All was quiet — even serene — in Evergreen on Saturday morning, a day after incessant rains pushed Bear Creek out of its banks, closed roads and damaged downtown businesses.
The brown water in Evergreen Lake was virtually calm as a half-dozen men gathered outside EverBean in the Lakepoint Center to drink coffee and tell stories.
“Look at it,” Rod Hock said as he gazed at the lake. “It’s so beautiful. As you’re standing here, you would never know that it flooded yesterday.”
Randy Whitesell, a clinical psychologist with an office in the Lakepoint Center, added: “The day after, it’s wonderful.”
Whitesell lives on the south side of Evergreen Lake, and when he realized about 7 a.m. Friday that he couldn’t drive through Highway 73 at the dam because of the floodwaters, he decided to walk to his office.
He walked around the lake past the Lake House to Upper Bear Creek Road. He said that at some points he was in foot-deep water. About noon, he made the trek home, opting to walk through downtown, crossing the footbridge behind Baskin-Robbins.
“I realized (the floodwaters) weren’t getting any better,” he said.
George Long, who has lived in Evergreen for 30 years, had walked from the parking lot at Christ the King Catholic Church to EverBean on Friday, and then he wasn’t sure Jeffco sheriff’s deputies would let him to walk back. By that time, they had blocked off Highway 74 at Meadow Drive.
At Lakeshore Café on Saturday morning, business was brisk as people continued to tell their stories of the flood.
Johann Wanner, who lives in Evergreen Highlands, was prevented from driving north to Christ the King Catholic Church for morning Mass, so he parked at the library and walked.
He commented that Evergreen looked relatively normal on Saturday morning.
Peter and Laura Bjork live in Bergen Park and work in Denver, so they didn’t find out till later Friday that Bear Creek had flooded. Peter said he wasn’t surprised because the rain had poured for days.
David Miani spent nearly 10 hours on the road Friday, trying to drive from Gillette, Wyo., to his home in Sun Ridge above Kittredge, nearly twice the time it would have taken on a normal day.
He cited a litany of issues that blocked his way home: Interstate 25 closed at the Wyoming-Colorado border, U.S. 85 packed with cars almost running out of gas, and finally getting to Parmalee Gulch Road and getting stopped because Highway 74 was closed. Undaunted, he drove around, took Kerr Gulch Road and managed to reach his home.
Lakeshore Café server Emily Kemp, who lives on Highway 74 between Evergreen and Kittredge, drove to Safeway Friday afternoon. On her way back, she was not allowed to drive home, so she left her car near the Bradley gas station and walked about a quarter-mile home with her sacks of groceries.
EverBean owner Cheryl Pankonien kept the coffee shop open Friday, telling her employees not to come in.
“I’m glad we were here and open,” Pankonien said. “There were a steady number of people who came in throughout the day. People were trying to get here to see what was going on. I’m glad we could be here for them.”