I traveled up the Big Thompson Canyon for the first time after the recent, and devastating flood. The road crews have done an amazing job, and opened the Highway 34 route last week, rebuilding a large section of the destroyed road. Although it is called a "temporary" road, it seems to be in very good shape, and is paved for the entire route.
The devastation in the canyon was difficult to see, and the loss to homes and property owners was immense, as you can see from some of these photos. The river bed has changed forever, as the river simply changed it's route where ever it pleased. We saw several bridges sitting alone in the canyon, with no water beneath them, as the river flowed several hundred feet away. Boulders and rocks are spread throughout the canyon, completed changing how it used to look. Smith Park, where our family has had picnics for many years is completely gone.
|Mountain Goats in the Canyon|
There are signs of hope. As mentioned, the roadway is mostly rebuilt, allowing access to the canyon so people can start the rebuilding process. The town of Estes Park was thriving, with businesses reopening, and some of the damage repaired. Reports from the DWR is that the trout count on the upper Big Thompson has soared since the flood, and I saw many fly anglers working the snowy river on the drive up. It will be like learning a new river when I fish it again, as many of the familar spots that I have fished in the past are only recognizable due to the mile marker on the road. I visited Kirk's Flyshop in Estes, met with the friendly staff, and purchased a few needed items. Although the purpose of this trip was not to fish, I will look forward to returning to these waters in the future.
|Big Thompson River in Downtown Estes Park|
I've reported on the recovery of the Poudre River since the same flood. While the Poudre suffered damage, the Big Thompson destruction was significantly worse. Although nature will take care of it's recovery, as evidenced by the fish count, my thoughts are with the people that will have to rebuild their homes.
|Kirk's Fly Shop|