Reporter: Big Thompson Canyon flood damage similar to epic flood of 1970s

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- For the people who live in this part of Larimer County, they're used to living near the Big Thompson River. As of Tuesday night, that river is unlike anything they've ever seen before.

Not wasting any time with the water beginning to go down, cleanup crews are getting to work, hoping to restore basic services sooner rather than later.

Sharlynn Wamsley was among that group. She was allowed on the trip because of her professor – she’s a reporter for the Berthoud Recorder. But she was gasping at what she saw through her camera because of who she is when she clocks out – a Big Thompson Canyon homeowner.

She’s still waiting to find out if her retirement house is still standing. The area where she lives remains off limits, as it’s still too dangerous for her to get in.

"We can cover this as reports, which is good,” Wamsley said. “But the devastation is a lot like what we saw in 1976."

The biggest problem that lies ahead is infrastructure. The roads that took decades to build are washed out. Experts say it will likely take months to rebuild, but it’s a necessity due to the fact that these roads are the only way in and out of this community.

Along the Big Thompson River, you don't need to climb the tourist tower to see the falls. The fences that normally keep people out are gone. But then again, so are most of people.

When they come back, they'll face a tough question: Is it worth rebuilding and risking so much once again?