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#296028 2013 Flood Aftermath

Posted by John on 14 September 2013 - 08:31 PM

I'm going to offer some reflections from my experience with the tornado that devastated our city and claimed 160 lives. The Red Cross primarily helped with emergency food and shelter. They focused on relief rather than recovery. I'm not knocking that, because we needed relief. They worked with the college and provided shelter for families until FEMA trailers (600+) were hauled in and set. But they didn't save a business from going under or rebuild homes.

Our church received several hundred thousand dollars. Our first step was to find the 105 families in our church whose homes were destroyed and give them a check for $1,000. That may sound like a lot, but it doesn't go very far if you are staying in a hotel or lost your apartment and everything in it and didn't have renter's insurance. Later our members in greatest need were given thousands of additional dollars to help them with house rebuilding or repair (many were grossly under-insured).

For the community, we set up Mission Joplin and gave away free clothing, household goods, furniture, appliances, etc. In the early days we had about 200 families a DAY coming through our facility and getting help, all funded by donations. Two years + later, all of the money that came in has gone to the people who needed it. We didn't use any donated funds for overhead, salaries, etc. It all went to those in need, either in the form of cash or goods. We feel really good about the thousands of families we've been able to help.

If you can find a church or not-for-profit organization doing that kind of work in Colorado, you can often get a charitable contribution credit. If you don't want or need that kind of credit for your income taxes, direct help is not a bad idea. We know who runs businesses in Estes Park and they are going to be hurting due to the lack of tourists. Some of them sell products we can buy online. Some of them would appreciate a check or gift card. Our experience was that some of the most needy families in our church were too proud to ask for help. But when we gave it, they often broke down in tears saying that they didn't know how they were going to make it and that our gift was an answer to prayer.

I'm not telling anyone what to do...follow your own heart on that. This is just my own experience for what it's worth. The need right now isn't for used clothing. A lot of families are going to need some cash to tide them over until they can get back to their property and start the process of rebuilding or relocating.
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#260830 Picking Wildflowers

Posted by John on 12 February 2011 - 10:52 PM

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#257642 A Turkey Day snow shelter

Posted by Igloo Ed on 29 November 2010 - 10:05 PM

It seems fit that this trip report should start out with a WC Fields quote, "Not fit for man nor beast" but I will just say it was full on winter conditions.
I left Lyons in a temperature of 12F. and I wonder just how cold it was going to be at camp but what concerned me more was the wind I experienced driving up to Bear Lake. It was windy enough in the usual windy spots on the way to Estes Park and when I got the view of the Divide, I could see the peaks were shrouded in blowing snow. Not the kind of weather I was hoping for... Sure, I had been checking the weather forecast and the weather was holding true to the predicted low temps and strong winds.
I had hoped to ultimately go up Otis Peak a ways to build an igloo and spend three nights. This was my twenty eighth consecutive Thanksgiving in a snow shelter and I knew I had experienced weather just as bad over the years but it had been over ten years since it was this cold.
Well, experienced or not, the peak wasn't going to give itself to me on this trip but I figured I might just as well head that way and stop to build an igloo when needed.
When I got to Estes Park the temperature had dropped to 8F. and the wind was blowing down Elkhorn stronger than I'd felt it for a long time but then, I know the woods and know how to stay out of the wind on most trips up to timberline. I have my excellent leather boots, that fit so good, and my favorite Smart Wool socks to keep my feet warm but I'd left my full cover insulated gaiters at home. I instead foolishly thought my standard gaiters would do the job.
I drove up the Bear Lake road enjoying the new snow in anticipation of what snow conditions I would experience in snowshoeing and building the igloo. By the time I reached the parking lot, the temperature had dropped to 5F. and the winds were picking up also. I wasn't a gusty type wind but a steady 10mph which cut through to the bone when standing in the parking lot and getting ready. Luckily I know to have everything ready so all I need to do it put the snowshoes and pack on before heading out.
I pushed hard at first to get some body heat going and I warmed up before I got to Nymph Lake but my feet were still chilly so I kept pushing on to stop them from getting any colder. The winter trail up to Nymph is much more sheltered than the summer trail but even in the woods there was a steady 5mph wind that would bring on a chill if taking anything but a short water break.
I pressed on while breaking trail through the snow that had drifted onto the trail overnight. The snow was variable with soft easy snow to break and crusty snow that broke when putting my full weight on the snowshoe. I made good time in spite of breaking trail because I was traveling fast to stay warm and the overall snow conditions were favorable.
After passing Dream Lake, the trail had a lot more snow on it making going a bit slower but I was enjoying the depth of snow base we have this year. The new snow was deep enough that the last 1/2 mile of trail to Lake Haiyaha was completely hidden. Luckily I knew the trail well enough to follow the openings through the trees.
A short ways before reaching Lake Haiyaha I turned off trail and started heading up the side of Otis Peak. I was surprised how deep and firm the snow was with only sinking into the powder about a foot to a solid base below and then finding large areas of rock hard wind drift that was like walking on a hard trail.
I gained 400 feet after leaving the trail before reaching the end of any good tree cover to build the igloo in, it was very obvious that I wasn't gong any higher so I settled on the same sheltered spot I had built an igloo last spring. The wind hadn't died down any and it was moving through the trees at 5mph but the temperature had warmed up to a balmy 8F.
I arrived at the campsite at 11:30 and began building the igloo around 12:30 to hopefully keep me warm with the work of building the igloo. Heh, not so... I even tried doing a little shoveling of the walk to warm up. Nope, just to cold so I put my down coat on and my Forty Below overboots and that did the job. My feet, that had been freezing all day, soon warmed up and I was just warm enough to not overheat with taking a short break from time to time.
I built nearly the first three layers of the igloo before I put the stove inside the igloo to melt snow for water as the walls were blocking the wind good enough that the stove would work. It actually felt kind of strange laying down on the floor of the igloo to light and adjust the stove because it felt great. It was nearly dead calm and I felt so good that I felt like taking a nap. Whoa though, those are the thoughts of a person with hypothermia! I knew better though because I was warm so I got back to work before chilling down to much.
I was building the igloo by myself which requires me to get in and out of the igloo but after I complete the third row of the igloo, I can step over the wall anymore. Consequently I need to dig the door open to get in and out which lets a draft into the igloo again. I was leaving the stove going to melt snow as I worked but it blew out several times while I was building the forth layer of the igloo and I could feel the draft myself when standing in the igloo.
The building technique changes also after the third layer in that I shovel a huge pile of snow into the igloo and then go inside to build blocks and use up the snow. It was a blessing to get out of the wind while inside building and the draft coming in the door got less and less the taller the igloo got but it also makes it awkward to put snow into the form as the shovel handle hits the wall behind me.
I had been working in the dark with a headlamp since I started the stove to melt snow and I was very tired by the time I had finished the igloo. I normally build a seven foot igloo when I build it solo but this time I had decided to fudge on the seven foot pole settings so it builds a 7'11" igloo that is shorter than the 8' igloo the ICEBOX builds. It was a lot of work but then I was spending three nights and it would be enjoyed much more than the cramped 7' igloo.
Well, it was cold, the lighting was terrible for pictures and I was dog tired so I ate a quick cold meal before sliding into the sleeping bag for a long night's sleep. I slept in until 10:00 the next morning only to come out to harsh lighting conditions again for pictures. I hung around camp all day working on the walks and patios around the igloo site.
Towards evening I nearly let the good light slip by as I was cooking a meal but got out just in time to catch some colors:

