People have died, hundreds more are unaccounted for and as it relates to me, all I can think of is the hundreds of miles I have ridden in the mountains West of Boulder which is at the epicenter of this week's disastrous rains. I can see all those houses and cabins tucked in the woods. By riding just a few miles outside of Boulder, it can feel like being a hundred miles away from anywhere. Right now it might as well be hundreds of miles away as the only way in is by air.
I've written several times about the city of Ward perched at the headwaters of the now raging Left Hand creek in Left Hand canyon. It's sixteen miles and 50 years northwest of Boulder and scattered in between are 100's of homes. This week, instead of cyclists invading the area, a squadron of helicopters have been rescuing more than 700 people. I can't even imagine how isolated so many must feel.
North or Ward, over the ridge, is the destroyed town of Jamestown. Further north just off the Peak to Peak highway, I think about one of my favorite places, a place I would love to have a little cabin, and that is in the burg of Riverside. To call the scattering of cabins lining middle St. Vrain Creek quaint is an understatement. I shutter to think of what that area must look like now. I then imagine the the little store downstream in Raymond and wonder what condition it is in. I see the owner who greets us cyclists and stocks a disproportionate amount of gatorade and cliff bars and can't help but think that the store is his life savings. Then of course just a bit downstream is the juncture into the St. Vrain river that roared for 12 miles into the town of Lyons and cut it off from civilization. Lyons is a sleepy version of Boulder and acts as the front range gateway to travelers heading to Rocky Mountain National Park and the now flooded city of Estes Park. All too sad. And I can see the area very clearly and feel bad for those who lost everything. I really don't even want to go up there and see. Someday I know I will ride those roads again, but I'm sure it will all look different.
To ride a bike, run or walk roads and trails puts them in your soul. You remember the tiniest things about them, they become part you forming an eternal bond. To know of the destruction, reaches me on a deeper level. Of course I feel bad for the residents but I just feel bad for the beauty that was washed away too. But I know that floods, rains and snows and any other natural disaster is a part of the cycle of life and I believe that new beauty will replace the old and everything will be ok.
I will let you know.....its raining as I write this....