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Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Colorado wildfires and flooding
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Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby dehrlich101 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:24 pm

Rocky Mountain National Park is closed to all recreational use until further notice due to the floods.

http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/flood_alert.htm
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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby SilverLynx » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:02 pm

I can't help but think these floods couldn't have happened at a worse time for tourism in Estes; the time of fall elk bugling is near and normally visitors flock to come see the event. Obviously the immediate needs of the town come first and foremost in the wake of this disaster, but I think of all the people that have to cancel their trip to EP to see the elk, at a time when the town could really use a boost. Sad for Estes. :( RMNP is always such a cool place to go in the fall.
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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby larkinrx2 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:11 pm

SilverLynx wrote:Obviously the immediate needs of the town come first and foremost in the wake of this disaster, but I think of all the people that have to cancel their trip to EP to see the elk, at a time when the town could really use a boost. Sad. :(


not only the elk but also the leaves

Hoping they are able to reopen up the roads so things can get fixed and back to normal quickly but 36 looks to be a mess. Wonder if they will try to keep TRR open longer this season to get supplies in?
What do you think I'm some kind of a jerk or something! - That's all I need the ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, and this magazine, and the chair and I don't need one other thing, except my dog.
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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby Kiefer » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:43 pm

larkinrx2 wrote:
SilverLynx wrote:Obviously the immediate needs of the town come first and foremost in the wake of this disaster, but I think of all the people that have to cancel their trip to EP to see the elk, at a time when the town could really use a boost. Sad. :(


not only the elk but also the leaves

Hoping they are able to reopen up the roads so things can get fixed and back to normal quickly but 36 looks to be a mess. Wonder if they will try to keep TRR open longer this season to get supplies in?


Nope. They'll keep TRR open only for as long as the weather allows. The supply trucks are using hwy. 7 instead. Safeway had 3 small trucks deliver supples earlier today and we had a Sysco truck make rounds
as well to several stops. Fuel however, we're still waiting on.

Funny thing about the elk. Earlier this afternoon, I was walking outside to the back of the hotel where I'm at to hop in the car to make a stop to Safeway, and I passed within 4 FEET of three cow elk!! They just kept on munching grass paying me no attention. I stopped, watched them & eventually pulled up some grass myself. This caused one of the elk to look up at me. I took a step forward and held out my hand.
The animal took the grass. Just like feeding a horse. I was absolutely in shock. There was a young buck and a full stag across the road paying me close attention though.
I walked over to my car and the stag started to bugle. Considering it started to drizzle, I have to tell you, that was absolutely magical. I'm still in awe.

This is going to hurt Estes profoundly. Not having tourists up here spending money to listen & see the elk or the leaves changing....it's going to change the town.
Walking around this morning down on the riverwalk, you wouldn't believe the mud and detritus that's piled up in the bushes, in the fountains...
But what really hurt, was earlier, I was talking & trying to coordinate with the Salvation Army for the evacuees for tomorrow morning in my conference center, and talking to one of the volunteers, a peditrician whom
I took a WFR course with, mentioned 'the old couple' in there (ballroom) lost their entire house and both cars. I kind of lost it earlier tonight here in the back office thinking of that old couple and the devestation I had seen earlier.

Tragedies come & go. Devastation happens, people are resiliant and always bounce back. But I have to tell you. Seeing this stuff on the television will NEVER prepare you for seeing it person and realizing the absolute grief and loss awaiting those who are affected by it. I don't think I'll ever get that image of that old couple sitting at the table sipping lemonade out of my head.
I'm sitting here typing this, drinking a beer, knowing I have a warm bed tonight....and I almost feel ashamed for it. :oops:

Things will get better of course but things will also be fundementally changed. Seasonal towns like Estes Park need the revenue that fall colours, fly fishing and bugeling elk bring. Moments like I had earlier, need to be shared with others to keep them coming to the mountains to experience [hopefully] the same.
Because I will say one thing...hate, jealously, anger, pride eventually die off. But good will, tidings, altruism and kindness have a tendency to perpetuate, far longer than any ill will.

I have 8 rooms rented out right now for CDOT employees (I was drinking with three of them earlier). I hope they get hwy 7 in better shape to allow people to come here and hopefully, get hwy. 36 open ahead of schedule. Hwy 34 is completely lost. Don't expect that to open till next year.

But even a small amount of fall revenue will help. Especially when there are so many small business owners up here dependent on that seasonal influx of money. Winters up here, as many of us know, are pretty quiet & dead.
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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby iholdthepain » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:35 am

DON'T FEED THE WILDLIFE!!! ](*,)

Kidding, of course... Oh, and Kiefer... Incredible account of your epic in the Sangre de Cristo range... just read it last night!

SilverLynx... My daughter and I were fortunate enough to see a herd of elk on the golf course by Discovery Lodge on the 10th... Big bull grazing alone right in front of us as we sat at a picnic table, eating our Subway sandwiches... We were there first, so we didn't move... Magical moment for us :-D

I first visited EP in the summer of '88, I was 12. My dad tells me stories of how all I wanted to do was hike, hike, hike. They had to slow me down, and eventually stop me from the madness. Instead, they bought me and my brothers rubber band guns to shoot the squirrels, keeping us occupied near the cabin, and buying us rides at the go kart place. All I really wanted to do was explore the mountains. Since then, the only place I ever dreamed of living was Colorado, near the Front Range, so I could continue the explorations I was stopped from doing as a kid. Fast forward to 2001, took my wife to places like Manitou, exploring the touristy options available around there, and seeing our first ever concert at Red Rocks (TooL)... The bug for the mountains had hit me again, but we were in no position to move here from our lives and families in TX. In 2K7, we took my 3 year old daughter up, took the cog the top of Pike's. She scared the s**t outta us, taking off over the boulders, scrambling like a future mountaineer! We returned several times to vacation in places like Morrison, Woodland Park, Idaho Springs, and in '10 stayed in a cabin at Meeker Park Lodge. Its namesake captivated my imagination from through the Viol-Inn window. On that trip, I returned to RMNP for the first time in 22 years, not even realizing THIS was the place that originally sparked my interest in the Front Range. I'll never forget seeing the alpenglow on the fin of Hallet from across Bear Lake, like it was the first time I had ever seen color. My wife's new 'happy place' became Dream Lake, and the nearly uncontrollable scrambling of my 6 year old daughter at the Alluvial Fan was another glimpse into a natural passion that mirrored my own . Above it all, like a mythical Greek Deity, was the incredible massif of Longs Peak! Since that time, we have been back every summer, and I've obsessed over that mountain. I've lived it vicariously, as a lurker through THIS website. I've read so many reports, studied each of the routes, and attempted a summit bid for the first time last year. Stopping at the Keyhole, I felt like there was no way I would ever fully satisfy my desire to explore the majesty of RMNP, or all the Front Range had to offer unless we lived here...

I badgered the wife each year, insisted we return to Estes, to Kind Coffee, to RMNP. Every year, she obliged, to the point of knowing I'd otherwise go alone. Still, I was never satisfied. I'd leave with goals not accomplished, depressed about going back to the sweltering scab known as Texas, and then THIS year it happened... Upon our 'annual' trip to EP, she told me we should move here, and sooner than later, for many reasons... among those, so we could get our daughter started in school, enjoy a better quality of life, and probably most of all to avoid another year of me moping around in my flatland hell hole, concocting an elaborate plan for next summer's trip back to the mountains. The wife also grew to love the Front Range, and although I always wanted to push myself further and further up the switchbacks, she was fine with a nice stroll around Lily Lake, or a day hike to Emerald. She also fell in love with the drive through the Big Thompson Canyon. It was a MUST-DO event, hopping in the car, throwing on a good CD, and cruising through... making the obligatory stops at the Cherry Shop, the Indian Village, and the Dam Store for jerky, of course!

Of course, this is how we found Loveland, or as I say, "Love-Land" ... and I'll never stop saying it this way, because I absolutely LOVE this land, and in the next few days, we will call it home :iluvu:

My daughter and I have been living in a hotel while she attends school up here. Nearly every afternoon, we have driven up the canyon, stopping at those shops, frequenting Kind and Lily, exploring new routes through Glen Haven and over Lumpy Ridge. Meanwhile, the wife has remained in TX, tying up loose ends with work and the house we're selling. We have yearned so much for the day to come when she can share these everyday journeys with us... to be with us... to begin this new life with us...

