Sunday, June 9, 2024

Water is back in the canal

Top of Lock 22 (Pennyfield Lock)

In mid May I was at Great Falls along the C and O canal and noticed that the canal had been re-watered there.  I didn't know how far north they had put water back in the canal.

The canal hasn't had water in it for a few years. I actually don't remember the last time I saw it with more than a trickle of water.  The park service was replacing the locks and doing other canal maintenance all last year, I even posted about it once last year.  In 2018 and 2020 I posted about the canal at Great Falls tavern, but I think some parts of the canal to the north had water at the time.

The canal is at least mostly full between Great Falls and Lock 23 Violett's Lock. That is also the location of Inlet Lock 2, and the canal hasn't had water in it above that spot in my memory.  The water does look low, Above Swains lock it could use another foot or two of water. I'm not sure if it is still in the process of being filled or if this is the new normal.  Some spots, mostly where creeks flow into the canal are shallow enough that you can see the running water.

Islands of plants growing in the water of the canal.

Muskrat swimming in the canal

This is the first time I have ever seen a muskrat in the wild. They look alot like narrow-tailed beavers. This one totally ignored my while it swam, dove, and nibbled on grass.

 I'll also note that I drove on Canal Road on Sunday and the part of the canal near Georgetown still has no water in it.




Friday, May 31, 2024

Trees removed at the Tidal Basin

 To the right of the inlet bridge they have cut down all the trees and piled them up.  The Jefferson Memorial is in the background.

he project to rebuild the seawalls at the Tidal Basin in DC has started.  I have been watching this closely all year and went to see the cherry blossoms a couple of times this spring since for the next 3 years there will be fewer trees and fewer walkways while the project progresses.

They started removing the trees on Friday and I went there on Sunday, hoping to pay my last respects to the fallen trees, to walk amongst the stumps and maybe lay my hands on the rough bark.

 It wasn't that easy though.  an eight foot tall fence surrounds the construction area, which runs from the Jefferson Memorial to the FDR memorial.  You can't get anywhere close to the trees. The fence is covered with black fabric so it is hard to see through as well.

I particularly wanted to see "Stumpy" the scraggly tree that was in the news so much this year.  I couldn't get within a hundred feet of it due to the fence. I couldn't even see the stump since a second privacy fence surrounded it.

The small portion of fence in the middle is where Stumpy grew. All you can see of it is fence around it's stump.  The tide was coming in while I was there and you can see part of the walkway has flooded. This is part of the area where the seawalls are being raised.

To the left of the inlet bridge they have also cut down trees.  You can see the white railings of the sidewalk that goes to the walkway around the tidal basin. To the right of them were a couple of beautiful trees that hung low over the walkway and necessitated warning signs about low branches. These trees have been removed.

In addition to the area around the tidal basin, one of the fields to the west of it has been fenced off any there is a giant crane and other construction equipment therer. Also, areas along the Potomac River that are also getting rehabilitated have been closed.






Sunday, May 26, 2024

Tri Pointe Northpark townhome construction

Tri Pointe Northpark is a long strip of townhouses going in on Josiah Henson Parkway in North Bethesda. This is diagonally across from Pike and Rose. The first set of townhouses are going in. Tri pointe advertises that these will have four levels.

The first set of townhouses are going in. These townhouses are some of the few that abut Montrose Road.  There used to be a Sunoco gas station on this spot.

 These are the fronts of those same townhouses. They will face an interior street.

There is a lot of bare dirt and cleared ground, there will clearly be a lot more townhouses here when they are done.




Saturday, May 25, 2024

Calm Cabin John Creek

 I took this picture yesterday afternoon while walking Along Cabin John Creek in Cabin John Park. It was a beautiful day and today looks like it will be great as well.





Tuesday, May 21, 2024

New right turn arrow at Fernwood and Democracy


A month or two ago they put a "No Turn on Red" sign for the right turn from Democracy Blvd east onto Fernwood Rd south.  This caused significant backups in the morning and evening rush as people had to wait to turn even when there was no one around.  Today they fixed it by adding a right turn arrow at the intersection.

This arrow is green when the northbound Fernwood Rd traffic has a green light.  This lets a lot more cars turn onto Fernwood Rd and this evening there was no line of people waiting.


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Sugarloaf Mountain at night


Sugarloaf mountain and stars
Last Friday and Saturday nights there was lots of solar activity and the Aurora Borealis was visible very far south. In the DC area it was cloudy both nights so I don't know if it would have been viewable.  Sunday night there was supposed to be a chance of strong solar activity so I decided to try and view them.  Since where I live is fairly bright, I went up close to Sugarloaf Mountain. I hoped to get a shot with the Northern Lights behind Sugarloaf.

I didn't see the lights, but I did get a couple of interesting nighttime shots.  This morning I checked Spaceweather and found that the Aurora wasn't visible anywhere near here.

In this picture, Sugarloaf mountain is backlit by the lights of Frederick reflecting  off some thin clouds. Above the hill the stars shine brightly.

clump of trees and gravel road

Lights from the parking lot I was in partially illuminate the ground and trees. Power lines run along the right side.

Sugarloaf Streak
On the left, the grass and gravel road is illuminated by lights in a parking lot. In the distance at the center is Sugarloaf Mountain, and on the right is a streak of an airplane.









Monday, May 13, 2024

The Great Southern Brood of cicadas

Around Montgomery County, Maryland, Brood X, the 17 year cicadas that last emerged in 2021 get all the attention.  But we  get some 13 year cicadas around here too. Brood XIX, the Great Southern Brood makes a limited appearance this year.  Today I saw the first of these periodical cicadas. It's a bit early for them, the ones in 2021 came out in late May to early June.


I know not everyone eagerly awaits the invasion, but it is amazing that these slow, dumb, long-lived insects survive at all.  



Sunday, May 12, 2024

ELP Bethesda construction


The first building is going in. Here is the side of it seen from Fernwood Rd at the bridge over I-270.

ELP Bethesda Phase 1-A will be a continuing care retirement community with 512 independed living units, and associated amenities in the Rock Spring area of Bethesda. This the first of two buildings for Phase 1-A, on the east side of the property. It will be 150 feet tall and 13 stories.  It will have about 247 residental units.  The second building in 1-A will be directly adjecent and will have about 265 units.

Here is the building as seen from the entrance to Democracy Plaza.

Later phases of construction will add more buildings. The total proposed project will have 1,300 independent living units, 160-210 assisted living units, and 30-50 skilled nursing units.

This is all that remains of the old Marriot headquarters, part of the basement. The new construction is in the background.

If you stand at just the right spot on Old Georgetown Road, you can see the new building going in through the trees.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Monday, April 1, 2024

Fernwood Rd at Democracy Blvd intersection improvements completed

Those of you who regularly drive Fernwood Rd might be thinking "that intersection was finished months ago, why are you just posting it now?" Well, it isn't really done until the lane markings are there and there have only been temporary ones until recently. Now it is "done done" and we can celebrate.

Looking north on Fernwood, this is where the bulk of the changers are, instead of one right and one left turn lane there are two left turn lanes and one right turn lane.  For better or for worse, you still can't go straight through the intersection.

Nice bold turn arrows, and wide crosswalk stripes.

Finally there is a crosswalk to cross Democracy Blvd on the East side of Fernwood.  You used to have to cross Fernwood, then cross Democracy, then cross Fernwood again in order to walk north on Fernwood after Democracy.

The north side of the intersection, this is the crosswalk crossing Fernwood Road. Democracy Boulevard is on the left.