April 2013

Wednesday -- April 3, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 48

Cold and windy again today! I was hoping that once we got into April we might get a break.

Thursday -- April 4, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 48

The river level is creeping up a little bit but it looks like it will stay low enough for us to have our big work day here on Sunday. It also looks like the weather is going to be decent too, so no excuses, see you on Sunday!

Bluebell Report; There are one or two bluebells blooming right now but it looks like it will be about a week before the bluebells hit their peak. We do have cut-leaf toothwart and dutchmans breeches in full bloom.

I've been busy taking care of a few over due projects. I suppose I could have waited and have the chores done at the workfest but I guess I'm a little like the housewife that cleans the house just before the housekeepers arrive. I had to save myself the embarrassment.

Monday -- April 8, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 53

I spent the entire weekend hanging out with Sycamoreans and let me just say what an interesting and fun, (not to mention hard-working) group of people they are. First, it was Saturday morning when we all met to walk in the Springtime woods to look at the wildflowers. I did not count our number but there were over 12 of us traipsing, single file, behind John and RG as they gave us a tour of those woods that they are so familiar with. The weather was gorgeous and it was a real treat to be with such experts as they led us from one delicate beauty to another. The highlight being the white flowers of the "twinleaf". We also helped save some tadpoles that were struggling in a vernal pool that was rapidly drying up.

Then, it was the Workfest on Sunday. It was another great-weather day but the wind from down river was blowing at 15mph and the river was over four feet making the ferry a real chore. Luckily we had our good-natured members picking up the slack and getting everyone over to the Island safely. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm and passion that all of the workfesters brought to the table. We managed to complete a lot of tasks and the Island looks so clean and tidy now.

Wednesday -- April 10, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 64

Club meeting tonight on the Island! The meeting starts at 8:00 but it's such a nice day, you should come down early! Plus I have a guest speaker tonight. Joseph Bell of the USGS will be giving a short presentation about the river gauges that we depend on so much.

Sunday -- April 14, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.01     Water Temperature: 64

The river is rising and the ferry is closed.

Monday -- April 15, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.00     Water Temperature: 64

Ferry is back in operation.

No tax worries on the Island, just bluebells!

Tuesday -- April 23, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 64

Everything has changed since I wrote last. The trees are now full of leaves, the wild flowers have come and gone and all the docks are out.

There is also water in the canal! I'm not sure what's happening but it looks like we can paddle in the canal again. Just like the old days.

I've been doing a lot of carpentry jobs lately, i.e. replace rotted wood on ferry, install screen door, rebuild ramp to canoe dock, and its great having all of the tools neatly stored in the work shed. It really makes the work go faster. It's also nice to have all of the materials I need on hand. All those years of salvaging lumber from the river are paying off.

Whit Overstreet, of Potomac Riverkeeper, an myself will be giving a presentation at the Canoe Cruisers monthly meeting, on Monday April 29. It will be at the Clara Barton Community Center. We'll be talking about our second Island to Island kayak trip down the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay.

Tuesday -- April 30, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.88     Water Temperature: 64

Finally, the river level has dropped below four feet on the little falls gauge! The river has been at four feet or higher since February 27! So far this year there have only been about three weeks where the river has been forgiving and dropped below four feet.

Joe Bell of the USGS gave his presentation to the Club at the last meeting and it looks like there is a chance the gauge at little falls, that I refer to so often, may someday be called the Sycamore Island gauge. How cool would that be?

I gave my presentation at the CCA meeting last night. It was a good turn out and there were a few Islanders there. The Cunningham's reported that they had a great trip doing the Seneca Breaks last Saturday. They also reported that there is once again plenty of water in the canal to do the loop back to your car at Violette's lock.

I took a canoeing trip myself last week. Mary and I drove up to central New Jersey and paddled two separate rivers in the Pine Barrens. We did an overnight on the Mullica (pronounced like you're saying mulligan)and then a half day paddle and half day hike back, on the Batsto river. Both rivers are aquifer-fed, narrow, and fast moving. They also have an infinite number of hairpin turns and it took all of our skills to make it through all of the narrow passes and fallen timbers. There were times where we were able to slow down and enjoy the view a little, where the river was dammed by beaver, and the scenery was spectacular. The most exciting part was running the "falls of the Millica", the two and three-foot drops over the beaver dams.