food was donated as were clothes and such, some hotels opened their doors to those in need, some people took strangers into their homes, handing over their keys and telling them it was theirs for as long as they needed it. The community came together to help. As the flood waters receded, people pulled on boots and gloves, and started to help business owners clean the flood mud out of their stores.
Many homes that weren’t in a flood zone, or near a river suffered too. The rain had saturated the ground so much, that new springs had popped up all over the place, and an enormous amount of homes had water in their basements.
Sewage and water lines were washed away, and a huge portion of the town was told they could not flush their toilets. A map was drawn up of the No Flush Zone, and the few port-o-toilets that were available in town, were distributed around. Whole neighborhoods sharing just a couple of port-o-johns. There is one picture of a horse tied to such a toilet. I heard that the lines for the toilet could get quite long. The town set up a dump station for people to take their ‘buckets’ to empty them. This inconvenience actually went on for a couple of months, and once the temporary sewer lines were in place, you could practically hear the cheer echo off the surrounding mountains.
On September 14th I drove into town, and stood in front of my place of work. The river had flowed through it, and it was obvious that I was out of a job, at least for a while.
Some communications were getting back up. One internet company set up some free hot spots in town (many thanks) and people stood around with phones and laptops, texting or sending emails. Phone lines still weren’t up though. I sat in one coffee shop with my laptop checking the news (still nothing about Estes Park, Glen Haven and the like), and the gentleman next to me was sort of in shock. He had managed to come up from Glen Haven where his home had been washed clear away, along with everything he owned in the world, including his meds (which he needed badly). One man had cycled in from Pinewood Springs (a pretty good ride), to find out what was going on, and to send some work related emails out. They had no communications either.
It was a mess.
Okay, this is a long story, so I’m going to split this into two sections, I’ll send out part two in a day or so.
Until then, hanging in (just barely) and it’s now over 4-months after the flood.
Still in a home, but I’ve given my notice to vacate, Homeless Gal.
Originally written and posted in October 2013 on my (then) ‘Homeless and Female’ blog.
Looking back on the year 2013, The Year of the Floods, and enjoying a nomadic lifestyle all the more because of it,
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature