JULY 2001

Monday -- July 2, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 81

For this morning's early trip across we actually had to step down from the landing onto the ferry... an indication that after this wet June the river is returning to normal summer-like levels. And yet, last night's passing front dropped the temps so far back into Spring that a sweater had to be donned to do the early morning rounds.

There seems to be only one goose couple remaining in the area... the others have gradually left during the past week. About ten days ago... when the water was very high... we were able to closely observe the goose technique for transiting from Sycamore to Ruppert's Island by using the river currents. A large gaggle swam towards the tip of Sycamore hugging the Virginia side of the Island and then... upon reaching the little island that used to be connected to Sycamore... launched themselves into the main river current and while being swept downriver worked hard to get to the lee of the larger island in the middle between Ruppert's and Sycamore. After a brief rest, they repeated the same technique to cross the main current to get into the lee of Ruppert's where it was easier to work up to the bottom of that island to spend the night. We have decided they do not like the bottom of Sycamore, as there are too often nighttime fishermen close on the Maryland side nearby.

Watching them struggle so hard with the high water current one wondered why they did not simply take to the air for the short hop to Ruppert's. As Mother Nature practices total energy efficiency... the only answer can be that the geese use less energy struggling to swim than to fly a short distance. There must be some calculation with their wing area to body mass that is different than that of the other large birds down here... specifically thinking about the many great blue herons that take wing on whim to adjust their location even a small amount. The herons are larger but have slender bodies and can seem to flit about. Next time you see a goose take off... notice how much effort he has to put into it.

Tuesday -- July 3, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 77

Have you ever looked closely at the bark of a sycamore tree to notice how different it is? It is smooth and not gnarled or ribbed like typical tree bark... but greenish-brown that peels from the trees in rectangular strips that resemble parchment to reveal a pale inner layer beneath. Here on the Island we have entered the season of falling sycamore bark... and visitors to the Island will now see the grounds littered with it.

Jim Drew has discovered a beaver doorway in the riverbank on the towpath side upstream from the ferry landing about 80 yards. This is past the little jutting area where fisherpersons are frequently seen. The beaver was seen to be lounging about until he noticed he was observed and the hurried inside. At this river level the doorway is maybe 3 feet above the water line... and canoeist heading towards Ruppert's Island should check it out.

Wednesday -- July 4, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 76

Happy Birthday America !!!

A most auspicious event must be reported on this special day... this morning when we went out a white dove was grazing on the lawn. A largish bird... it looked similar to an albino mourning dove... but to have such a symbol of peace appear out of nowhere on such a special day is indeed propitious.

It has now been three days since any goose poo has had to be cleaned from any of the floating docks. We still have one goose couple visiting the Island daily... but all of the others seem to be gone for good... or at last until next February. A certain quietness thus lays about the Island... and the other night we figured out that an argument among the ducks was more noticeable because of the absence of goose squabble.

A horseshoe pit has now been set up between the two picnic tables one passes on the way to the swimming area... so the sound of ringing iron has been added to the natural soundscape of the Island.

Thursday -- July 5, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature:

Yesterday was a very busy day on the Island despite successive waves of thunderstorms. In the afternoon an older lady was passed out at the towpath ferry landing. Various Islanders attempted to rouse her to see if she needed hydrating, but she said she was just sleepy. Ranger Joe Pond happened by... but his attempts to help her simply convinced her to walk away. He explained to the Caretaker that she was one of the homeless people that had been forced out of Georgetown by the festivities and had started up the towpath.

Ranger Pond, Visitor & Resource Protection Branch, Palisades District, C & O Canal National Historical Park (301-767-3728), related that the rangers had visited the illegal rope swing... and that they had carted off enormous amounts of trash, consisting chiefly of empty alcohol containers, but including a working Barbeque grill. The rangers have taken down ropes, ladders, and hammocks... but some were attached so strongly and so high that another attempt would have to be made. It seemed clear from this conversation that the National Park Service is now aware of the extent and frequency of use of the illegal rope swing... that they understand the potential dangers and risk of so many young people using it after dark and while inebriated, and that they will make a concerted effort to discourage people. Ranger Pond will attempt to have a "no swimming" sign posted there, but indicated that this might require an extensive bureaucratic process. Most importantly, the Caretaker feels that liaison has finally been established with the proper governmental authority that might actually be concerned about the safety and legalities of the situation at the illegal rope swing.

