FLOOD!!!

The trails where I most often run are part of a US Army Corps of Engineers flood control project, so occasionally the trails are under water.  Usually that happens in the spring, though, and at this time of year the water is low, and the trails are dry and dusty.  I think that the ducks are conspiring against us this year, and are somehow manipulating the water level to give themselves more territory (as good as any other theory I can think of 🙂 ).

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This is the normal view from the parking lot, heading down toward the bailey bridge.

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This is what it looks like now.

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This is the bailey bridge, as seen from the dam looking upstream on a normal day.

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Standing on the dam today and looking upstream all you can see is water.  I’m guessing the bridge is under there somewhere.

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When you stand on the dam, and look down, there are markings showing how much water is flowing through. Normal for this time of year is 2 to 4 feet.

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Last fall the Corps of Engineers built a nice little bridge on a low section of trail.

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This is what the bridge looked like after Superstorm Sandy.

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You can’t get anywhere near the bridge now.

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This is the railbed, looking north from the dam last summer.

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This is the same spot now.

IMG_0671 This is a trail leading back toward my house.  The yellow poles are the ends of a gate.

I don’t mind sharing with the ducks, but this is ridiculous!

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Dragonflies: Some Cool Bugs

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I hate bugs!  I hate ants crawling in my house, and flies buzzing around my head.  I hate mosquitoes, and beetles, and just about any kind of bug that gets into my house. I hate spiders that lay webs across the trail to ambush runners.  I hate bees and other stinging things (Fat, fuzzy bumblebees are okay, though).  Junebugs and gypsy moths are gross.   Ladybugs aren’t bad, but they are a nuisance when they get into the house in the fall. But dragonflies:  they are cool!!

First, they eat mosquitoes, and anything that gets rid of mosquitoes (like bats!) has to be a good thing.  They  are predators and will eat anything that is available, like gnats, mayflies, ants, or termites.  Their main food is flies. They are not interested in biting people, and I’ve often had one land on my kayak and ride along for a while.  Dragonflies are also prey, being food for frogs, fish, birds, and even for bigger dragonflies.

Baby dragonflies are called nymphs, and live in the water for anywhere from 1 to 6 years.  Once they mature, their lifespan is only a few months. They have 6 legs, huge eyes, and two sets of wings.  There is some interesting info here.  One of the most common color of dragonflies I’ve seen lately look like this, with variegated wings.

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While dragonflies don’t bother people, they don’t seem bothered by us either.  When running down a single track trail through high grass, the dragonflies just bump along in front of you.  They never completely fly away, just bounce far enough ahead to not get stepped on.

Dragonflies come in many colors.  I have seen blue, red, green, yellow, pink, purple,  and multicolor.  I think the ones that stand out most against the outdoors are the red ones.

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The next time you are out in the woods, look for the dragonflies.  You will see them around the edges of the water, in open, grassy fields.  What do you mean, you never get out in the woods??!!  Go outside and play!