Notes from the Island
January 2005

Happy New Year everyone. What a year itís been for me: Two ice climbing trips in the White Mountains, a summer vacation in British Columbia, many canoe runs including Bulls Falls and some great times on Sycamore Island. The best part about this past year is that we had no major floods. I feel so fortunate that even though we were threatened by numerous hurricanes the Potomac remained mostly unaffected. We did have some bad ice last winter, but this year we have all the docks safely on shore away from the power of the ice flows. I hope we get more of that river-freezing cold again this winter so we can go ice-skating. Itís great to get a winter crowd of ice-skaters in the clubhouse, warming themselves by the wood stove.

Itís been a quiet month here, though there is one member I can always count on to come down if itís sunny and above forty degrees. It looks like there was a small crowd here while I was away on the 18th but most of the time itís just me and the kids, and the beavers.

Speaking of the beavers, they seem especially ravenous this season. They seem determined to cut down every tree that isnít protected by chicken wire and drag it back to their den under the towpath. I want to try to keep all the trees we have. Itís terrible to see all our young saplings piled up at the entrance to the beaver den just up river from the ferry landing. I try to keep them away by leaving the outdoor lights on, but that doesn't seem to slow them down.

The big news on the wildlife front is that I saw a flying squirrel!

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker