Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I sit on the board for the “West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway”. Driving this Byway from Carbondale to Crested Butte is a crash course in the extreme beauty of Colorado and the Cliff Notes as to why Coloradans are so psyched to live here.

    Yesterday we had a board meeting in Crested Butte and therefore I was fortunate to have an excuse to make the drive on the clock. This Cowbird is not to share all the gushy details regarding the scenic splendor of the drive. Just simply listen to me and place it on your “to do” list.

    When driving home and descending McClure Pass, we drove into a torrential rain storm. I knew immediately we needed to get past the community of Redstone, because rain this hard and this quick will most certainly lead to mudslides.

    Rain continued to hammer the car and each time we passed a mudflow chute we would look up hoping not to see the worst. …but then ….the worst happened. We looked up and saw the front end of a mudflow screaming down a chute, boulders thumping leading the wall of mud coming at us. We all screamed and I stepped on the gas with mere seconds to spare, the mud and boulders snapping at our bumper like a fucking T-Rex.

    I caught up to the traffic in front of me. They were driving well below the speed limit due to the violent rain. Meanwhile, I was physically shaking and knew that we had a few more chutes to pass. I started honking trying to get them to hurry. I could no longer look up each chute. There was nothing to do. Stopping would not be safe, the only safe plan was to get through them all.

    We eventually did, but I was pretty shaken up. Got home and went straight for a glass of wine. ….unhealthy way to deal with emotion ….I know …but it happens.

    Today I woke up and knew that I had to go revisit the scene to process and get past all of the “what ifs” a split second difference would have made.

    I have always loved that you can literally watch geologic time happen in Colorado. I just hope I used up my “wrong place at the wrong time” yesterday.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.