(NECN: Jack Thurston, Braintree, VT) – We continue to see the determination of the people in Vermont. We saw some good examples on Thursday, as washed-out bridges and roads are no obstacles.
For kids like Brandon Keyes, the start of a new school year always brings a mix of excitement and nervousness , but, now, there's a strange new reason for back-to-school stress.
“You really don't realize how isolated you are without a bridge,” said high school sophomore Brandon Keyes.
Flash flooding from Tropical Storm Irene tore down the bridge to his family's home in Braintree Vermont.
Just getting to the bus stop looks more like an extreme sports adventure course.
“Crazy -- it's just awkward to go up ladders to get to school,” said Keyes.
You need to climb two ladders to get across the third branch of the White River at this point. After the first ladder, you walk across this narrow stretch, and you can see that folks have helped out their neighbors by putting up garden lights and caution signs. But if all that freaks you out -- you could do what those people are doing, and take a tractor across the water.
Commuters who can -- are leaving cars on the other side of the bridge.
“I found it fun,” said sophomore Chase Spinks.
High schooler Chase Spinks is one of a handful of students impacted on this road.
“We're hearty folk,” Spinks said.
But schools in some Vermont communities are far worse off. Around a dozen still haven't opened following the floods -- because of damage to the buildings, utility problems, or rough travel on ruined roads.
“Getting back to school and getting life back to normal is very critical for all of us,” said Armando Vilaseca, the Vermont education commissioner.
Brandon Keyes isn't complaining.
“You've gotta do it. Really you've got no other choice,” said Keyes.
His new daily routine has been an education in life after Irene.