Atlantic Cities

Yep, This Photo Pretty Much Sums Up Why Post-Flood Colorado Will Bounce Back

Yep, This Photo Pretty Much Sums Up Why Post-Flood Colorado Will Bounce Back
Bonnie Sizer

In the aftermath of the torrential storm-smacking Colorado endured last week, which killed at least six people, left 139 still unaccounted for, and caused probably more than $2 billion in damages, it's easy to focus on the negative.

But Colorado's full of tough people, and will no doubt eventually pull through. Nowhere is that resilience more on display than in the above photo of a Boulder man out jogging beneath a pedestrian underpass on Saturday, after the rain momentarily ceased. The reason you can't see his legs is because they're sunk in a knee-deep river of mud coughed up by Boulder Creek.

"My friend's dad once said that if there was a lava flow crossing the road, a hardcore Boulderer would try to find a way to bike or jog across it," says Bonnie Sizer, a 25-year-old student. "It was kind of cartoonish watching him run through the mud and falling into it. He was definitely a determined jogger."

Sizer snapped the photo after emerging from her house for the first time in four or five days (the authorities had ordered everyone to remain inside). Her native Boulder looked like a very different place than the city in place before the floods. "The creek was five times wider than it normally is. There's a sewage--treatment plant near there, and that whole area looks like huge pond now."

While Sizer escaped most of the storm's wrath, her daily existence serves as a reminder of others who did not. "There are some places that are totally isolated – you can get there only by helicopter," she says. "Some houses are totally under water."

Presumably Sizer's hardened jogger still had a home in which to shower, dry off, and perhaps enjoy his anonymous celebrity. (The miserable underpass was recently featured on the NASA-affiliated Earth Science Picture of the Day.) With his brave, if not mule-headed, fight against the power of Mother Nature, he deserves to be counted alongside those joggers who got smashed by Lake Superior's monster waves and that one young man who dashed out into D.C.'s thundersnow for a gelato.

For folks interested in what Boulder looked like right after the storm, here are a few other photos from Sizer. These are helicopters lined up for rescue duty. "I've been hearing helicopters almost nonstop," she says:

After the rain stopped, Sizer started seeing bears for the first time in Boulder. "I don't know if they were chased out of the mountains by water, or what," she says:

Here's a video Sizer made this weekend of the rain-swollen creek near her home, followed by another produced by one of her friends who lives near the city center:

Photos used with permission of Bonnie Sizer

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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