May 2016

Tuesday -- May 3, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.59     Water Temperature: 64

I noticed that my contact information is not on the Sycamore Island website so if you need to reach me, my email is

That was some crazy rain that we had last night. I didn't see any hail but it was coming down in buckets and was overwhelming my gutters. The rain finally stopped but of course, the river started to rise. I had to put on my boots at 10 o'clock and go out to raise the bell rope and the ferry rope. The river shot up from 3.5 to 4.9 in about an hour. then it went right back down to where it is now at 4.5 feet at the Little Falls Gauge. Right now the river is ugly brown and they are predicting that the river will be over five feet by Friday, but we'll have to wait and see what the weather brings.

I've been talking about all of the birds that are nesting nearby but I failed to mention the barred owls that seem to be making their home here as well. I even got a caretaker's report from one of the Saturday caretakers and she mentioned seeing an owl right next to the path by the stone grill, in broad daylight. They seem to be very active and we can hear them hooting to each other everyday and night.

Wednesday -- May 4, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.03     Water Temperature: 64

I just closed the ferry.

The river is going up and it looks like it will continue to rise until Saturday. So far, the river is expected to crest at 6.7 feet on Saturday afternoon. So I guess the ferry will be closed until further notice.

Sunday -- May 8, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.08     Water Temperature: 64

Happy Mother's Day! Too bad the river is too high to bring your momma down to the Island today. But good news, it looks like the river may have crested and the it seems to be receding. We may be able to open the ferry again by Wednesday morning!

Tuesday -- May 10, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4     Water Temperature: 60

I spent the morning getting everything ready for when we open the ferry again but sadly we may not be able to run the ferry tomorrow like I expected. The river just won't cooperate! Right now they do not know when the river will drop back down to below five feet.

I did like the way I was able to convert my mini dock into a float for the metal ramp. I was able to move it under the ramp and then back again with no problem.

I've been working on painting the back of the Clubhouse but with all of this wet weather I haven't made a whole lot of progress. I did get most of the high work done but the rest will have to wait.

Friday -- May 27, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.95     Water Temperature: 68


I got back from my vacation just in time to see the river level drop below five feet. Looks like we'll be ready for the holiday weekend ahead.

Friday -- May 27, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.95     Water Temperature: 68

Mary and I are just back from our third annual CANAL BY CANOE adventure. It was a lot of fun paddling the upper Potomac and raising money for our favorite C&O Canal Trust. There are pictures and stories of our trip at

For 2016 the C&O Canal Trust and its partners have embarked on a super cool and ambitious project – the complete restoration of the iconic Swains Lockhouse above Great Falls.

Mary and I think that this is a great project, and we dedicated our 2016 Canal by Canoe adventure to its support. We set our goal to raise $1000 for cool stuff that the Trust couldn’t otherwise afford. To our surprise and delight we actually exceeded our goal and we raised $1010! Thanks for your support!

Sunday -- May 29, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.45     Water Temperature: 73

We're keeping an eye on that tropical storm, Bonnie. It's bringing a lot of rain to our south but we may get lucky and dodge the worst of it. Right now the weather is perfect, not too humid or hot.

Historically, this day and tomorrow have been the busiest days of the year so I have mixed feelings about the weather. I mean a little rain might help me get through the weekend without having to pull the ferry over fifty times.

The river is a little too muddy and swift for swimming today, but that probably won't stop people from jumping in.

No sign of the geese since I got back but it looks like we have a very active pair of prothonotory warblers nesting here.