CARETAKER'S LOG


Friday -- August 3, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.4     Water Temperature: 75


The ferry will be closed until further notice.

Wednesday -- August 1, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 75


The ferry is closed today, more rain means more high water.

Tuesday -- July 31, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 75


There is so much to catch you up on. It's been a great month down here with lots of Island activity. I'm especially happy to see the kids enjoying the new paddle board. Normally, July can be a slow month but not this year. I guess there was a lot of pent-up demand after we were closed for so long.

It's great to have all of these kids here but all of this ferry pulling is making it hard for me to stay ahead of the chores. I had to order parts to fix the lawn mower but it's working fine now. We had another tree fall, that makes five this year, so I had to get the chainsaw out again. I've been working on painting the new stanchions for the ferry and I put a new shower head on the outdoor shower.

We had yet another week of high water last week, which is so weird for July that I can't tell you.

We were able to get the swimming float launch two weeks ago but right now there is a telephone pole-sized tree snagged on it.

Sunday-- July 29, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 75


The ferry is running again! Yeah!

There is no bell rope up right now so you might have to yell or ring the phone.

The river is still very silty and brown and the visibility in the water in nil but it's a nice day with low humidity. Plus, since the water was high, I was able to push the captains float back into the river. I placed it upriver of the arching silver maple so it's kind of stuck between two low-hanging trees, but it's nice to have it out in the water for a change.

Friday-- July 27, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.9     Water Temperature: 75


The ferry is closed and will be closed again tomorrow.

Sunday-- July 22, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.1     Water Temperature: 75


THE FERRY IS CLOSED!!

I guess that it isn't surprising to most of you that the ferry is closed today, considering the epic rains that we had yesterday. I'm not surprised either, but the sudden rise in the river did catch me off-guard a little bit. I didn't want to rush home last night and deal with the ferry in the dark and the rain so I waited until this morning and I paid for it.

I woke up at Mary's at 7 am and the river was already at 6 feet. It's not fun when your first thought of the day is imagining having to jump off the ferry onto a dock that is two feet under water. I jumped out of bed, skipped the coffee and headed straight down to the river. By the time I arrived, the bell rope had already been torn asunder and the river was creeping very close to the ferry rope. There was the usual, huge pile of branches and debris all tangled up with the ferry chains and being pushed hard against the ferry. Using the pole, I freed up the chains and braced myself for the high-water ferry-trip across the river.

I reached the dock on the Island, but I was reluctant to jump into the river and onto the submerged dock. I grabbed a cinder block off the ferry and stood it up vertically on the dock so that there was still a couple of inches of it above the water. I balanced myself on the block and placed another block two feet closer to the Island. Then I grabbed the bench off of the ferry and, while carefully balancing myself on the teetering blocks, I managed to slap the bench down, and voila, I was on the Island and my feet were dry. Amazing! I'm glad I made it over but I have to make sure that I continue to balance my dedication to this Club with my own personal safety.

Everything seemed alright on the Island. I had to rush over to my mini sailing dock to secure it and to drag the duck boards away from the shore. I also had a canoe down there that needed to be rescued. The biggest hassle might be that there is a lot of stuff collecting on the swim float that we launched last Sunday. There is actually a sixty-foot tree stuck to it right now.

Since the ferry is closed today, (speaking of dedication) I thought that maybe I could go off and do something off-Island but I think I better stay put. There is still so much water headed this way and they don't seem to have updated the predictions yet. The Monacacy River is in flood stage and the gage at Edwards ferry has already surpassed the earlier predictions. Thankfully, most of the rain fell in the east, so that the gages above the Monacacy are actually going down. But we can't relax, there is still more rain predicted all week, bummer.

Thursday-- June 28, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 77


The ferry is now open.

Thursday-- June 28, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.1     Water Temperature: 77


Ferry is closed as of now but maybe the river will go down later today. Maybe.

Saturday-- June 23, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 77


The ferry is closed today.

Friday-- June 22, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 77


We're open on this rainy Friday and some folks are here for a first-day-of- summer, wet canoe trip. It's smart to come here today, rain or no rain, because it looks like the ferry may be closed all weekend on account of the high water.

Thursday-- June 21, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 77


Happy Summer Solstice! Normally it would be time to celebrate all of the river fun at Sycamore Island but sadly, it keeps on raining, and the river is still muddy brown and we may have to close the ferry because of more flooding.

Thanks to all of the enthusiastic volunteers that we had here on Sunday. We really got a lot done. So much in fact that I couldn't assign the chores fast enough. We accomplished a lot but there is still more work to be done. I want to take the damaged canoe and sheet metal to the scape yard but we need to remove the rest of the damaged metal roof before I make that trip. Also, I fired up the chain saw and now there are many cut-up logs that need to be moved and stacked. There is trash scattered everywhere, here and on the upper Island, and that will need to be collected and added to the pile that we will have to take to the dump. We also need to remove the old bolts from the salvaged parts of the canoe shed so that we can reuse them.

Turning my attention to the lawn.Now that it's not raining and the river has gone down, maybe I can catch up on the grass-cutting. It's getting pretty bushy out there, and yet some areas are still too muddy and soft to push the mower through.

Friday-- June 15, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.5     Water Temperature: 68


The ferry is closed today but we are planning to have full service tomorrow. the water will be high so please help the relief caretakers if you can. Also, please come down on Sunday between noon and 3 and help us to clean up some of the extensive flood damage and get the canoes back on the racks. Thanks.

Wednesday-- June 13, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.6     Water Temperature: 68


The river seems to be going down and things are starting to dry out around here. The recent floods have left the Island looking like scorched earth and it's going to take a lot of work to get things back to normal around here.

