Notes from the Island
I'm still in shock. Holly and I always knew that the river
might rise into our apartment. It never occurred to us that it could
happen twice in one year.
At least this time I had the sense to question the original
predictions of the National Weather Service. When the recording
predicted 40 feet at Paw Paw, 30 feet at Harpers Ferry and only 10-
12 feet at Little Falls, I simply said "I don't think so."
In some senses the timing of the flood was perfect. We were
able to get a good crew of members down on Saturday morning to tie
up the canoes, drop the ferry line, secure the shower and picnic
tables, and carry everything we could think of to the second floor of
the clubhouse and the workshop.
Holly and I left Saturday afternoon when the Potomac was at
10 feet. The river crested early Monday morning at 18 feet, which
was 1 1/2 feet into the Clubhouse and about 4 feet above the
Damage to the Island was minimal this time. All of the
temporary canoe racks were washed down into the trees, but John
Matthews hired laborers to retrieve them and put them back into
Many thanks to all the members who came and helped before
and after the flood: Tryon Wells, Gerry Barton, David Lyles, Tom
Edsall, George Malusky, Abby Morrison, John Matthews, Warren Brown,
Phil Jones, Steve Jones, Bill Eichbaum, Johnna Robinson, John Stapko,
Rocky Delaplaine, Tove and Manfred Elfstrom, Dick and Penny Doolittle,
and Judy Lentz. Our apologies to anyone we missed.
The major clean-up and repairs have been completed, but
there are many small tasks that still need attention: seeding the
lawn, clearing the deck, picking up trash, tidying up the work shop, and
collecting scattered lumber. Also, the Island is still muddy and things
need constant cleaning.
The weather since the flood has continued to be wet and
damp, which was not the case in January. Anybody with a locker on
the ground floor will have to deal with mud, mold and mildew. And,
although we don't think we lost any canoes this time around, you might
want to check on yours just to be sure.
The fall flowers were washed away with most of the
undergrowth, which gives an unusual visibility for this time of year.
A domestic barnyard duck has been swept here from someplace
upstream. I've been feeding it corn and maybe it will stay and keep
our goose company (although I'm not sure the goose wants a duck for
The clouds parted for a brief instant the other night and we
were able to view the lunar eclipse from the ferry.
Personally, I'm ready for a long spell of dry clear sunny
skies, but I'm afraid the weather report continues to predict rain and
clouds into next week.
Come enjoy the fall, but be sure to bring your boots.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker