While I’m trying to stay cool and dry to recover from Poison Ivy, I thought I’d catch up on some events that have occurred at Windhaven. How did an experienced biologist get a bad case of Poison Ivy, you ask? Well let me tell you.
Last weekend as the flood waters reached their maximum in Lake Thunderbird, 1048.23 feet AMSL, Jim and I made plans to go kayaking. The Saturday morning was perfect: sunny, not too hot, no wind. We set in just about ten feet off the road and paddled across the meadow to the willow trees that bordered the lake. The lake was pure glass and a little disorienting because the normal landmarks were deep underwater. We paddled across the lake and poked around some of inlets and bays. We could cut through the forest to get from one bay to another. A little trickier now that the water was into the crowns of the understory and all the fallen trees were floating on the surface. The smaller trees were easy enough to paddle over or push out of the way, but the floating mats of bamboo cane had to be circumnavigated.
Then we headed down to the corner of the our block. When you look at the photo it looks like a serene bay, when in actuality, it’s over four feet of water covering a road. The fauna quickly moved in to take advantage of the new niche. I saw several species of sunfish, and a large gar swam under my boat. Fish fry were swimming in the shallows and there were swarms of tiny boatmen bugs in the water.
Another portion of the road was flooded over this rise and we managed to get to it by kayaking through the forest from the lakeside.
This is our proof that we really are on a road. The duckweed accumulated on the east end of the Lindsey St. from the prevailing winds, but there was still a lot in the forest itself (future fertilizer) and you could hear the carp in the forest sucking it up.
After a nice chat with a neighbor who was also checking out the floodwater, we headed back out to the lake and into the other flooded portion of the street, where Peter met us with Odo. Odo loves Jim and trotted right out into the water to meet him (Odo is not the most confident dog when it comes to water).
This water was hip deep, and a good place for Odo to wade. So Jim and I coaxed him out until his back legs were floating. I thought we’d cajoled him as far as he’d go so I turned back and told Odo we’d go see Peter. That’s when the trouble started. I guess in Odo’s little dog mind he thought trees meant dry land and started angling off the road towards the forest. Unfortunately the road is considerably higher than the forest floor, and before I could stop him he was swimming into the woods and inevitably got caught up on a submerged shrub. I hesitated a few moments, hoping in vain that he’d get himself free … of course not. Luckily I was wearing shoes and I plunged into the woods before he started to panic. As the water rose to my chest, I looked down to see a lush hedge of briars and poison ivy. My only thought was “Oh well, what choice have I got”, and I pushed through it. The water was neck deep by the time I reached Odo, still swimming in the shrub. I lifted him over the shrub by his collar and he continued to swim as I lead him back to the road. He was still tangled, and I lifted him up with an arm under his chest and removed the vines that were caught around his hips. As I walked up the embankment, still with ann arm under his chest, the dog continued to swim, even though all four feet were out of the water (some autonomic reflex?).
Odo was no worse for wear but I had all kinds of scratches and punctures, and sure enough within two days I had the beginnings of a bad Poison Ivy reaction. As I scratch my numerous lesions, I take consolation in that I took one for the family, in rescuing our silly dog.