Monday-- September 7, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 77

Happy Labor Day! Here is another sign that summer is coming to an end; the river temperature is now below 80 degrees.

The day today isn't very summer-like either, cool and cloudy. We plan to have the regatta in spite of the weather and if I know Vicky Judson (our regatta leader), her spirits and enthusiasm will not be damped by the clouds.

Wednesday-- September 9, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.6     Water Temperature: 75

I paddled over to the Virginia shore yesterday and was appalled at the amount of trash strewn all over. There were beer cans and fishing line and fast-food wrappers and plastic bags and bait boxes. I guess those late-night weekend fishermen haven't grasped the "leave no trace" ethic. Standing there next to my canoe I felt like the Indian from those old 1970's anti-pollution ads; litter all around and a tear running down my face. I think I'll call the Park Service at Turkey run and tell them about the problem.

The paw-paws are ripe. I could smell the ripened fruit as I jogged along the trail at Turkey Run and I was surprised to see many trees laden with them. For some reason there are many more paw-paws on the Virginia, north-facing shore than here on this south-facing shore.

Last Wednesday night, I was sitting on the Captains float when the still water of the river suddenly became alive. Swirling ripples started appearing all around the float as if something very large was swimming just below the surface. It reminded me of those unexplained pictures of Loch Ness. I knew it wasn't some kind of nocturnal fish and I knew it wasn't a beaver so I concluded that it must have been a pair of otters doing their underwater acrobatics. I love how the river still holds so many mysteries.

Speaking of mysteries. We still haven't explained the phenomenon of the simultaneous fish jumping. Last night like in years past I noticed that the entire river surface was alive with ripples. When I banged my paddle against my canoe a whole river of fish instantly jumped into the air, all at the exact same time. I could see them leaving the water as far as I could see, maybe two hundred yards away. When I tried the same experiment two hours later, nothing. Very strange.

Thursday-- September 10, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.6     Water Temperature: 75

We had the monthly club meeting last night and we had a quorum thanks to a couple of new members showing up.

Some people arrived early and shared burgers. Larry Heilman showed up early for the meeting and swam all the way to Virginia and back. I hope I'm as fit when I get to be his age.

We've had some rain the last few days but for some reason the river is still nice and clear. The swimming and great fishing continue.

Friday-- September 11, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 73

It's raining. It's the first thing that I'm aware of after I turn off the alarm. The sound of it fills the room; the high-pitched hum as it passes through the trees and into the river and a lower-pitched, closer sound, as it hits the roof, like millions of fingers tapping. My half awake, fetal mind fills with dread as I envision myself pulling a sopping wet ferry rope in a driving rain storm, in the dark. I drag myself from bed and the rain starts coming down in sheets. The electricity goes off briefly and now my clock is blinking 12:00. The room is getting louder, like being next to a large water fall, as the water cascades from the gutters and crashes just outside the door. Later, I dress and don my raincoat. I open an umbrella and head out to face the weather. I step onto the ferry, grab the rope, and suddenly realize, the rain sounds a lot worse than it really is.

Wednesday-- September 16, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 73

The river is low, the water is super clear and the weather is perfect. What else can a paddler ask for? This is actually the lowest and clearest the river has been since last summer, enjoy it while it lasts.

I've been working on sorting out all the junk under the tool shed. It was ten months ago that we piled up all the unclaimed things from the old lockers and thats where the junk has been sitting all this time. Not surprisingly, the mice are well established amongst the discarded heaps of paddles and life vests. I also met three snakes that had taken up residence in the mess as well. One snake gave me a start when I realized it was in the bag I was holding, whew!

It's a big job trying to find places for all this forgotten stuff and much of it, justifiably, is going into trash bags.

Thursday-- September 17, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 73

It's rare to see boats traveling past the island. Occasionally we'll see a kayak or two drift past, but most people don't go beyond the buoys. Most people, if they come down this far at all, usually take out at our steps. So yesterday, when I saw a yellow craft, with a person standing in it, cruising along the Virginia shore it caught my attention. Maybe someone was poling down the river. I'd recently heard that stand-up canoeing was all the rage in New England so I wanted to see what type of vessel it was. It was too far for the naked eye so I stopped the lawn mower and went to get my binoculars. When I had returned to the shoreline and held up my glasses, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a man standing on a surfboard paddling with a long plastic oar! He paddled past the buoys and right up to the dam. The lost surfer dude, with his hat and bermuda shorts, then crossed the river to Snake Island and disappeared into the trees. I guess he portaged past the dam there. You just never know what you're going to see down here.

Tuesday-- September 22, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.66     Water Temperature: 73

Equinox at 5:19 today, happy last day of summer!

The tree that was just down river from the swim float has fallen into the river. It was the tree that the dock was tied to and has been dead for a while now. I'm thinking of cutting it up from a canoe just so it won't start collecting passing trash.

My new bathroom sink has come off the wall. I guess it wasn't installed right. I know what I'll be doing this afternoon. Maybe I'll fix the new sink in the men's room while I'm at it.

Thursday-- September 24, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.62     Water Temperature: 73

The swimming is still excellent. The water is very clear and just the right temperature, not too cold, not too warm.

The bird paddle is this Saturday and it looks like we'll have enough people for seven canoes. That's a pretty good turn out. There is still room for more if you want to get up early on Saturday and join us, we meet at 7:00 at the ferry landing. If you are on the fence about whether to come or not, remember that David Winer plans to bring one of his homemade breakfast treats and the Club bought a new coffee maker just for this event. Also, I've been seeing lots of birds so it should be a productive outing.

I just noticed four trucks from the Glen Echo Fire Department passing on the towpath with their Zodiac boats trailing behind. I've never seen them there before, I hope it's just a training excersize.

Tuesday-- September 29, 2009
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.7     Water Temperature: 66

The river is still super clear but the temperature has dropped. The water is only 66 degrees now, very refreshing!

Big news. The new UV light and water filter were installed yesterday. The filter eliminates the sediment and the UV light kills the bacteria. I feel so much better now, knowing that we don't have to worry about the water. This new system also has protection built in, if the UV light decides not to funtion then the system shuts down automatically.

The bird paddle on last Saturday was a big success. We had seven canoes and 15 people, that makes 30 eyes for finding birds. The weather was great and we saw many birds including a couple of merlins, a type of falcon.

Finally got the shelves up in the screen porch. Now I have a place for all the tools and stuff. It's nice to get the screen porch cleared out and usable again. I plan to begin the exterior priming today. I want to get a coat on that bare wood siding and protect it before it gets wet again.

Don't forget, work day on Sunday. We have a wide variety of projects to complete so please come down and pitch in. We start early and end early and then we eat and watch football. See you there.