Finally, late in the afternoon yesterday a Member reported seeing a couple on the towpath with a large white dove that had been captured and wrapped in a towel for protection, who stated that they had rescued someone's pet dove and were taking it to the authorities for safekeeping.

Friday -- July 6, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 76

We have clear blue skies... but it is chilly down here today... long pants are recommended.

Four geese appeared today and walked up towards the lawn from the canoe float. As they got close to the mulberry tree one of them broke into a run. And then they all started running... like little kids not wanting to be left out... but it soon became clear that it was all a greed and hunger thing... as they raced to be the first to get under the tree where they would have first choice of any fruit on the ground.

Saturday -- July 7, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 75

Last Tuesday, John Wiebenson, Member and architect, brought down all of the blueprints his office had accumulated in doing various projects for the Club. These were (1) original blueprints for the 1957 "Alterations to Clubhouse" from John G. Loehler office of engineers (John Loehler built the existing steel structured Clubhouse), 1 sheet; (2) the 1990 "Addition at Sycamore Island", 3 sheets; (3) the 1992 "Deck and stair at Sycamore", 4 sheets; (4) the 1997 "Sycamore Island canoe Shed", 3 sheets.

This was initiated because Tryon Wells discovered valuable legal documents in the archival material stored at the Historical Society. Realizing that these archives are open to any walk-in, He took them with the intention of scanning and adding them to the digital archives on the Island's web site. The Island has no safety deposit box for storage of important legal documents, and an effort is now under way to locate and collect any such valuable legal and other documentation essential to the Club that should be under lock and key.

In his letter accompanying the blueprints, John Wiebenson points out that: "The old blueprint isn't really that old. However, that process used crummy paper, and then it subjected the crummy paper to aggressive chemicals in the developmental process and, now, this blueprint is clearly wasting away. I would suggest that you have it copied on some good, fairly acid-free paper, possibly in negative form, so that it reads as black lines on white."

Monday -- July 9, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature:

It has been a busy holiday week... and some of the multitude visiting were nieces and nephews of staff... hence the tents seen on the Island. The Caretaker realized he had guests and that some were female when he walked into the bathroom and noticed... how could one not... that there was no available horizontal space anywhere that was not covered with foo-foo bottles containing lotions and potions and tinctures and smellies and other unidentifiable but surely noxious liquids that merely touching the bottle would suck the manhood out of any fellow. Ominously, the hanging towels were folded and hung with a military precision that defied any male to touch them... and the normal cleansing soap was replaced with something stinky with perfume. In the shower... eyes shut against the soapy water... reaching sightless for a razor that was not in its accustomed place... the hand instead knocked down three of the strange bottles that seemed perched precariously everywhere. The Caretaker fled to the men's locker room bathroom to sulk.

Tuesday -- July 10, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 80

The river is starting to finally clear... you fisherpersons should be excited... so much so that the Club Captain was heard to joke that now he could actually see the rocks in the river before he hit them with his canoe.

We do not remember a year in which there was so much sycamore bark peeling and dropping. All day long there is the sound of bark falling through successive layers of limbs and leaves before hitting the ground. The Island is messy from the litter.

Wednesday -- July 11, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 81

Last week, after some pleading, the Island was finally visited by Kathy Bilton of the Washington Botanical Society. Earlier in the Spring, she had pointed out that what had appeared to be phlox blooming out of season was in fact likely to have been Dame's rocket. By checking "America's Garden Book" put out by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, this was confirmed on page 518 where they have pictures of both Dame's rocket and summer phlox... not that staff eyes could tell any difference. And thus the pleading.

What was learned on her visit was that what looked like kudzu was in fact a combination of two local natives... Canada moonseed and a passionflower vine. A large stand of what appeared to be serviceberry was instead bladdernut. The flowers that look like wild ageratum are mistflower. The type of loosestrife we have is probably fairy candles... and the large leaved basal plants mixed in with the plantain are actually a member of the aster family called elephant foot. The Caretaker was revealed to be a rank tenderfoot in all things botanical and as soon as he can regain his self-esteem all efforts will be made to lure Kathy Bilton down to the Island again.

