Took a day trip to Estes Park.
It truly was an experience. St. Malo's was truly like a scene out of a movie. The trees stacked up together and all twisted reminded me also of the devastation seen from Mt. St. Helens' eruption (on a much smaller scale, obviously). The Chapel on the Rock was very busy while I was there. So many people stopped along the road. Some were praying. Some were whispering softly, smiling as they stared at the Chapel. Others were taking photos like I was. Others were just silent, the looks on their faces solemn and yet their eyes lit as they saw the Chapel still standing. Some couldn't believe their eyes. But there was hope.
There was hope in Estes Park today as well. Elkhorn Avenue doesn't even look as though it suffered a flood, from first glance. Only the yellow papers of inspection and some dirt here and there, and perhaps some paint gone and some wood bent, even gave an idea that something had occurred. Other parts of Estes Park that I traveled through, however, showed more than that. Dirt and mud up to half a door. A roof support at a crazy angle. A park bench that was missing its legs against a tree as a river still roared higher than the normal just feet away. Bridges missing parts or twisted. A deck teetering precariously. Fallen trees and branches twisted into other trees, against buildings, along roads. Water still running down steeper roads, sidewalks and trails.
I heard residents tell others they were staying in a hotel; they were waiting for FEMA to come in and assess things. Several had their homes devastated. A son was keeping camp at the home to make sure no looters came in. Or they were waiting for a road to be fixed up. Or something. But even in all of these stories, there was hope. There were smiles. There was laughter in the simplest things. There was joy (especially as the Broncos played!). Even with all the worry, there was hope. There were residents who were so happy to see visitors. There were visitors who were all too happy to help their fellow state residents. There were even people from out of state gawping at everything but all too happy to give a smile and a nice word to anyone, and to help out any way they could. Random strangers asked others what they could do. Everyone was welcome; or rather, IS welcome.
There's a reason I love this state, and the towns, and all of the people. What I saw today in Estes Park and surrounding areas just reinforced that. Because in the end we're all just people, and a little hope goes a long way.