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Glen Haven-The Long Journey Back, Part 1

Since the late 1890s the village now known has Glen Haven has existed in the valley known as Devil’s Gulch. Both locals and visitors have traveled through this picturesque valley, stopping in at the General Store to savor a homemade cinnamon roll, or enjoy the European cuisine at the “Inn,” or shop at one of the eclectic stores that lined the main road through town. But on 9/12/13 all of that changed. As the constant rain of five days rolled down the mountains and swelled Fox Creek, North Fork, Pine Brook, and West Creek, the force and magnitude of this disaster swept away ten buildings in two blocks and destroyed almost five miles of roads to the homes of its 400 residents. The destruction is everywhere… and as the locals gaze at the monumental task of restoring their lives and their town, the challenge still seems impossible three months later.

Last Saturday, many of Glen Haven’s residents met at the new fire station to enjoy dinner together and talk about the future. Tom Sellers, the owner of the Inn at Glen Haven, reflected on the future of Glen Haven. “What’s here will thrive,” he says. But the reality is that very little is left. He is still unsure of how he will rebuild his own establishment. Dwayne Ballard, who lives along Highway 43, still has no power or phone.

For him the biggest challenge is “the unknown.” The “how” to rebuild is on everyone’s mind. One and half miles up the North Fork is Sonja McTeague’s home. It is almost impossible to get to because so much of the road is compromised or gone. She has no hesitation in sharing her community’s greatest need.

“Road Repair,” she says with emphasis! In order to help raise money, she has designed and is selling t-shirts and sweatshirts for this cause. According to Tom Sellers, “This is a strong community. Can’t think I would be happier anywhere else.”… a sentiment which seems to be shared by all. So, they stay focused on the monumental task ahead of them. But, the reality is that they can’t do it on their own.

Some of the residents get emotional when expressing their gratitude for all of the volunteer help they have received. And every time another group of volunteers shows up to work, or a machine gets delivered to help clear debris from the creeks, their spirits are uplifted. So, the journey back begins… one step at a time.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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