Monday -- December 1, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.1     Water Temperature: 45

The river should be going down to that magic level of five feet today but it won't go much below that all week. It looks like it will be a really nice December day.

I went to Potomac Overlook Regional Park yesterday. It's in Arlington down river from Chain bridge and directly across the river from Fletcher's boat house. It's a great park with nice trails and an excellent nature center. I learned that there were large rock and gravel quarries along the river bank below Chain bridge from the early 1900's up until 1938. Apparently the people who worked the quarries lived right there along the river. They built camps and houses and since many were Italian immagrants the area was known as little Italy! It's hard to imagine the blasting that must have gone on back when the quarry was in full swing. The last of th Italins weren't moved from the area until the G.W. parkway was built.

Tuesday -- December 2, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 41

I did a lot of straightening up yesterday. I cleaned the screen porch, reorganized some things and I fixed the ramp to the canoe float. It may be time to think of replacing that float, parts of it are extremely rotted.

It's frustrating to try and keep the place nice when people visit and don't bother to pick up after themselves like this past Thanksgiving. I also realized that the giant pulley I was using has been taken.

I did a great hike over the weekend. I parked at Difficult Run on Georgetown Pike, hiked to the river on a horse trail, followed the river downstream to Difficult Run and then up Difficult Run back to my car. It was incredibly beautiful with many great veiws of the gorge, and the falls on Dificult Run were spectacular. I can't believe that I'd never done that hike before.

Wednesday -- December 3, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.7     Water Temperature: 40

John Matthews brought me a pitch fork so now I can work on the large pile of debri that was washed up in front of the canoe float.

Thursday -- December 4, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 39

We've been drinking a lot of hot chocolate and cider lately, and hot soup seems to be what everyone wants for dinner, must be winter time! I suppose we should prepare for the wintry mix of precipitation that's headed our way, looks like another bad weekend to visit the island.

The mice have moved from the kitchen but now you can spot them down by the birdfeeder right in the middle of the day!

Friday -- December 5, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 39

No school!

It's a cold,dreary day. Last night's snow is melting as I listen to the rhythm of the morning rain.

Saturday -- December 6, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 37

There was a little more snow last night but only a couple inches.

Monday -- December 8, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 36

I was just out looking at animal tracks in the snow. There were the usual squirrel, mice, raccoon and beaver tracks, and surprisingly there was a set of deer tracks. I followed them, and they led right to the rivers edge on the mainland side of the island. I guess the deer are able to tolerate getting wet even when the temperature is below freezing.

Tuesday -- December 9, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 37

I just saw a pair of mergansers and yesterday I think I saw a small group of bufflehead ducks, so I guess the migration has begun. The red-necked grebes are here again, just like last year!

Wednesday -- December 10, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 38

They are calling for an inch of rain today, that, mixed with the melting snow up in the mountains, means high water headed our way.

I had to install a new phone in the club house. The old dial phone finally died.

Thursday -- December 11, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.0     Water Temperature: 46

Friday -- December 12, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 10.0     Water Temperature: 40

It has been an exhilarating morning. I woke up to find the canoe shed being inundated by the river and had to quickly pull all the canoes from the bottom rack of the canoe shed. Then I realized, in the dim light of dawn, that a tree was caught on the tow rope and was preventing me from raising the rope further. I paddled over to investigate while the kids got themselves ready for school. I tried a couple easy solutions but to no avail. I realized I needed to saw the branch that was holding the tree. I paddled the kids off to school and found to my relief that another, even larger tree had washed down and dislodged the tree that was stuck. Then, with the use of a pulley and some rope, I was able to pull the tow rope high up above the river, all this and I hadn't even had my breakfast yet!

The prediction is for the river to crest tonight between 10 and 11 feet, but the river is already at 10 feet and it's only 9:30 AM! It seems like it will get above 11 feet to me, we'll see.

In the midst of all this excitement I was able to watch as a bald eagle hovered slowly over the island.

Wednesday -- December 17, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.8     Water Temperature: 40

Like many of you out there I have been suffering from a cold, we don't like to say flu around here. I've been feeling so poorly that I don't even care to read much less make entries into my daily log. Thankfully feeling better now and I'm slowly emerging from my Nyquil haze.

That was a nice little flood we had here last weekend! I really didn't expect it to reach 11 feet and it left yet another mess on the island. The swimming dock was washed downstream when it's steel cable broke, luckily it was tied with a second rope so we didn't lose her. The head of the island looks like a disaster area with large trees and debris piling up eight feet high. All the young paw paw trees are bent over parallel to the ground. Some are broken and there are big logs resting right on top of them. The debris collecting in front of the canoe dock is becoming a problem. The more debris that gets stuck there the more it will dam. I don't think we want a dam right there in front of the canoe shed. I was thinking of building some kind of debris catcher upstream, just to keep it from piling up on the boardwalk, by the ferry or by the canoes.

I saw the eagle again, it was perched on a high branch about five trees down from the captains float.

It's so nice to get Christmas cards from the new friends I have met through the club.

Friday -- December 19, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.6     Water Temperature: 37

Good news, the EPA is not going forward with the proposed changes to the Clean Water Act that would have jeopardized many wetlands across the country!

Monday -- December 22, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.0     Water Temperature: 37

I'm still not over this stupid cold so I'm finding it hard to get into the holiday spirit. Thank you for the gifts from the club, Alan Gelb was kind enough to bring them down yesterday.

Friday -- December 26, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.5     Water Temperature: 38

There were five crows on the island this morning! I think that's the first time I've seen crows on our lawn in the year and a half that I've lived here. And it still thrills me that I can watch red-necked grebes swimming and diving right outside my window. I was greeted by a beaver when I got home last night. It was right next to the boardwalk just a couple of paces from the steps. It seemed parralized by my headlamp but finally hustled it's big butt down to the river.

I hope everyone had a fun and peaceful day yesterday.

Sunday -- December 28, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.8     Water Temperature: 38

There isn't much to report on down here lately, no visitors, just a slowly receding river. We have had a lot of holiday out-of-towners on the towpath. We've seen a dozen spectators at a time pointing and staring as the kids and I work the ferry across the slough.