We did not lose any boats but there is no more yellow slide for the swim float and the "Calleva" dock that was marooned at the top of the Island has floated away too. It's funny, that dock arrived here during the flood of May 20, 2014 and was here for exactly four years to the day. Sadly, the dock that I made last year for the fish camp was not tied down well enough and was washed away as well.

The worst damage was to the canoe shed. Two gigantic Sycamores fell and one of them took out half of the roof of one of the sheds. One of the main supports was snapped by the tree and the shed will need to be rebuilt. The other sycamore fell across the trail to the bottom of the Island and that will need to be cut as well. So far I haven't heard any plans to hire help, but I think we may need to get a builder and a tree-cutting expert down here.

We were lucky in that when the tree hit the shed it only crushed two boats. One was an old fiberglass kayak that was nice but had not been used in decades. The other boat was an aluminum canoe and it took a direct hit from the tree. Both of those craft will need to be taken to the dump.

It took a few hours and some hard work but I got the ferry rope and the bell rope back up. The ferry rope I used is a temporary one that was donated by Geoff, our tree expert. I will be stringing a new rope that I bought, once the river settles down. I've started to clear the other boats from the damaged shed and I've started sawing away at the branches and broken parts of the shed. It's slow going but I'm starting to get things cleared away so we can use the sheds again.

We are definitely going to have to organize a work day to fix this place up. Hopefully the river will go down and we can get a group of volunteers here on this Sunday.

The monthly meeting will be held at John Nobles house tonight at 8:00. I'm not sure I can make it. Canoeing home in the dark in high water isn't really my thing.

Monday-- June 11, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 68


The ferry is closed, again. What a bummer!

It looks like the rain has stopped falling upstream, but there is a bunch of water headed our way from Cumberland MD. The gauge at Paw Paw WV. is cresting now(7 PM)so we'll get our crest in 36 hours. Around midnight tomorrow night.

Then we have to wait for it to slowly go down. Maybe Friday or Saturday.

Sunday-- June 10, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.1     Water Temperature: 68


We're going to open the ferry today so that we can have the orientation for the new members. The orientation has already been postponed once because of flooding, so we're going ahead with it today, and the river was nice enough to recede just enough, for us to have the event. Thanks river!

We might be closed next week so please come down today to help us put the canoes and kayaks away before I have to rehang the "ferry closed" sign. Thanks!

Tuesday-- June 5, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 12.38     Water Temperature: 68


More rain and more flooding. I used to be such an optimist.

Actually we are very lucky in many ways. The flooding today is bad but it could have been worse, like we've seen in years past. I don't want to jinx it but the river has not gotten into the building in 22 years.

This current flood is mostly just an inconvenience and a drag because of all the work it's going to take to get the boats bailed and back on the racks. Plus, we'll have to restring the bell rope and the ferry rope, again. I was forced to cut both lines when a giant tree got snagged on them. And of course, there will be mud. Lets hope we get a few sunny days to dry things out.

It was pretty crazy yesterday, getting ready for the flood. I don't know why it always seems to flood when I go away on vacation and I was up in Ohio on Sunday when they confirmed the flooding. We rushed back on Sunday night but the rain was horrid so we stopped near Pittsburgh. By the time we arrived at the ferry landing it was after one o'clock on Monday afternoon and the river was over ten feet. Mary was with me to send me off but she stayed on the mainland. It's a little intimidating when you stand at the steps and it seems like the river is at eye level and the ferry rope is six inches above the river. but no worries, I've done the crossing many times in high water and it's never as bad as it looks.

I bailed out the canoe that I had locked up on the steps, loaded my supplies, and shoved off. I paddled straight out past the Sycamore before I turned the canoe to face upstream. The current was very fast but I was able to paddle across and get behind the eddy created by the ferry that was secured on the island and floating up into the trees. I shouted to Mary that all was well as I steered the canoe into the shade of the Island and up toward the board walk.

We knew the river was going to go up before I left town, so many things, like the ferry, were already prepared for the flood. What I didn't do before I left town, since I really didn't think it was going to flood this bad, was tie down all of the boats. So when I looked across the flooded lawn, my heart sank at what I saw. Two dozen canoes and kayaks floating from the bottom racks of the canoe shed and from the Club canoe racks, all floating around upside down and slowly heading for the main stem of the current on the far side of the Island. The funny thing was, we had just untied and restocked all of the canoes and kayaks on Thursday after the last flood we had. This is the kind of thing that happens when you get two floods in two weeks.

I quickly put on my waders, grabbed a whole bunch of rope, and jumped back into the canoe. I had to work fast because I could tell that the river was getting higher by the minute. I managed to lasso all of the boats and tie them off to trees. Then I went along and secured all of the boats on the second rack. By now the water was crotch-high and I took off the waders and jumped into the water to tie down as many boats as I could before the current got too strong.

That's when I heard the bell start to ring and I knew that the ropes were in the river and in the path of all of that flood debris roaring downstream. It didn't take long and before I knew it there was a huge tree stuck on the ferry rope and pulling it like an archers bow. I paddled across the Island and worked my way around all of the floating trees and reached up and cut the ropes. That's twice in two weeks that I had to take down the ferry rope. Unheard of.

The last things I had to rescue were the bird feeders and I think the birds really appreciated that. They don't seem to mind that the feeder is so close to the house now. I guess we all have to adapt to the high water, and the tiny Island.

The song birds are not the only ones keeping me company. Our baby deer is still here, and I saw the mommy deer too. I scared up the turkey again and the great blue herons are now fishing by the shed and by the deck!

Friday-- June 1, 2018
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.1     Water Temperature: 68


The ferry is closed and will reopen on Tuesday June 5 if the river goes down.