After the Flood

Cheyenne Mountain with a blanket of clouds
It's been quite the week here in Colorado Springs. We got some rain on Tuesday, but really not that much. Wednesday was a little more, but intermittent and it didn't seem that heavy. I got out during on of the sunny parts of the day and did the classic Chutes-Gold Camp-Buckhorn-Jacks-Chutes rides. It had been a while since I'd done that loop straight out and after a rough start it was a really nice ride. And I beat the rain, so I was pretty happy. Little did we know what was coming... It rained all night Wednesday - at times light, but mostly heavy. There was a brief opening in the clouds Thursday morning when I went running, then the deluge continued. I rode inside during the only other sunny part of the day because I didn't know how long the sun would last and I didn't want to get into trouble on the trails. It keep raining all Thursday night, a torrential downpour that left creeks swollen and roads destroyed. All around the state, people were dealing with amounts of water we normally see in a year - not two days. Boulder and points north got hit very hard. Closer to home (two blocks away!) Cheyenne Creek was flooding into Cheyenne Road and everything west was drenched and washed out...
North Cheyenne "creek" Looks more like a river right now!
But how bad? That was the question. So Lonna, Melissa and I played rebel today and dodged Park Rangers and such to find out how bad things really were. We were expecting near total devastation on some of the local trails based on the photos that had come out. In some places, we were pleasantly surprised. In others? Well, it's gonna take a lot of manpower to fix one nights worth of damage. I don't know about all the trails - didn't get a chance to go any further up the Buckhorn and didn't get onto Columbine at all. That will be an adventure for when the water is a little lower. But here's some pictures from the adventure. It was a fun ride and hike - but a little disheartening knowing how much damage has been done.

Melissa and Lonna in a "smaller" rut on High Drive
I'm 5'4" and Lonna is over six feet... That's how deep this rut is!
Not the best photo, but usually that rock has just a trickle of water this time of year - Helen Hunt Falls
Only one spot on Buckhorn was bad - better then we thought!
View of Gold Camp Road - that doesn't look good...
And then we hit the bottom of Jacks - Portage or jump!
The new Jack's River - right down the middle of the trail!
Melissa fording the Jack's River
Well then, this was Gold Camp Road
There's a way around this hole in Gold Camp if you look closely...
It's sad looking at the damage. And for me, it's even sadder since I might have been one of the last people to get to ride that loop. Looking back, I'm happy I got to ride it hard, but I wish I'd been able to enjoy it more. We take what we have for granted so frequently. It's only when it gone do we realize how lucky we are. Walking out the door and having single track within ten minutes - with the ability to do rides of varying distances. A hard, steady climb up Gold Camp, finished with the steep mile that is Buckhorn. The reward - a flowing and fast descent down Jacks. All of that, permanently altered by water. A year's worth of rain in two days. Nearly impossible to fathom. And the damage done in those two days will take months if not years to repair. If ever...


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