August 2007

Sunday -- August 19, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.6     Water Temperature: 80

I paddled down to the edge of the dam yesterday. It was a little scary, mostly because of the ominous reputation of this dam. It was also difficult to see exactly where the dam was. The glassy water flowing over the dam created an optical illusion as I approached and I had to get real close to find the edge. There was a goose standing on the dam and that helped me to judge just how close I could get. I thought that the water might be low enough to allow parts of the dam to be exposed but the dam was completely submerged. Using the goose as a gauge, I guessed the water flowing over the dam was about an inch deep, just enough to cover the webbed feet of the goose. Peering over the dam to the other side I saw a dry riverbed of scoured bedrock. It looked like a waste land except that there were a dozen great blue herons ornamenting the scene. I saw a pair of yellow-crowned night herons as well.

I had another reason to head down river. I've been hearing the sounds of hammers and construction coming from that direction and I wanted to see what was going on. Unfortunately my worst fears were confirmed, There is a new huge mansion being built there just above the dam on the Virginia side. I hope there is a limit to the number of houses they can build over there, I worry about our eagles nest.

We had a blast at the fishing derby. Lots of fish, great prizes and a good crew of fish story-tellers/ fish-story tellers. Thank you so much George Malusky! We even cooked up two of the bass we caught and they were surprisingly delicious.

Monday -- August 20, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 78

What a difference a little rain makes. The river shot up to 2.89 this morning and the temperature of the water dropped two degrees. I slept through it all, but I heard we had quite a storm last night, delivering us about an inch of rain. I can tell we had a good gully washer by the number of tennis balls and plastic bottles that are washed up near the docks.

The clouds have also affected the attendance down here. I only had to answer the bell three times yesterday and the first ring wasn't until after three o'clock. Plus, one of the times it rang it was just Gerry Barton and he comes down everyday so he doesn't count. Today has been dead as well except for a couple of diehard fishermen, you know who they are.

Since it was slow yesterday I had a chance to do some cleaning in the club house. I wish people would clean up after themselves and put things back where they found them.

Tuesday -- August 21, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.98     Water Temperature: 75

I set up the rain gauge yesterday and we had 3/4 of an inch of rain overnight. We welcome the rain but it was a bit too much for our table-tent/awning. The canvas tent collapsed under the weight of the rain. Maybe I can fix it.

Cold grey skies and muddy water, makes it feel like summer is over. After so many days of perfect island weather its a little bit of a shock to be reminded of the cruel side of the river.

I don't understand why they give the water temperature in celsius. Farenheit gives a much more accurate reading of temperature. I hate converting, but it seems the water is getting colder.

Wednesday -- August 22, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.98     Water Temperature: 73

Today would have been a good day to canoe down Sidling Hill Creek. I still haven't done that one and I heard its beautiful. It's just hard to catch it with enough water in it.

It's getting dark early now. Sunset was at 7:54 and civic twilight ends at 8:22. When civic twilight ends, the island is closed.

Good news. For those who haven't heard, the Sycamore Store has been successfully rezoned which means that the owners, Brenneman and Pagenstecher, are free to move in. It's going to be very different with new neighbors nearby.

Friday -- August 24, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 73

The river has cooled down a lot. It was a surprise to find it so cold when I went swimming this afternoon.

The river only went up about a foot and a half but after so many days of low water the change seems dramatic. Suddenly this river has a current again.

Today I was startled twice. At first by a long black snake. I never see them 'till I'm about to step on them and they always make me shriek. Right after that I opened a drawer in the screen porch to find a white-footed mouse looking up at me

Thursday -- August 30, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 73

There are still at least two great egrets hanging around the island. I never get tired of seeing their elegant white forms decorating the shoreline.

Great paddling conditions lately. The wind has really died down. Of course that means more mosquitos but what can you do. The river has been so irresistible that I even did some night paddling. I love canoeing in the moonlight. It took some effort to rally the energy to get out there but it was well worth it.

I set my alarm for 5:30 the next morning to watch the total lunar eclipse and was delighted to find the moon full and hanging like a work of art above the trees. It was amazing to see the earth cast its shadow upon the moon but it wasn't exciting enough to keep me awake and I went back to bed before the show was over. It was a real treat to be able to enjoy the moon so intimately, right from my own back yard.