Interestingly, the most productive outcome of the visit was the attempt to enlist her advice regarding the Captain's plan to till the lawn in an attempt to establish a grass lawn. As a result of her e-mail request for advice to her peers... and here one can only imagine the activation of some mysterious priestly class... Grounds Supervisor Trip Reid is now in direct contact with real experts... and the Club can only benefit.

Thursday -- July 12, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 80

Yesterday the Caretaker's Wife came in with a tick on her... so they are around and prudent steps should be taken by Island visitors accordingly. Little children should be inspected closely upon returning home... especially if they have been running through the underbrush. However... it should also be recorded that we have never seen a tick on one of the cats. As to fleas... they must be around because we can notice the squirrels scratching... and three years ago we did have a few in the quarters. But the cats have been put on lufenuron (trade name "Program"), which is taken orally by the cats, and interrupt the flea's life cycle by rendering all eggs sterile. Since a single female flea can produce over 2,000 eggs... and might lay those eggs after biting but before dying from the poison on a flea collar or in a powder... it was thought that this would be a good way to bring down the total flea population on the Island by turning the roaming cats into a veritable walking "typhoid Mary" to fleas. Lufenuron is totally non-toxic, taken internally once a month, and avoids the necessity of putting toxic chemicals or pesticides on the cat's fur and skin. Better yet... it has been years since we have seen a flea.

The path down the hill to the towpath shows the ravages of the downpours of last week. The cloudbursts that dumped massive amounts of water in a short time have caused the path to become rutted and gullied in a few places, and round pebbles have collected in places that are slippery like marbles... so children of all ages should be restrained from running down the path and everyone should be careful.

Friday -- July 13, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 79

At 1825 hrs yesterday a small explosion was heard coming from the riverside of the Island. There had been fireworks coming from the area of the illegal rope swing all afternoon, but this was different in sound and direction. Two teenage boys and a dog were found to have trespassed by swimming to the Island from the towpath landing and were playing with a "potato gun" on the Club's swimming float. Quite clever in design, this large device used pvc tubing, a charcoal grill igniter, and hairspray ignited as propellant to shoot a potato up to 150 feet. They were asked to swim to shore so that they could be ferried to the towpath, and incidentally, to sign the liability release statement on the ferry. Member Ann Satherwaite was present as a witness for the entire episode. Everything was handled pleasantly and without confrontation, and in fact the Caretaker was even thanked by the trespassers for being so understanding. The story of the trespassing girl who may have broken her foot on the swimming float was told to the trespassers so that they would understand the Club's concern about liability, and it was made clear that it was the call to Park Police for transportation for this girl that has caused increased scrutiny by the authorities on the illegal rope swing... not a complaint by the Club.

We have reported before that the steady stream of teenagers using the illegal rope swing can number over a hundred daily at this time of year... and how from interrogating trespassers we know that its location is now a common hang out and rendezvous known at all local area high schools. But just exactly how well know was just brought home by this anecdote reported by Eric Simpson:

I have been reading with interest but admittedly distant interest, about your rope swing drama. Then a couple of weeks ago I took the family down to the mall to see the exhibits. We parked a couple of blocks west of the mall near the navy memorial, where over the years I have seen a fair number of skateboarders. While unloading, which takes a few minutes with three young kids, I overheard the skateboarders talking. It was 11 AM and felt as though it was going to be a hot muggy day. "Hey John" said one, "are you going to the rope swing today"? I can't say for certain and didn't ask, but I thought it was probably yours they were speaking of.

Saturday -- July 14, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 78

We now have reports on the Great Malusky Fishing Expedition near the Island. This was the year's first major foray in the Malusky tradition, accompanied by first team members Mark, Kent, and Luther Carter. In a word... the fishing was dismal. Semi-pro Mark commented that he couldn't remember such little activity and poor fishing in the month of July. There was much discussion on the ferry as to why... with favorite theories having to do with the day's high barometric pressure and water temperatures. But mostly the attitude was of befuddlement and puzzlement. A review of last year's log indicates that there were a lot of fish a lot earlier but that the water temperature conditions were about the same during June and July.

