I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

Through Big Thompson Canyon

In June 1983, my husband and I visited Estes Park, Colorado.

angry waterWe were poor newlyweds and didn’t even own a camera at that point. The only pictures of that trip exist in our memories, and we both vividly remember the same thing.

Angry water.

I don’t know when I’ve seen angrier water.  The Big Thompson River taunted us, lapping at the road, threatening to eat us alive if we dared come too close.

We drove through the Big Thompson Canyon to get to Estes Park.  A wall of Rocky Mountain rock rose on one side of us. Big Thompson River roared on the other. The road was curved and narrow.

So many things about that day seemed incongruous.  The clear clean mountain air.  The angry water.  The beauty and ruggedness of the rocks and the rock faces. The angry water. The sky that seemed bluer than any New York sky. The angry water.

Once through the canyon, we drove through the little Estes Park to enter Rocky Mountain National Park.  There, as we drove on Trail Ridge Road, up through the mountains, on a road full of switchbacks, we saw walls of snow and ice.  It must have been a bad winter there.

Though it was June, there were walls of snow 12 to 15 feet high.  I thought of the Israelites passing through the walls of water when Moses parted the Red Sea. If I had been a child with Moses, I think I would have poked my finger into the wall, just to feel it;  I know I wanted to do that with these walls of snow.

In retrospect, we Northeasterners, had no appreciation of whether this was normal or unusual.  We would get snow in New York, but they had had SNOW in Colorado that winter.  At least in the mountains, it looked like they had.

We spent a glorious day enjoying the Rocky Mountain National Park, seeing moose, antelope, and elk, as well as the more ho-hum squirrels, rabbits, hawks, heron, and way too many Steller’s jays.

After eating a dinner in the village of Estes Park, we decided to head home.  There are only two ways out of Estes Park:  Big Thompson Canyon Road and the switchback-laden Trail Ridge Road.

We braved the Big Thompson Canyon again, angry water and all.

I remember that day so well, and it weighs on my heart this morning, with the people of Estes Park trapped and isolated by the flood waters that have now gobbled the road we had driven on so many years ago.  No cells, no phones, no way out but Trail Ridge Road.

Lord, have mercy.

Today’s Daily Prompt: Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind. My word was “through”.


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This entry was posted on September 14, 2013 by in Miscellaneous conversations and tagged , , .

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