(CBS4) – Zack Beins and his family decided to spend their holiday weekend on Colorado’s Western Slope. They were headed to Gypsum on Interstate 70 from the hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs when suddenly a deluge fell from the heavens in the form of mudslides.
“We went through one tunnel and there was the flashing caution lights,” said Beins, referring to warning signs inside Glenwood Canyon. “We all stopped and we saw the 50 yard mudslide just engulf the road.”
A man from a car ahead of them jumped out and told everyone to go back. Beins says, “That’s when we all — there was about 12 of us — started reversing down I-70 doing u-turns heading back the other way.”
They weren’t out of harm’s way yet. That first slide was the not the only one in the area.
“We had to drive through one mudslide and then we got back to almost the first tunnel and that’s when we saw there was another mudslide covering the road,” Beins said.
They were stuck on I-70 in the middle of a rainstorm with tons of loose soil on the hillside above them. With no cell service, the group started helping each other and making evacuation plans to rescue themselves.
Suddenly the rain stopped and they started focusing on getting the highway cleared.
“We started asking for shovels and digging out the drainage so the highway could clear the water,” Beins said.
They had some success, but the mud was a serious obstacle. Beins describes it as; “It was oopy and goopy and sticky and filled with huge rocks.”
Luckily, the Colorado Department of Transportation showed up with the heavy equipment and they were soon free. Beins’ family made it to Gypsum and he is thankful for the people who were trapped with him, because they together were able to make a scary situation into a survivable one.
“The comradery of everyone on the road. We were all out there for 3 and a half hours,” he said.
When asked, Beins said his advice for people traveling in the area is to make sure you have a good shovel with you. He also said footwear is key. He was wearing flip flops and that made it hard to hike through the mud.