Notes from the Island
June 1995


It was raining heavily the morning of the Potomac White Water Race, but many brave paddlers in some twenty-five boats put in just below Great Falls and followed the river downstream to the finish line at Sycamore Island. The contestants included members Jack Colwell and Larry Heilman and his son. John Thomson and John Heidemann had put the arrows up on the course on Saturday and then operated safety boats at Yellow Falls the day of the race. Jane and Paul Englestad provided much appreciated refreshments and Holly Syrrakos helped with drinks and cleaned up afterwards. I especially would like to thank Gerry Barton, who came down to help with the ferry on what is our busiest day of the year.

The race happened to coincide with John and Peggy Thomson's fiftieth wedding anniversary and many friends were on hand to help with the celebration arranged by their daughter Hilary (who raced with her daughter Maddie) and son David (who raced with his wife Ann McEwan but without their son Jamie).

Captain John Matthews has been busy at work. The electrician put the lights in the men's locker room on one switch and moved the switch in the women's bathroom to a more accessible location. The plumber has hooked up the warm toilet stall in the men's bathroom, so we no longer have to use the chemical toilet in the winter. The carpenters came today and built the shower out back, which still needs to be connected.

The summer season has arrived. The mulberries are getting ripe and the geese are hanging out underneath the trees waiting for the fruit to drop. At the lower end of the Island the jimsonweed and water willows are blooming. Although overgrown the daylily beds look as if they will flower soon. There are small patches of meadowrue, celandine, blue flag, swamp hemlock, honeysuckle and wild rose. The solomon's seal can be found in many locations.

I only saw two whistling swans this year on their migration north. On the other hand, the Canada geese nested on three small islands right around Sycamore, and now there are plenty of goslings.

The river is down. The swim float is out. Come enjoy the Island before it gets too hot.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker