What started out as a vacation for a Sioux Falls family turned into a rescue mission in the mountains of Colorado. Mark Scharnberg and Angel Paulson and their 11-month-old daughter were staying in a cabin at Allenspark when the heavy rain started Thursday night. Little did they know at the time how bad things were going to get or how they were going to home.
For four days, the family was trapped on a mountain after heavy rain washed out the only two roads to their cabin.
"It was a strange feeling. You couldn't just get in your car and drive anywhere," Angel said.
They had no cell phone service, no internet and no TV so they had no way of knowing how bad the floods were, but thought it couldn't be good.
They had food and water, but were concerned about their baby.
"We were rationing our food, not knowing how long we would be there. But our daughter, I was really worried. Diapers we could come up with some fixes for, but formula was my biggest concern," Angel said.
The river was still raging, too dangerous yet to try and cross.
Luckily, a couple up the mountain had a satellite phone, so they were able to contact firefighters and the National Guard who came up with a plan to get them diapers and formula in a water-proof bag and toss it across the river.
"We opened it up and it was formula for our daughter. So the coordination between Allenspark Firefighters and National Guard was amazing," Angela said.
Finally on Sunday, a man who maintains the roads on the mountain used his pay loader to fill in the river with rock and gravel, just enough to drive them across in the heavy equipment.
"They started putting us in the bucket two by two with life jackets and helmets on and brought us across the river," Angel said.
Ending a vacation, they won't soon forget.
Mark, Angel and their baby are now at the Denver Airport waiting for the next flight. Because the road is still washed out, they had to leave their luggage and rental car on the mountain and don't think they'll get it until the road is fixed, which they were told could be next spring.