Nightly News   |  October 20, 2013

Colorado’s rural regions like ghost towns after floods

Parts of Colorado are recovering from devastating flooding. For more remote areas of the water ravaged region, the transition back to normality moves much slower. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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>>> recovery in colorado after fires took anybody lives and ripped apart the landscape. 80% of the damaged roads are now passable if not fully repaired. some remote areas are still ghost towns . mike taibbi reports from one of them. glen haven on the front range of the rockies .

>> reporter: with permission from the county sheriff , we eased over the officially closed roads leading to glen haven . the town of 400 overrun that cement week by four days of floodwaters some called biblical. then becky childs at the century old general store strained to sound hopeful.

>> it wouldn't be the same anywhere else.

>> reporter: on this splendid weekend work the elk in residents and no tourists to enjoy them, becky and husband steve surveyed the still dawning task in front of them.

>> i was in awe of everything. maybe in shock. i have yet to really cry.

>> reporter: and vowed to start from scratch. even if they get no disaster relief at all.

>> will you do it?

>> somehow, some way.

>> reporter: but theirs was the lone sign of life in an otherwise lifeless dounlt. the old inn, the popular stables and the town hall in ruins. a dozen shops and office sites, no empty slabs. it is easy to use the words ghost town where every place has been flattened or nearly obliterated. hundreds of homeowners have fled. the so-called thousand-year flood is less about its buildings than its people and these people are not ghosts. not scott, who the vehicle road shot indefinitely led us on the long, long hike to his mostly evacuated hillside neighborhood.

>> two miles.

>> reporter: certainly not tim and travis. working on a front end loader on their own dime to shift the river back in its place and to try to open one road in one slice of the hills.

>> we're trying to get everybody home.

>> reporter: it was she who brought lunch to her husband and sob. their home and their notion of what homes means intact. it doesn't matter whether there is a town hall down there.

>> no.

>> reporter: we ease back down carefully, back to the ghost town part of town. but not the circle family, as dug in as ever.

>> there is no way they would drag us out of here. no way.

>> reporter: they and some other sturdy folk still here. others heading back. not done by a long shot. mike taibbi , nbc news, glen haven , colorado.