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Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: June 2000
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « May 2000 | July 2000 »
6/26/00 - Ruthie and I just returned from a quick three day canoe trip in the Parent River/Isabella River area. We practically had to push wildlife out of our way. Eagles, hawks, golden eye ducks, and egg-laying western painted turtles everywhere. On Boga Lake our campsite was a major nesting area for the local turtles. At any moment the campsite was ringed by half a dozen turtles waiting to crawl up and lay their eggs in the soft, warm soil. During dinner, one particularly desperate turtle came climbing up the bank and crawled directly toward us. Ruthie picked up a twig and brandished it in mock defense. The turtle stopped three feet in front of us and carefully looked at each of us in turn. She patiently worked her way over the rough terrain, skirting our position, and started to dig a hole for her eggs. She was contentedly laying them when we turned in for the night.

There is a canoe trip of ex-Sawbill crew members departing this morning. Mike MacMillan and his wife Leigh, Will Decker, Sandy Zinn, John "OB" Oberholtzer, and Kathleen Heikes will be canoeing for the next few days. We are trying to press them into temporary employment while they're here, but they are carefully avoiding our enticements.

We've had a lot of rain in the last week, dropping the fire danger and raising the water levels.

6/19/00 - Sawbill crew member, Dave Freeman, went for a paddle last night and took these snapshots on the south end of Sawbill Lake.

A beaver goes about his business.

A nesting loon trying to look inconspicuous.

6/15/00 - The fire ban has been lifted. As of today, fires are allowed between 7 PM and midnight in the "restricted area" and allowed anytime in the rest of the wilderness. In our area, the restricted area includes Sawbill and Alton Lakes, and everything roughly east and north of here. The Lady Chain, Kawishiwi Lake up to Malberg and everything roughly west of there is in the unrestricted area.

We got a wonderful letter from long time customer and friend Jim Nelson today:

Dear Bill, Cindy, Frank & Mary Alice:

First, I found my sunglasses in my fanny pack, which I carried with me over the Memorial Weekend, but never opened all the way. Dumb!

Second, I wanted to thank you for your part in helping Scott, my three grandsons and myself have a great time. I know you didn't have anything to do with the weather, but it was pretty good. For each of the three grandsons, Zach and Colin (the 7-year-olds) and Jacob, the 11-year-old), catching their fish was by far the highlight. You should have seen the smiles on their faces when we reached Des Moines. (As I think of it, Scott & I had Cheshire grins as well.)

That was for me, and I believe for Scott as well, a perfect opportunity to introduce those three young boys to the lore of the north land with its unique and bountiful history. One of the seven-year-olds, Zach, mentioned that the BWCAW was his idea of paradise. (Not that he was coached, or anything -- his two uncles, mother and grandpa would NEVER influence such a delicate mind!) He said that, however, last winter before he had ever been there.Of course, I think he was right, and I believe he confirmed it for himself in those four days.

They were each entranced with the place, from the soaring eagles, to the primordial language of the loon, to the glassy gift of a peaceful lake getting ready for the night's rest as it reflects a golden sunset full of the promise of a beautiful tomorrow.

Come to think of it, so was I. I can't wait to get back.


Jim Nelson

Scott Hall rode his bike and trailer combination up to Sawbill from Minneapolis last week. He left his bike with us and took a five day solo canoe trip, then rode back to Duluth to meet and friend and continue his vacation in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

6/11/00 - We've been entertained the last few days watching people get out of there cars after driving up from the south. Everywhere south of Duluth has been baking in 90+ degree heat. The high temperature along the North Shore yesterday was about 45. Here at Sawbill, folks stepped out of their cars into the chilled air and were instantly sporting goose bumps the size of actual geese. They dove back into their cars in search of long pants and down vests.

Sawbill crew members Annie Olson and Ruthie Hansen recently finished a 48 hour Wilderness First Responder certification course at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. The course, taught by B.J. Kolstadt, prepares Annie and Ruthie to respond to emergencies requiring first aid within the wilderness. It is comforting for us to have trained First Responders on our staff.

6/9/00 - Summer is fully arrived at Sawbill. The black flies are nearly a bad memory as friendly dragon flies replace them. The no-see-ums arrived with a vengeance last evening, due to the balmy temperatures and low winds. These tiny pests only affect a minority of people. Some people think they are literally a joke, but those of us who endure the itching, burning welts are not laughing. The unpleasant sensation only lasts for about 20 minutes and they do respond to repellents, so they aren't too bad.

The leaves are fully out now. The blossoming bushes are done and the bunch berry and strawberries are taking over.

The male members of the Sawbill crew spent the night in the wilderness recently. The object of their trip was to terrorize the lake trout on a certain lake. They returned with many stories of fabulous fishing and three actual fish. The three lake trout, yielding their dense, rich meat, fed ten people with plenty of leftovers.

Cindy and I missed the fish dinner because we were guests at a gourmet dinner at Papa Charlie's restaurant at the Lutsen Mountains ski area. They have recently hired two wonderful new chefs and the dinner was offered to local business owners to introduce their talents. They are using many local ingredients (lake trout, wild rice, maple syrup and wild mushrooms, among others) to create truly delicious food. Life is hard here in the north country. - Bill

5/29/00 - Whew! The busy Memorial Day weekend has passed. Paul Lundgren, a former Sawbill crew member, and his friend Cindy came to help us out. I would like to thank all the other former crew members who have pitched in to help us this spring: Steve Surbaugh, Kate Surbaugh, Natasha Warner, Jason Morse, Karl Hansen, and Lee Stewart. Special thanks to Kathleen Heikes, who is not a former crew member, but also helped out immensely during the start up season. It is great fun for us to have these fine friends come, visit and work along side us for awhile.

Many canoeists reported seeing moose this weekend. The babies are all born now and the mothers keep them near water for the first few weeks of their lives. Several sets of twins were spotted. - Bill

Sawbill Outfitters is a proud member of Northeastern Minnesotans For Wilderness which is working to organize the many people who support the wilderness and happen to live in northeastern Minnesota. Visit their site for more information on BWCA Wilderness issues and what you can do to help protect the BWCA Wilderness.
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « May 2000 | July 2000 »


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