I had packed a trail down over to a view around the end of Otis looking east:

It was getting dark so I figured I'd head into the igloo and make some coffee:
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#245939 Good hikes to see bighorn or moose

Posted by Larry on 13 July 2010 - 04:13 PM


OK, now the nitty gritty!

Three places to see moose that I have found to be reliable year after year are:
1.  the East Inlet trail, as has been mentioned--stop at the first meadow by the campsite.  Moose seem to like the area across the river.where they can hide in the trees and then come down to the water.  Evening seems to be best, but I have gotten great shots in mid day also.
2.  When driving back into the park watch closely the rivers on the left side of the road.  Stop at any turnoff that will allow you to walk to water.  Look for the first large hill on the left side of the road, walk the little trail to view the river.  There are large stands of willow near the river and they love this area.  I see them mostly in the afternoon-close to evening.


In the willows behind the Timbercreek Campground.  Enter the campground, find the amphitheater, follow the trail out to the river.  CAREFULLY look through the willows between the water and the campground.  Mostly LISTEN, you will hear them in the willows which are quite tall and can easily hide a large bull.  You can cross the river and walk toward the forest area on the west side---but this is more of a gamble than a sure thing. Best time is EARLY MORNING!! OR DUSK.

You can cheat and go to the public campground Elk something, just outside the Grand Lake entrance on the left as you turn toward town.  A mama moose and her babe has been in the wood by the tent site for the last three years.

For sheep my best sightings in August have been the Mount Ida trail on the western slopes, Also along the road from Grand Lake to the Poudre Lake parking area on the right hand side just before the turn to the north for Lake Poudre.  I have also seen them on top of Flattop.

Good Luck,and I want to see some photos by Late August!!!

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#291685 1st RMNP Trip need advice

Posted by DrCloud on 11 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

Hmm. "Never been out west." First post here.

Well, it's hard to know what to suggest. The first two weeks of May are a real gamble, because it could be quite nice, or it could be a blizzard. Therefore, it's a tough call without knowing more about your experience.

In one sense, this is probably a good time for a visit because there won't be the crowds that always congegate during the real summer season (June-September). But you pay for that with the uncertainty about the weather.

If you're planning on camping, you need to be prepared for winter conditions. If you're planning on staying in a rental cabin or some such place, then it's easier because they all offer TVs and so on to keep you amused should there be one of those late-spring blizzards.

Trail Ridge Road will not be open (too much snow cover even in this rather not-so-snowy year), so that will limit the sight-seeing opportunities. But hiking (if the weather permits) is actually quite wonderful, if you have the right footware.

Just don't underestimate the high country. It doesn't care, and because of that, the people get themselves in trouble. Plan for winter and enjoy the spring if it happens. HPH
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