July 2013

Thursday -- July 11, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 84

Happy Ju-ly!

I was away on vacation so I wasn't here on The Fourth, but I heard there were quite a few picnickers here that day. They must have been having a great time because I heard that they didn't want to leave, even when it got dark.

You're all invited to help us clear the brush away from the trail leading to the Island! We'll be meeting at the Island at 10:00 am this Sunday! Bring tools, water, gloves and long sleave's.

Friday -- July 12, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 78

The river shot up to over four feet last night but now it's settled down again, even though it's all muddy now. That was quite a rain, I heard they had four inches at Dullas, but I'm not sure exactly how much rain we got here, my rain gauge was so full it overflowed.

Monday -- July 15, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 78

Wow, the river rose from 3.4 yesterday morning up to 4.5 by 2 PM! It was amazing to see the different water levels each time I went to pull the ferry. It was not so nice, however, seeing all of those plastic water bottles floating by, literally hundreds.

I led my group of Canal Stewards yesterday morning. Five of us worked for two hours and got a hell-of-a-lot done. It was really hot but we felt really good about volunteering in the National Park.

There was a buck spotted swimming by the Island on Saturday. Ann Marie took some pictures, so you may be able to see a photo in the next issue of the Islander.

The sycamore that I talked about last month has fallen. It was bound for the floor ever since the derecho of last year, and on Saturday night it finally fell. It was really startling too, Mary and I happened to be crossing to the Island at about 12:30 AM when it came crashing down!

There have been six drowning's in the Potomac so far this year. All of the drowning took place very close to here.Please use caution and common sense when swimming or playing in the river.

Tuesday -- July 23, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 88

It's been nice having water in the canal for a change. It's cool to watch the carp swimming around and now the bluegills are breeding and digging little circular nests on the bottom of the canal.

I finally went out fishing last evening. I had a slow start and spent the fist hour paddling up stream and getting my poorly-thrown lures out of the tees. Things picked up after 8 and each small mouth bass that I caught was successively bigger until I caught a nice 2-pounder. I was lucky enough to see the moon rise pink over the trees while I was out there. I think I saw an otter too.

The cicadas are really loud here at night now, its such a happy, summer sound. Another summer phenomenon was witnessed last night. I'm not certain if it had anything to do with the full moon but the river's surface was really active with fish. So, like I've one in years past, I banged my paddle really hard on the gunwales and presto, dozens of fish leaped out of the water all around me! Freaky!

Before the cicada got so loud at night I was hearing a sound that I couldn't explain. I was a high-pitched gate hinge type sound that acsended from low to high. At first I thought that it must have been some type of bird but none fit the call that I was hearing. Then it hit me, maybe it was the nocturnal, flying squirrel that I was hearing! I did some research and confirmed my theory. We seem to have a healthy population of southern flying squirrels living on and around the Island. Cool!

Thursday -- July 25, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 88

The river is going up, again? It rose .8 feet over the last three days and is supposed to creast at 3.9, but it looks to me like it's still rising. It might even get above four feet before tonight! This might not sound like a very big deal but there is a big difference between 3 feet and 4 feet when it come to swimming. Usually, the current is not an issue in July. Last year the river did not get above 3.3 for the whole month. And then, in 2010 the river was never above 3 feet for the whole month. One guideline that I use when swimming is, if you can't see the rocks directly in front of the swim float in the center of the river, then it might be too high to swim

Clearing trails cutting grass, thank goodness that the weather has sweetened up.

Wednesday -- July 31, 2013
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 82

The river almost dropped to 3 feet but now it's on it's way back up so the river never got below 3 feet for the entire month. I don't think that has ever happened since I moved here 11 years ago.

Bad news, the canal has been drained again, and once again it resembles a shallow swamp. Those poor nesting bluegills, and there go my plans to paddle down the canal to Georgetown and back.

The tree above the captain's float is slowly falling. According to my calculations, the tree is two inches closer to the ground than it was a week ago. I moved the float upstream and out from under the arching tree.

I walked out this morning and there was a barred owl on the lawn. Made my day.

Correction; I mentioned last week that the cicadas were getting really loud at night. It's true, we do have cicadas by the hundreds, but I think it's the katydids and not the cicadas that are making most of the noise right now.

The fishing has picked up and club members are pulling in lots of bass and some very large catfish. One cat weighing in at 16 pounds!