In those last few days, the 10th and 11th, as we wound our way back through the canyon, in the dark, in the pouring rain, I had no idea what was ahead... the tragedy of everything my daughter and I had just experienced... You're right, Kiefer, the pictures cannot do it justice... I can't look at the pictures, though... Not anymore. It's too unbelievable to have just been there and telling my wife how much we are looking forward to taking her up to every one of these places when she gets here... Her favorite drive up 34, every picnic stop off CR43, the quaint canyon villages and shops, Glen Haven, Estes Park, The Silver Moon, Kind Coffee (my own happy place)... I had just completed my first punch card the night before the flood!

Why am I telling you all this? Not because I want anyone to feel sorry for our plans. People's lives just got twisted inside-out up here... I'm just happy to be here... I guess I'm telling you this because I'm Goddamn proud of it, being here amongst some of the friendliest people I have ever met... Yes, there are a few knuckleheads, but they can be found in every community. But to see how this area has banded together to help one another through this tragedy is remarkable! My wife is headed up to finally be with us tomorrow, and we move into our home on Monday! Although we won't soon be able to share those escapes up the canyon together, I know we will one day... as for now, we want to establish our new lives here and give back to THIS area, which has given to us so many great memories and ignited the fire of a dream, way back in '88, that is finally coming true!

Get Well Soon, Front Range... we want to come play.
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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby susanjoypaul » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:36 am

Kiefer wrote:But what really hurt, was earlier, I was talking & trying to coordinate with the Salvation Army for the evacuees for tomorrow morning in my conference center, and talking to one of the volunteers, a pediatrician whom I took a WFR course with, mentioned 'the old couple' in there (ballroom) lost their entire house and both cars. I kind of lost it earlier tonight here in the back office thinking of that old couple and the devastation I had seen earlier.

Tragedies come & go. Devastation happens, people are resilient and always bounce back. But I have to tell you. Seeing this stuff on the television will NEVER prepare you for seeing it person and realizing the absolute grief and loss awaiting those who are affected by it. I don't think I'll ever get that image of that old couple sitting at the table sipping lemonade out of my head. I'm sitting here typing this, drinking a beer, knowing I have a warm bed tonight....and I almost feel ashamed for it. :oops:

Thank you for putting in words what a lot of us are feeling right now, Kiefer. I can't stop looking at the photos and videos of Estes Park, Boulder, Glen Haven... and feeling sick to my stomach that the geography of these places will never be the same. But it's the people... people who have lost everything and whose lives have been changed forever - that's so damned depressing. A house is not "just a house" when it provides the structure for your life, and it's enabled you to be comfortable, and secure, and self-sufficient.

This is going to be especially tough for older folks who may not have the means to recover, and parents who are used to providing a safe place for their children. As Moms and Dads, we do everything we can to keep our children happy, and not worried about grown-up problems, and then there's a fire, or a flood, or a lay-off, or something else beyond our control and their whole world is turned upside-down. It sucks. And yes, it's humbling for the rest of us. Surreal - because of the distance, the lack of immediacy that you have - but humbling just the same.

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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby San Juan Ron » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:08 am

I got a chance to spend a week hiking and riding my motorcycle in EP this past summer and the Devils Gulch/CR43/Big Thompson Canyon (34) loop was one of my favorite rides along with 36 (of course!) up to Trail Ridge Road and the Mary Lake/7/92 (Peak to Peak) to Nederland and beyond. Lots of great riding in addition to hiking. I sincerely hope the town bounces back quickly and I will have to make another trip next year! SJ Ron :)

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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby Mountainspirit » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:13 am

I first visited RMNP in June 1976. I was a month shy from turning 7 years old. We stayed at the Cascade Cottages near (I think) Fall River Road. I remember the abundance of wildlife, the snowstorm and getting pelted by snowballs thrown by my older brothers, the kindness of the locals, and the majesty of RMNP. At age 6, I fell in love with mountains. Two weeks later (back in Chicago), I heard there was a flood in RMNP (the Big Thompson breeched the dam and disaster and.tragedy resulted). I was too young to properly process the magnitude of that situation. But, the other night, as I watched coverage from the comfort of my warm home in Breck, I cried my eyes out. I cried not for me and the memories that were possibly being washed away (for that will never happen) - but I cried for all of you. You, who live & work there. You, who attend school there. You, who visit annually to absorb magnificent beauty. You, who is visiting for the first time and is awe struck.

