October 2011

Sunday -- October 2, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 62

The sun is trying to come out but it's pretty cold for early October. The river temp has dropped drastically as well, it's only 62 this morning.

No visitors at all yesterday. There was a scout troop scheduled to be here but they didn't show and the folks that had planned to camp here last night reconsidered as well. I guess people don't like to camp when its raining and in the forties, go figure.

I've been under the weather for a week now and it's getting really old. My condition is slightly improved today so I'm determined to get out and cut the grass and all the other chores that I've been unable to do. I haven't been able to do any painting for over a month on account of this rainy weather but my primary concern is the roof. It looks like our new roof over my kitchen is leaking, bad. It might be hard to get a contractor down here since we don't have a bridge but we'll have to deal with it one way or another, it's leaking pretty bad.

Monday -- October 3, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 59

The temperature of the river is dropping fast. At this rate we'll have ice by Thanksgiving!

Speaking of cold, it was 50 degrees in the house when I got up on Saturday. I had to turn on the furnace!? I hated to do it, usually we can wait until November to fire it up. So, since it is still only early October, I decided to wear a wool cap and set the temperature at 65.

Friday -- October 7, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 62

This is frustrating. It's a beautiful day and no one is working on the bridge. They will probably not be here on Monday either since it's a holiday. Sadly, they seem to not work more than they work. They did, however, bring down the heavy equipment and there is a big cherry picker type truck parked on the towpath.

I have not seen the great egrets lately. I'm afraid they may have left for the winter. Happily, there were a few warblers passing through yesterday. We also had a visit from a few thousand blackbirds and grackles. It wasn't clear what all those birds were doing but they were here making a lot of noise in the trees of the Island for about twenty minutes and then they were gone.

Friday -- October 28, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 55

It has been a busy month on the river for me. Three weeks ago I led three canoes down the river from Anglers Inn to Sycamore Island. It was great weather and the river was at a nice level, 4.0.

Then on Columbus day I took an OC1 canoe and did the run from Sycamore Island to Chain Bridge! That was the first time that I'd done Little Falls by myself and it was very exciting. The river level that morning was 3.6.

Then, on October 13-16 I took my canoe and camping gear up to western Maryland and paddled the Paw Paw bends of the Potomac. The colors were perfect and the camping was very civilized. I recommend that trip to everyone.

Last weekend I was on the north fork of the south branch of the Potomac but not to paddle. That part of the river is just below the climbing mecca of Seneca Rocks and I was there to climb. The river is small there but very beautiful with a perfect swimming hole.

Meanwhile, things on the Island are pretty slow. There does not seem to be a lot of people using the club this past month, I guess the bridge construction is keeping a lot of people away. Speaking of the bridge, they are making some good progress and it looks like we may be able to use it during the workfest coming on November 13. The new bridge looks really good with fresh paint and new planks and I was thinking that we should do some kind of ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the occasion. That bridge was built in 1902!

Speaking of historic. There is a new book coming out this month, A Washington Sketchbook Drawings by Robert L. Dickinson, it was published by Chesapeake Book Company. This book is significant to the Club for two reasons. First, while doing the research for the book, the author Gail Spilsbury, came to the Island and discovered that we had an original trail map drawn by R.L. Dickinson here in the clubhouse. The other connection is that Gail used a quote from my daily log as a caption for one of the sketches!

Migrating and wintering birds are around now. I saw an eastern towhee along the trail yesterday, and today I saw three golden-crowned kinglets outside my window. I also saw my first grebe of the season.

Monday -- October 31, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 55

It looks like the bridge might be finished in time for the workfest on November 13!

It's too bad that the lack of a bridge seems to be keeping people away, it is so beautiful along the river right now. The colors are brilliant and the cold weather creates a cool-lookoing mist on the river most mornings.

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker