Notes from the Island
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
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