On August 1, 2015 I had the honor of speaking at the all day Estes Park Genealogical Seminar. It was a beautiful drive to Estes Park via the Big Thompson Canyon. However I was reminded of this very
day 39 years ago. On July 31, 1976 all hell broke loose and this canyon was a living hell as it roared with the wild power of the Big Thompson River. Today it was a very pretty, lazy, calm river, but I wasn't fooled by that idlyllic scene. I remember well the horrific pictures in the newspapers and on the news. The final toll was 144 people dead. Some were never identified. This happened when the canyon was alive with tourists and campers and some were never reported missing so were not identified. Laurie and I had driven to Estes Park the previous Sunday as a nice outing. But it was raining that Sunday as well, and that was the problem, the soil was so saturated that by the following weekend, and a solid day of a rain that didn't move out, the river just couldn't be contained any longer and away it went. I was working at AMF Head Ski in Boulder and one of the men in our department called me that Sunday night and said he was not coming in the next day as he was heading up the canyon as a first responder. God bless the ones that rush to the rescue at these terrible times.
But today, 39 years later, it was a happier day, by far. I had an enjoyable day talking genealogy and meeting the nicest people. Around noon my friend Carol S arrived to do the afternoon classes. Mary S had orderd pizza for our lunch and we enjoyed visiting and of course, talking genealogy. The seminar was over about 3:15 and we all started for home. Estes Park was so busy I had a hard time getting on the highway to head home. The drive down the canyon was wonderful and seemed shorter than the trip driving up was. All in all, it was a wonderful day. Thank you Estes Park. Patj