Estes will bounce back and be better than ever! All of these devastated communities will. I will continue to bring my family back every year as we've gone to Estes every year we've lived here in Colorado (since 2006). I don't really have a point, other than professing my love and attachment to this gorgeous part of our state.

We'll be seeing you all real soon!
Stay strong and know you are loved!!

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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby MtnHub » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:01 am

Mountainspirit wrote:I first visited RMNP in June 1976. I was a month shy from turning 7 years old. We stayed at the Cascade Cottages near (I think) Fall River Road. I remember the abundance of wildlife, the snowstorm and getting pelted by snowballs thrown by my older brothers, the kindness of the locals, and the majesty of RMNP. At age 6, I fell in love with mountains. Two weeks later (back in Chicago), I heard there was a flood in RMNP (the Big Thompson breeched the dam and disaster and.tragedy resulted). I was too young to properly process the magnitude of that situation. But, the other night, as I watched coverage from the comfort of my warm home in Breck, I cried my eyes out. I cried not for me and the memories that were possibly being washed away (for that will never happen) - but I cried for all of you. You, who live & work there. You, who attend school there. You, who visit annually to absorb magnificent beauty. You, who is visiting for the first time and is awe struck.

Estes will bounce back and be better than ever! All of these devastated communities will. I will continue to bring my family back every year as we've gone to Estes every year we've lived here in Colorado (since 2006). I don't really have a point, other than professing my love and attachment to this gorgeous part of our state.

We'll be seeing you all real soon!
Stay strong and know you are loved!!


A lot of you won't remember this tragedy except by news articles, but my wife and I took one of our first vacations there a week after the dam broke in '76. We called our resort during that week to see if they even wanted anybody to come due to the problems, but they strongly encouraged us to come visit, saying their economy was dependent upon it. As Hwy 34 was completely washed out, we had to take Hwy 36 into town.

But the town and Park weren't as affected so much then as now since it was from the dam breaking and not just general flooding. It does break our hearts now to see it all on the news, but it's also nice to hear your first-hand report on it too, Kiefer. I plan to email our resort later today asking to reserve 5 nights for next summer if they will still be there and back to 'normal' by then. I LOVE that place and wish you all the best in the recovery. Wish there was something else we could do.

Right now as I write this, we are FINALLY getting some much-needed rain. We haven't had nary a drop since the beginning of June and the drought has really affected the area farming industry. Wish we could've had some of your overflow.

Blessings to you all!

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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby OmahaAdam » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:27 pm

Mountainspirit wrote:I first visited RMNP in June 1976.


My first trip was about 1987ish, I was maybe 8 or so. We climbed Twin Sisters and have been back many times since. Now it's come full circle as my kids had their first camping experience in the RMNP Moraine campground in 2007 when they were 5yrs old and 6mos old. Even just as recently as a few weeks ago we were visiting friends in Ft. Collins, up to the Stanley and traipsing around RMNP/Estes. Hard to think we now have a large collection of "before" pictures along Big Thompson.

In 2011 we had our own floods along the Missouri around Omaha. Some places still haven't bounced back, many older, rural residents choosing not to rebuild. An entire wildlife refuge north of the city was buried in feet of sand and sediment after the river receded. Most of the trees died. But many places have rebounded, rebuilt and thrived since. Estes will, too. We'll still be back every year to spend our dollars, enjoy RMNP and everything around it. Like Mountainspirit, I can't say I have much of a point aside from thoughts and support from afar. Lots of memories made, more to come.

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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby ECHiker » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:26 am

I'm heading to Colorado this Friday from NJ, I've been looking forward to this trip since the spring. The timing of this flooding couldn't be worse. I was definitely looking forward to going to Estes and RMNP. My house was flooded with 2ft of salt water and car whiped out by storm Sandy last fall, it's hard to see that kind of devastation happening in CO now. Im not sure whether to seek alternate areas for tourism, or volunteer for disaster relief.

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Re: Rocky Mountain NP Closed

Postby bohlsen » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:19 am

Kiefer wrote: The supply trucks are using hwy. 7 instead.


By Highway 7 do you just mean the portion that's part of the Peak to Peak Hwy? It looked like the section west of Lyons was completely wiped out and could be out of commission for quite some time. Are the supplies coming in from the PtoP via I-70? Just curious which roads aren't totally destroyed.
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