MAY 2011

Tuesday -- May 3, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.6     Water Temperature: 60

This is getting ridiculous. Here it is May 3rd, and the river is still swollen, and the ferry is still closed.

I can't remember a longer stint where the ferry was inoperable because of high water. I think it will be three weeks come tomorrow.

Wednesday -- May 4, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 60

The ferry is closed today and will be closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday because of expected high river levels on those days, but the workfest will go ahead on Sunday even if the river is slightly above 5 feet.

Monday -- May 9, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.7     Water Temperature: 62

The ferry is open!

Finally the river has gone down enough to open the ferry again.

We had a very successful workfest yesterday and it looks like anothe pretty day today.

Wednesday -- May 11, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 66

There is a club meeting tonight on the Island at 8:00. Come early and have a picnic, it promises to be a beautiful night.

Big canoe race here on Saturday. The Canoe Cruisers Association will be hosting thier annual race that ends on the Island. For 56 years the pull rope for the ferry has been the finish line for this race, the oldest canoe race in the country!

Thursday -- May 12, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 66

I heard that they are catching bass on surface lures now, so finally the bass fishing season can begin. I've got my license and I'm ready to go.

Tuesday -- May 17, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 68

Well I hate to break it to you but the river is on it's way up and it looks like the ferry will be closed tomorrow and will remain closed all weekend. Bummer.

I'm not sure why all you club members have not caught on but the annual Down River Race is an event that should not be missed. The race ends here on the Island and it is such a treat to have all those hardcore paddlers here. There was so much canoeing history right here on the island, all at once. Championship canoeist, Davey Hearn, ran the race, as did his son and his dad. That's three generations of paddlers! We also had eighty-eight year old Frank Havens here, the winner of the 1956 race!

Well I could describe to you how we watched a bald eagle hover near the dock trying to catch a wood duck. Or I could relate how Gerry Barton and I watched as two broad-headed skinks wrestled by the boardwalk. I could also tell you about the twenty gold finches I watched feeding on the ripe catkins of a river birch tree, or you could just come down and experience all of this amazing drama for youself. Well, once the river goes back down that is.

It really has been a bird watchers paradise here lately, simply incrdeible.

Wednesday -- May 18, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 68

Ferry Closed!

The gauge at Paw Paw WV is reading 25 feet right now, so I'm on my way out to pull all the canoes from the bottom rack of the canoe shed. This will be the third time this year that I've had to empty the canoe shed! I'm glad we didn't put the swimming float out in the river yet and I guess we'll find out how Tryon's new ramps do in a flood.

Wednesday -- May 25, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 68

Ferry is closed.

The ferry will be open tomorrow.

Well, we survived our third flood of the year and we got by without any damage to the docks or boats. I can't believe that the river was up to 11.4 last Friday morning!

This has been a very wet spring. The river has not been below four feet since the ice melted in February and besides the floods, we've had three high water events over eight feet and two high water events over six feet. This is amazing considering that the median level for the last twelve years has been below five feet.

I returned from my cousin's wedding in Greensboro yesterday to find the Island in decent shape. I had to shovel the drying mud from the docks and boardwalk and I had a bit of a struggle getting the semi-beached docks back into the river, but things again are slowly returning to normal. The canoes from the bottom rack of the canoe shed are still in the field and I will need some help to get them all back into their assigned places. Some of the canoes have a bit of rain water in them but all good otherwise.

It looks like the river will be down tomorrow so we will have the ferry working again then. Hope to see you down here.

Friday -- May 27, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 68

The ferry is open!!! Yeah!!

Things are getting back to normal again. We have not gotten the swimming float out into the middle of the river yet but I did paint the ladder for the dock and I painted the deck of the swimming dock as well. It was looking pretty bad and was starting to splinter. I'll attach the ladder today and maybe people will be swimming by tomorrow.

You'd better get your swimming in fast though, because they are expecting the river to go up again, and there is no telling if the ferry will be open on Sunday or Monday.

I mentioned earlier that there wasn't any damage to the Island in the last flood but I was mistaken. Our newly redug and resanded horseshoe pits were destroyed and will have to be completely redone. The front of the Island has also taken a beating from all of these recurring floods. It looks like the remains of a huge logging operation up there. Huge tree trunks strewn everywhere and piled high with tons of smaller logs and branches. Big fallen trees, that I presumed were immovable, have been lifted by the river and then lowered into new locations, mercilessly crushing everything in thier path. Years ago there were actually nice trail around the head of the Island but with this repeated flooding it's been impossible to keep the trails clear.

Saturday -- May 28, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 73

Bad news, the river is going up, again. At this rate the ferry will be closed by the end of business today. I can't remember when we had a flooded out Memorial Day! Crazy!

I've begun work on the towpath through our Canal Steward Program. We trimmed branches, swept the metal truss bridge and even removed some graffitti from the signs. We will be having a Canal Steward Volunteer Day on Sunday, June 5th from 9 A.M until 12:00 P.M if you're interested in volunteering for this program. It's fun! See you there!

Sunday -- May 29, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 73

The river is on it's way up, and it will be above 6 feet later today! That means the ferry will be closed today and tomorrow. This rain stinks.

Tuesday -- May 31, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 75

The ferry is running today!

The river is still brown and still quite high but it's under five feet, so we are good to go.

The catalpa trees are in bloom now. I'm not possitive if we have the souther catalpa or the northern type. They are also known as "cigar trees" or "Indian bean". We have a catalpa tree at the head of the Island, and dispite being repeatedly scared by flooding, it is gloriously full of blossoms right now. What a beautiful sight it is as you paddle around the head of the Island.