Notes from the Island
June 1992


By the time you read this, the carpenters should have finished the deck. The four big doors are already in, but the railings aren't up yet. Also, the painter has been down spraying the house with a green stain and the clubhouse looks very nice.

The wild rose is blooming and you can smell it in the air. The daylilies are about to flower and the mulberries are close to ripening.

Yesterday was a beautiful cool sunny day so I paddled upstream. At the upper end of Sycamore a cormorant sitting on a log took flight skimming across the river. Then some minnows at the lower end of Rupperts leaped out of the water as if they were being pursued by larger fish.

Above Rupperts Island a painted turtle was sunning on a log and mallards quacked and flew away. Prothonotary warblers flitted about in the swamp and more cormorants sat on rocks drying their wings. As I canoed past a sycamore near Glen Echo, several water snakes dropped out of the branches and splashed into the river.

I chased a great blue heron upriver past the Cabin John Creek and saw a red-winged blackbird resting in a bush. A large carp jumped out of the water and I could see men fishing from the Virginia shore near Turkey run. Nearby an old rubble dam diverts much of the water towards the Maryland shore.

As I rounded the upper end of Minnie's island a muskrat dove off the bank and into the river. The water level was high enough so I could run the rapids on the inside channel without incident.

This trip is nice when the river level is high enough to avoid the rocks but low enough to avoid a strong current. Another variation is to paddle up the canal to Lock 8 and portage to the Potomac above Minnie's Island.

There are many fewer goslings and ducklings this year because of the flooding which washed out the nests. However, this morning I bicycled up to Old Angler's Inn and saw many baby fowl in the canal and on the towpath above the Beltway. I suppose their nests were above the high water mark. There were also some lovely stands of blue flag lily on the canal bank.

Last night a box elder upstream of the ferry finally fell over . Now it is fun and easy to climb out the horizontal trunk and sit in the branches above the river.

The club has a lost and found box in the kitchen upstairs which is full of swimming suits, shirts, jackets, canteens, etc. The next time you visit, see if anything is yours. In a month or so I'll pack the box up and give it to a thrift shop.

Hope you enjoy your summer.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker