#MountainStrong and #CommunityLove

Sunny Afternoon in Estes Park

Sunny Afternoon in Estes Park

Colorado has always been a special place to us.  Both of us have been coming here since our teens, and for those who don’t know, we met here in the late 90’s.  The real Brecker Bunny was even born in Boulder.  We go to Estes Park often for the Fire and Life Safety Educators Conference of the Rockies, visiting with safety heroes and planning the next steps Inspired By Family will take in the coming year.

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Big Thompson Canyon

While planning our trip to Colorado this year, we felt a little fearful for what we might see. We both anxiously watched the news this past summer and fall when the Front Range was flooding bringing so much destruction, devastation and loss.  As we drove up from Loveland on Highway 34, we were silent.  Though the highway was still familiar, the changed landscape and giant spray painted X’s on homes noting the search information was almost too much to take in.  Entire areas of landscape had been washed away.  Cars are still overturned on the side of the roads.  We quietly waited in single lane traffic through Big Thompson Canyon as construction workers are still working to make the roads safe again.

Fall River

Fall River

Strolling along the river downtown, random things can still be seen that you know came from someone’s backyard or business up river. A couple plastic chairs, a random bag and miscellaneous “junk” dot the river bank, but no one minds. You can tell the locals are working their tails off  to get their community back on track, you can just feel it.

Heading over to our favorite pub, Wapiti Pub and Grill, we listened to the general manager/ bartender’s excited and emotional first-hand experience of rebuilding not only the pub, but all of Estes.  He shook his head in amazement when just two and a half weeks ago, after seven months of rebuilding, he called all the former staff, asking if they wanted to come back. Ready to hear the word no, he said everyone showed up…everyone.

Grabbing a cup of coffee at our favorite spot, Kind Coffee, we asked the barista how it was going. She was enthusiastic and hopeful about the upcoming summer.  We just smiled as we looked at the line going out the door…Estes Park is on the mend.

We’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to help – even if it’s just buying a meal, a (great!) cup o’ joe and some treasured finds from the local artists. And this town has helped us…helped us remember we’re all in this together.

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