It is impossible to walk silently in the woods at night with all this darn sycamore bark lying about and crackling with every other step. If one was not aware of this ongoing fall of flaking and peeling bark falling from great heights, one might be alarmed by all the creepy sound at night. Under the trees at night there is a constant rain of "stuff" falling on the ground or anyone sitting out. In the dark it is impossible to tell if it is tree sweat, or bug urine, or small and solid larval life forms transiting from tree life to ground life. And of course, the larger sound of the falling bark makes larger the sensation of any falling and human-impacting mote. Staff is forced to endure these nighttime conditions in order to continue to gather more data on the on-going firefly project. It has now been determined that a firefly throws a sphere of light sufficient to read by across a diameter of up to ten feet.

Monday -- July 16, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 80

Frank Daspit was gifted by friends working at the National Arboretum with a native azalea, r. atlantian, which he has donated to the Island. This has now been planted in the lawn just outside the screen porch in the spot where Trip Reid dug up a huge, invasive, rugosa rose. The late April white flowers are fragrant... unusual for an azalea, and it is hoped that in the years to come it will be just one more inducement to come enjoy sitting on the screen porch at that season.

The tall, midsummer phlox is putting on quite a show as one walks toward the swimming dock. We hope we have labelled it correctly, and that it is not late blooming Dame's rocket. One should not go in that direction without putting nose to blossom. Such a fragrance must surely be both an inspiration and a despair to any would-be manufacturer of perfumery.

Tuesday -- July 17, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 80

During the late afternoon yesterday Michael Grant and Kent Halstead came in discussing the "Epic Bad Fishing". There is now a lot of Member fishers and friends wondering what is going on with the river. For instance... does the fish ladder work too well... is it true there is no known habitat where small and large mouth bass co-exist... suggesting that the strippers (large mouth) have successfully navigated the fish ladder and are eating all the small mouth bass... and that certain Island fisherpersons were correct to hope the ladder would be a failure. It is true that no schools of small fish have appeared at the Captain's float for children to feed... and while bringing a construction crew down the towpath from lock 5 today there was not a heron or waterfowl to be seen. Nor... upon recollection... can the Caretaker report noticing seeing many fish jump this summer. Anyone out there with a credible idea about the mystery... please weigh in and let us know it.

Last night staff was awakened by the ringing of the ferry bell at approximately 0330 hrs. Upon investigation no one was apparent and all seemed in order this morning.

Wednesday -- July 18, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 80

Ring the bells... declare a holiday... the Caretaker has a new bedroom floor! Richard Moore of Husband For Hire (301-525-8857) came down with colleagues Gabriel and Fidel and put down a plywood floor over the present bedroom floor that is rotting and sagging as a result of the supporting floor joists being swept away by the '96 floods. Much ingenuity was required to fashion and shim a supporting grid of 2x4's to achieve a level floor. This was accomplished for only $400 plus $50 in material cost... as all other necessary material was already available on the Island. Best of all... everything was sealed with caulk and foam so that for the first time there is a credible barrier between the bedroom and all of the crawlies that live beneath the clubhouse.

However, before the floor could be attempted, the bed built into the floor and wall by caretaker predecessor Ken Fassler had to be dismantled. This amazing structure is worthy of a memorial mention before its passing. Anyone looking into the bedroom might have been forgiven for thinking the bed was built atop two chests of drawers, as in fact drawers and storage were built into the sides of this massive platform, which meant that the bed was so high it was like sleeping in an upper bunk... and a step ladder was required to get into bed. Anyone questioning the reason for such a structure was always told it was so the Caretaker and his Wife would have less chance waking up wet in the morning should the river rise overnight. Now there is a normal bed... intersecting the floor in only four places... and you can be sure these four legs will be greased or glassed or whatever is required to make them too slippery for crawlies to visit us... unlike the previous bed which was connected everywhere to floor and wall and which must have seemed just like normal floor to large roaming spiders.

Thursday -- July 19, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 81

Sherry Pettie came aboard with a question regarding the supposed methane bubbles continuously seen in the shallows around the Island. It seemed to her that she had noticed that there were more bubbles just before rain and thunderstorms... and since the Caretaker had written in a previous Log entry about his "serious study" of methane bubbles... she wondered if he could confirm that these instances of more bubbles correlated with the decreased barometric pressure associated with such weather conditions. Well... a long silence ensued as the Caretaker tried to think about the phrase "serious study"... but in fact could only think about the number of times and entries about which the Caretaker's Wife had said "You can't write that stuff in the Log... no one will understand your sense of humour or that your kidding." Fortunately, her scientist son Seth broke the silence by pointing out that a bottle of Sprite opened when the air pressure was high probably had less fizz than a bottle opened when the barometric pressure was low. You can imagine how easy it was for the Caretaker to be agreeable.

Friday -- July 20, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 80

From the Captain's float one can look downriver and see where the two massive sycamore trees have fallen into the river perpendicular to the Island. The closest fell in 1998 and the one further downriver fell almost exactly a year earlier. Many members have lamented the deterioration of the graceful arch formed by the closest fallen sycamore and the stylised artiness it gave to the downriver view. Few remember that the fallen tree beyond provided the same touch the first year it fell... and fewer still remember that there was a third fallen sycamore about the same distance further downriver... but time has had its way and that part of this first tree to fall that lay in the river has now gone to earth... or river. Taken together, these three trees display nature's pattern so graphically... as one after the other they follow each other exactly in their path to dissolution. One can look at the tree beyond the closest and see what the closest will look like next year. Visitors have come to photograph the nearest tree at the height of its style... but some would say the greatest art can best be appreciated as a pattern wrought by time.

Anyway... there is a green heron that frequently likes to hang out at this nearest fallen sycamore that is not shy and seems not to mind people hanging out at the Captain's float. Look for it when you come down... it is often there but not seen... and if you are lucky you will get a very close performance of its grooming, fishing, and eating.

Saturday -- July 21, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 80

Caretaker predecessor Peter Jones conveyed a theory about Island use that has seemed confirmed in the almost five years we have been here. In this theory, summer seasonal use of the Island is determined by the weather patterns of late Spring. If the weather pattern is good and favors frequent use of the Island... a habit of visiting the Island is established that will continue all year regardless of how oppressive and icky the summer weather may be. If the early weather is wet and dreary... other activities are scheduled for children and family and the Island no longer appears at the top of the Summer "fun things to do list"... and this behavioural conditioning persists and continues even in the face of a cool and brilliant and sparkling high Summer weather pattern... like the one we are in now.

The Caretaker continues to be perplexed to go down to the ferry when the Island opens at 0900 hrs and see that no line of waiting Members has formed. So Members... snap out of it... break the shackles of your conditioning... get down here... where better can you enjoy and appreciate the best Washington summer weather in living memory?

Monday -- July 23, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 80

Any reader of this Log will understand that there are those Members for whom fishing down here is serious business. Perhaps one should rather say serious fun... but in any event their degree of seriousness can evoke images of a professional swat team about to enter the fray. Thus it is that when such experts come up empty handed there is "serious" wailing and gnashing and ranting and general unhappiness with the state of the river and the mystery of the missing fish.

Yesterday young Ben Friedmann caught a foot long fish off of the Captain's float using a hook he had baited by merely dipping it into Crisco. And we just got a query about all this "fish poppycock" from Eric Simpson: We cooked out there Sunday. We through a line out 20 yards while we cooked and chatted. Hooked 2 catfish of a little over a foot long with cheese squares with the pole stuck in a chair. Also saw innumerable fish jumps. What fish are missing?

Both of the above events have in common that they were the efforts of little children... and serious fisherpersons should consider that perhaps this is the year that little children shall lead them. The rest of us are trying to stifle our snickers.

Tuesday -- July 24, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 83

Yesterday, as a Member fisherman was returning to the Island and passing the illegal rope swing, several male youths at the swing who seemed at least 18 years of age called out in a jeering manner and then four took to the water to chase the Member in his canoe. From their comments and behaviour he reported feeling definitely menaced as they pursued and felt that if they had caught him they would have dunked his canoe. He reported making no comments at all to them, but that he had to paddle furiously to get away. He conjectured that alcohol might have been involved. This is the first incident involving the illegal rope swing where someone's physical safety seemed threatened and is thus both unusual and alarming.

Sunday while at the swimming dock the Caretaker's Wife commented on a sort of chemical film that seemed to coat the river water. It was certainly noticeable that passing kayakers left a trail of bubbles behind them caused both by the wake of their craft and by each paddle stroke's hitting the water. It was as though soap bubbles and foam were caused by the disturbance of the water... but these bubbles and foam, unlike usual river bubbles such as methane, stayed on the surface and did not disappear. Could this be connected to the absence of fish and the murky cloudiness of the water... even though the NOAA river report lists water conditions above Harper's Ferry as clear?

And yet... a short time later as the Caretaker worshiped the sun... which is sometimes best done while face down in the prone position on a chaise lounge... with eyes only a foot above the river's surface... a sun beam fell upon the water and looking into it one could see zillions of some sort of teeming and swimming and wiggling clouds of larval-like things. It depended upon the sunbeam... whether one looked down into an organic soup or saw only murky water where the edge of the sunbeam delineated. It was all the same body of water... but whether one saw chemical film or organic soup or murky brown depended upon both the angle of the sun and the angle of one's own perception. Surely the sages would suggest this is just another metaphor for life.

Wednesday -- July 25, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 85

So many unsuccessful fisherpersons have been wondering what is wrong with the river that Kent Halstead went out and made some calls. His report:

Jim Cummins, Interstate Commission Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), 301-984-1908 x106, asks that club fishing members report to him identification of any shad, strippers, or white perch seen or caught in our area of the river above the dam. Tom Jacobs, Washington Aqueduct, 202-764-2753, measures quality of river water at intake. He reports no recent quality measures outside limits set by EPA. Ed Enamait, river biologist with the Maryland Dept of Natural Resources, 301-898-9724, reports no unusual circumstances upriver. Shocked fish are in good shape with stomachs full of insects. I still suspect something is unusual in our part of the river.

Thursday -- July 26, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 85

Conversations on the island still seem to be concerned about "what is wrong with the river." The Captain continues to fret about the absence of minnows in the shallows this year. When informed about yesterday's report that the water quality is not "outside limits set by EPA," Jim Drew commented that this just means one cannot walk on it. Especially worrisome and strange is the fact that the water near the Island has not at all cleared this year... despite the prolonged dry period and reports of clear water up river.

While the fisherpersons are disturbed... none of this has daunted the swimmers... who continue to flock. The river water temperature has now risen to 85 degrees. The phlox in bloom on the walk to the swimming area is stunning in display and almost over powering in fragrance. Every passing nose should stop along the way.

Monday -- July 30, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 76

The Caretaker always cringes when walking into the Ladies' Locker Room. After all... just what are his responsibilities here? Now, the Caretaker occasionally finds panties and other esoterica lying about the premises that is best stashed away out of sight there, but always feels he is violating some inner and forbidden sanctum when entering. Are all those doors open and all that mess strewn about because of some secret female rites... or has some vandal been let loose and not been reported? Should any attempt be made to gather and straighten and shut doors? Not on your life!!! The Caretaker is a married man and knows better than to mess with stuff like that!!! After all... the vandal has gone unreported and unmentioned for years and thus the state of that room must serve some mysterious purpose the Caretaker is gratefully unaware of.

So men... if any woman gives you grief concerning the state of the Men's Locker Room... which is, as we all know, in the downstairs "flow through zone" and looks that way because it is obviously visited by high water... do not actually laugh at them, but smile, and offer to accompany them upstairs to the Ladies' Locker Room for comparison. If you dare!

Notice that the weekend's rains have caused the river water temperature to drop by 9 degrees. The river level is expected to rise by only a foot over the next few days.

Tuesday -- July 31, 2001 -- The Club is OPEN
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 74

It is the last day of July, and as if on cue the late summer wildflowers are budding up and the first blossoms are peeking out. The Joe Pye weed is gigantic and in bloom on the little islet upstream. The cardinal flowers are scarlet in their customary bed at the top of the Island... and in a few other surprising places. All over the Island the meadow sunflowers are starting... and surprising and as yet mysterious fragrances are everywhere.

Last night at 0115 hrs, we were awakened by the ringing of the ferry bell. A large group of youths, intoxicated by their voices, were enroute to the rope swing. The cool evenings do not seem to have slowed down activity there, and there are frequently two shifts, with arrivals after midnight. Last Friday the same thing happened, as one group left at 0100 hrs but an even larger one came down at 0130 hrs.