Bob is a who early in his career developed a knack for charting data and sharing it with colleagues, and also writing farewell songs to them when they left. Bob ended up staying in the swamp where he eventually learned to blog.
And who’s to say it wouldn’t have been the perfect spot. At the confluence of where the Chesapeake and its main tributary meet, two centuries ago it was hard to argue it wasn’t the perfect spot. Eventually of course they picked Washington D.C., in part because the Potomac was a deeper water port, and Havre De Grace was shallower and silting in. Or maybe there were other reasons, too. My point: Havre De Grace went on to miss out on being the state capital (to Annapolis) and county seat (to Bel Air), too. Talk about a fall from grace! Or maybe not. Havre De Grace has an eclectic charm all its own, and is somehow preserved in time. So maybe swinging and missing at all three was its saving grace.
It makes me think about Maryland at large as being my “home state.” People always ask me: “Bob, where are you from?” My knee-jerk reaction is to say Maryland (the full state). But really when I think about it there are only two counties of the 23 that I know really well — Harford and Baltimore Counties — and can truly lay claim to knowing if not as good as the back of my hand, then as well as the bottom of my feet will ever know.
Or is it the watersheds I know best? As a kid my brother and I worshipped Deer Creek. Sometimes we told our parents we were going to church we’d drive there instead. The Gunpowder was our other spot. Unlike Deer Creek that flowed into the Susquehanna River, the Gunpowder emptied straight into the Bay. Both cut deep valleys into the Piedmont Plateau imparting a rolling landscape in reverse: the highest spots the highest remnants of the flat plateau and the waterways forming the base of the large hills.
So, am I a Marylander or a Harford/Baltimore Countian? Probably a Deer Creeker describes me best. Standing on top of the King and Queen Seat looking down, sometimes I wonder why I ever left.
My name is Bob. I’m a hydrologist who works for the National Park Service at Big Cypress National Preserve in the great state of Florida. Go Hydrology is a water cycle blog where we illuminate and celebrate the continuously changing and always interesting wetlands, waterways and watersheds of mostly south Florida.
What is Go Hydrology? And who is the mad hydrologist behind it? And was Go Hydrology an instant blog, i.e. “just add water” – or did it evolve over time? The answers to those questions and more is explored below.
My goal? To help make you feel at home in the water cycle, and also to give you an insider’s view. You won’t find any fancy talk here. Just a lot of charts, diagrams and most of all explanations of data and terms that is both current and reaches decades into the past. I may not know everything about the water, but I know enough to share.
Robert V. Sobczak is a full time poet-philosopher and sometimes hydrologist who specializes in deciphering and celebrating the water cycle of the Big Cypress Swamp where wetlands, coastal waterways, ground water aquifers and drenching downpours from mammoth meteorological events meet. Bob got his start in the water trade at a sinuous riparian run called Deer Creek (a tributary of the Susquehanna River), and in particular the stretch that runs through Rocks State Park and which Bob likes to think of as “The Yellowstone of the Mid Atlantic Piedmont Plateau region of the United States.” In his free time, Bob enjoys the endorphin rush from a good run, writing and performing an original song on his guitar (think: four chords at most and a monotone voice, usually in front of a crowd of ten), and being unable to keep any line of conversation on a linear path, although eventually looping it around.
My name is Robert V Sobczak. I am a long-time National Park Service (NPS) hydrologist and blogger who got my start plotting data and “waxing poetic” (and scientific) about the water cycle in the early 2000s. Some people even say I resemble a water drop.
I am also an author – or rather, co-author – of three full-length novels called the Centennial Campfire Trilogy, including: (1) Legend of Campfire Charlie (2016), (2) Last Stand at Boulder Ridge (2018), and (3) Final Campfire(2020). The trilogy recounts the day-in-a-life of a park ranger. His mission: To make it through an epically long day at the Visitor Center to give a campfire talk at a nearby campground at 7 o’clock. Let’s just say it turns into a bit of a journey starting at the crack of dawn.
Did I mention “accidental” co-author?
Rudi and I never set out to write a book, let alone 3 of them. Our goal much simpler: All we wanted to do was team up to give a 30-minute “campfire talk” to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th Birthday, also called the Centennial. A dozen campfire talks later we decided to try to put the story in a book. One book led to another until 6-years later the 3-book trilogy was finally done.
That major milestone complete, I set out to create an online home for the books. But instead of focusing on the books, I found myself creating Campfire Park – “Home of the Campfire Talk” – and specifically CampfirePark.org. To be clear: These are not your grandfather’s campfire talks, but rather a new take on the venue that blends a little bit of the old with the new — and most importantly brings the campfire talk to your, right in the comfort of your own home.
An unexpected surprise happened while making Campfire Park. And this is where it gets a little crazy, but in a good way. For many years I wrote and performed farewell songs to colleagues leaving Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve, usually for the greener pastures of other parks. Because Rudi and my original campfire talk featured three of those songs – one called Three Jacks, another called One More Melaleuca (for the Road) and another called Higher Moral Ground – it only seemed natural that I include those “campfire shanties” in the the Campfire Park website.
Oh, and by the way: my singer/songwriter alter ego is known locally, in the hallways of where I work – as Bobby Angel. Important caveat: I did not give myself that name. But you know how nicknames are. Sometimes they just stick. And Bobby Angel stuck. And over the years, as the songs piled up, people always (or sometimes) asked: Those songs deserve a home.
To be honest, I never thought about it that much. And sometimes I would go a year without picking up the guitar. But because Bobby Angel songs were featured in our original campfire talks, and because — and here is the really important point — Bobby Angel was featured as a “Bob Dylan-esque” character in 3 books Rudi and I co-wrote, the Bobby Angel website (BobbyAngel.org) naturally took form.
Bobby Angel’s specialty is penning and performing nature-folk/campfire shanties. My first album – New Pangaea – includes 10 nature shanties woven together with interviews on each song and a beguiling epilogue at the end, soon thereafter followed by my second studio work called The Green Album (and loosely modeled off of The Beatles White Album).
To bring this story home, the same creative process that fueled Campfire Park and Bobby Angel website inspired me to bring my Go Hydrology website into the Word Press website building platform. No longer a single website, I was managing multiple websites; but they all seemed connected, too, to a broader overarching concept called the Nature Folk Movement (NFM).
What exactly is the NFM?
In a nutshell, its goal is to reconnect society and individuals with the traditional activities and values that have been taken away, or devalued, by smart phone culture and the internet.
So there you have it,
That’s my story of how Go Hydrology got its start, and how it’s evolved over time. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to subscribe. You’ll get the Weekly Wave newsletter sent straight to your email inbox about the water about once per week.