Washed Out

Here comes another one, here it comes again.

About this time last week I was faced with a decision: prepare to head out for my weekly visit to the LittleSpec writing group, or believe the forecasters and stay home to prep for potential flooding. I chose the latter and at the time I experienced a few pangs of regret. Fourmile Creek, directly behind our townhouse, was flooding while I prepared dinner with drizzle wafting down from the heavens, but that only meant it had become a ditch compared to its usual summer trickle.

Topaz, just a little west of us.

However, by about 22:00 that night, my trust in those brave men of science (responsible for forecasting weather) was affirmed. The water had completely covered the bike path that is situated between the creek and the flood wall just beyond our back patio and was continuing to rise rapidly.

It was the late walk for the dogs and as soon as the door was open I realized the difference. The rain no longer fell like a gray mist. Instead, it poured from the sky like there was a pressure pump pushing from behind. The creek roared like a line of jets waiting for clearance on a runway. And I had to put leashes on both the dogs to get them to go outside. If you have ever met my girls you might understand that this is not normal behavior.

Keeping it real during a lull along Fourmile Creek.

From that point on I felt compelled to stand vigil over my house and family. I think what bothers me most about this is the certain knowledge that had the water come over the flood wall I would have been equally powerless in dealing with it; the vigil was totally self serving and completely useless.

During the down time we lost power briefly a couple of times. I turned it off every time I heard that there was a “wall of water” headed down the drainage. Ootek was packed and ready to leave in the moment we realized that sheltering in place might not be a good idea. Throughout I slept only fitfully, with the window cracked and the sound of torrential rains and First Responder sirens blaring throughout the night.

Boulder Creek sort of passing beneath Broadway. This is a lull in flow.

The good news is that some writing got done. Lots of cleaning and plenty of playtime was had. We tried to watch out for our neighbors too, and hopefully in the process improved our relationship with the people who live closest to us.

Right now, there is a storm system moving in from the west (different direction than the systems that have constantly hit us for the past week). I’m listening to the sound of rat fans running across the street as people try to dry out their houses. That and the sound of thunder whipcracking the Flat Irons.

Scouting by Fat-Bike up stream from the house. This bridge was pretty much all that remained from this intersection of bike path, street and civic improvements. I had to turn around and try another way.

We got so lucky this last week, I’m not even sure I will ever fully realize the scale of our fortune. We are seemingly located on an island in a flood plain. So my message at this point is to count your blessings wherever you may find them.

Landslides in the foothills click to see a close up

Just so the offer is made crystal clear: I also know that we have been lucky compared to friends and family nearby. If you need help I have tools, a strong back, a good set of work boots and gloves, and an awesome truck. Please let me know when and where.

National Guard Chinook bringing survivors in from Lyons, CO.

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