We are lucky. In so many ways we are lucky. But this spring we are especially fortunate because Rosslyn boathouse is dry. Lake Champlain water levels are low. Our waterfront weathered winter — what winter there was — and spring without incurring the destructive flooding which tormented us a year ago.
The dock is in. The ski runabout is in. The Adirondack chairs are lined up along the waterfront. The beach and lawn and gardens are recovering from last spring’s endless inundation.
But all is not forgotten. Fully half of Rosslyn’s waterfront, maybe more, remains a boulder piled mess. Thousands of pounds of stone rip-rap installed last spring to stabilize NYS Rt. 22 buried two hundred year old cut stone retaining walls.
But we are rebuilding. Slowly. Steadily recovering from the 2011 Lake Champlain floods.
In recognition of our current good fortune, and as an incense infused offering to the weather gods, I’ve compiled some snippets from blog posts past chronicling the anxious weeks-turned-months of flooding that Rosslyn boathouse endured.
I hope you’ll enjoy looking backward into the soggy past, even if for no other reason than the our boathouse is currently dry, high above Lake Champlain’s surface! For me, these words and images inspire a deep sigh of relief.
April 28: Lake Champlain Flood Defies History
According to this USGS data for Lake Champlain we’re making history. To be more precise, Lake Champlain’s water levels are making history… I can assure you that Rosslyn boathouse is now swamped… I’m worried that heavy wave action combined with a large floating log or two acting as a battering ram against the boathouse superstructure could be devastating. (Boathouse Needs a Snorkel)
April 28: Flooding Closes Essex-Charlotte Ferry
Of course, if the ferry dock is under water, then Rosslyn boathouse isn’t far behind! As of mid-morning today, the water had risen about 6″ above the floor boards… So far the winds have remained low, minimizing boathouse damage from large logs and other flotsam surging against the dock, railings and walls. (Essex-Charlotte Ferry Flooded Out)
April 29: Waterfront Damaged, Boathouse Okay
Most of the drama surrounds the boathouse, especially since we’ve worked long and hard to restore it to health and happiness. But the waterfront is another big concern. Major erosion already, and that’s with relatively light wind and minimal wave action. Big wind and big waves could be catastrophic… Although we haven’t finished landscaping the entire waterfront, roughly a third (about 80′) looked great up until a few days ago. We’ve rebuilt the stone walls and planted a lawn on the terrace above the beach. The rear edge of the lawn, following the base of the next stone terrace had grown into a handsome day lily bed that stretched the full eighty feet. Spectacular in summer. Now virtually erased by drift wood grinding and churning in the waves. All hand planted. All pampered through the first season. All healthy and thriving earlier this week. All gone now. Memories. I can only hope that some of the bulbs are intact, floating around Lake Champlain, and that they will wash up on people’s beaches and surprise them this summer with heirloom blooms! (Lake Champlain vs. Rosslyn Boathouse)
May 1: Boathouse Submerged, Precautions Taken
Two sections of aluminum docking had gotten twisted and battered by waves and floating logs, and this morning the larger of the two had been knocked over the lowest stone retaining wall and lay upended on the submerged beach. Because the water’s now over my head on the beach and my waders only reach up to my chest, I had to work carefully from the terrace above the beach, slowly hauling the dock back up, waves and gravity working against me.
Before recovering the docks I waded through the boathouse. We’re no longer able to shut the main door because the water has swollen the bottom half too much to fit in the doorjamb. The water’s now thirteen inches deep inside, covering the first step and part of the second step leading up to the second floor. The two louvered doors leading out to the pier on the lake side had been battered all night by the waves, and the hinges were ripping. The temporary fastener we’d used to secure the doors was gauging the waterlogged wood. I released the doors and opened them wide, holding one side back with a rope and the other side back with a large stone. Now the water is surging through the inside of the boathouse, still tugging the doors against their restraints, but hopefully the damage will be less severe with them open. (Need a Hand?)
May 13: Flood Undermines Road and Waterfront
I’m still soggy and still anxious about the waves rolling through the interior of the boathouse and crashing against the rapidly eroding bank supporting Route 22, but I’m beginning to see that the glass is half full after all. And Lake Champlain? It’s still overfull! (Re-roofing and Flood Proofing)
June 1: Emergency Measures to Save Road
The good news is that the [boathouse] structure remains sound, and damage so far has been minimal. Unfortunately we identified increasing surface mold… green, gray and black fuzzy mold!
Beneath the water level inside and outside, everything is covered in slippery, green algae… all of the surfaces that have been saturated for the better part of two months. And until the water level falls another 18″ or so, we’ll need to continue monitoring the waterfront from large debris, trees, etc. Constant vigilance and quick log wrangling has saved the structure significant damage so far…
New York State DOT engineers [determined that road/waterfront] erosion was far more severe… completely eliminating most of the embankment and undermining the road. The pavement began to crack in deep fissures running parallel to the lake as the weight of the road caused it to settle and s