Monday -- December 3, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9 Water Temperature: 43
I put the finishing touches on our new ferry-landing project, I put in the new bolts that were needed. The wind was blowing like crazy as I tried to return to the Island and holding the chain to the ferry was difficult. It made me feel like I was mounting a bucking bronco as I tried to board the ferry. Once I was on the ferry, it was like riding a bucking bronco as I held on to the rope in the fierce 30 MPH plus winds.
This is a great time to visit the Island, no snakes!
Tuesday -- December 4, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9 Water Temperature: 41
Never underestimate the power of the wind. Not only did the steady winds tear the ramp from the captains float but it also has eroded the Island! The constant wave action of the last couple of days has removed at least two feet of shoreline on the Virginia side. The poor plants growing there were left with bare white roots dangling in the river.
I'm so happy, I finally fixed the metal railing at the ferry landing. Some of you will appreciate this. I don't know why it took me five years to realize that I could fix the problem but I finally did it. I used a hacksaw to cut off the old bolt and replaced it with a new shorter bolt that allowed me to secure the railing. Before the railing was very wobbly and unsafe but now its nice and sturdy.
Friday -- December 7, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0 Water Temperature: 36
I was going to talk about all the leaves I raked up but then we had this wonderful snow.
I didn't expect the snow to keep falling like it did Wednesday night, we got four inches of snow on the Island, easily. I came home and shoveled all the walks, the ferry and both bridges. That was at about five, at eight I couldn't tell that I'd shoveled at all. I shoveled everything again and headed back to the Island to look for animal tracks.
It was strangely bright out with the light from the CIA compound reflecting off of the snow and the low clouds. I didn't need a flashlight as I went looking for tracks and it didn't take long to find some fresh prints. It was difficult to identify the tracks since they were covered slightly by the last of the snow fall, but that meant that they were less than an hour old. We followed the deer tracks (I think it was a large male)toward the head of the Island. Weaving between snow covered paw-paw trees and over fallen logs, the tracks led us to the obvious spot where the beast emerged from the river and struggled to the shore at the head of the Island. With this new information we turned around and followed the prints east, to the bottom of the Island. Now we walked with one eye on the trail and one eye looking for the deer that could still be on-island. The fresh tracks kept going and when we reached the end of the Island there was an obvious trail through the snow covered weeds and right back into the frigid river, incredible. The snow gave me a rare chance to record the travels of a deer, now I wonder how many deer travel through here every week. I also saw the trails of a beaver but that wasn't surprising since I had seen three of them feeding by the captains float earlier that evening.
The cold snap had me worried about the pipes freezing so I had to do a bit of rushing around to solve that, but I want to wait as long as possible to shut down the water upstairs.
I can't describe how beautiful it was here on Thursday morning. Clear, blue skies, snow everywhere, ice on the river and to top it off, two Bald eagles and four female buffle heads.
Monday -- December 10, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0 Water Temperature: 41
It looks like there is some water headed our way and I noticed that a few of the streams in the watershed are high enough to paddle. That means a prediction of 4 feet here on the Island by Thursday, the highest river level since May 5, 2007, seven months ago!
Thank you to Gerry Barton. He came down today and installed much needed, new planks at the ferry landing
Thursday -- December 13, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1 Water Temperature: 42
Banshees on the towpath! It's always a little unsettling to hear strange howls and screeches that you can't identify. It's worse when you're alone in the dark on the towpath. The sound I heard was like a mix of a squawking bird and a cat fight, then morphing into a rapid howl then fading, as I walked toward it, into a soft yelp. I shined my headlamp toward the rustling sound on the other side of the canal but I saw nothing. Then, quiet. Was it a fox? Two mating foxes? Mating racoons? or was it a coyote or two?
The river is up and what a strange feeling it is to walk straight onto the ferry and not have to step down. First time since last spring.