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Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: January 2001
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « December 2000 | February 2001 »
1/30/01 - Dave Freeman has been living at the Sawbill Lake Campground for the last few days. He has been testing and preparing for his six week Border Country Adventure, which starts on February 1st. He will be joined for the full length of the trip by his faithful sled dog, Tundra. For the first week of the trip he will also be accompanied by John "OB" Oberholtzer. For the last week of the trip, Dave will travel with Harriet Settle. All, except Tundra, are former Sawbill crew members. Dave will be updating his website, by satellite phone during the entire adventure. He has hundreds of school children signed up to follow his adventure and learn about the winter wilderness.

1/19/01 - We received this email and photograph from Tom Weiss:

The attached photo is one that I took in early September 2000 at the east end
of Grace in the early morning. A low layer of fog lifted and left just a
little bit towards the southeast. It was an incredible sight.

Grace Lake, September 2000

1/15/01 - I had a wonderful set of skiing experiences this past weekend. Adam Hansen, on vacation from college, invited six of his old friends from high school to come up and visit. On Friday, the seven college students, the four resident Hansens, and OB spent an enjoyable day at the Lutsen Mountains Ski Area shredding some alpine action. I spent the morning working on my snowboarding technique, which means trying to get down the hill without major injury. In the afternoon, I put on the downhill skis for the first time in nearly ten years. Saturday, I enjoyed a perfect circuit of the "Picnic Loop," a local ski trail that is famous for its 30 kilometers of remote beauty. On Sunday, I skied down the Cascade River to its mouth with OB and former Sawbill crew member, Will Decker. Four styles of skiing in three days - nirvana. - Bill

Better companions for a day of sublime back country skiing cannot be found. Will Decker and John (OB) Oberholtzer. 1/14/01

Ice climbers encountered along the Cascade River on 1/14/01. As we skied below, I thought of all the various and rich activities taking place on this magic day in this charmed place.

1/9/01 - We received the following email today:

Hello! I just wanted to share with you the wonderful sight my husband
and I just watched. We live 16 miles from a lock/dam on the Mississippi
River in northeast Missouri. The river is mostly frozen with only a
small amount of open water below the dam. We counted over 70 bald
eagles. Some immature and a few golden eagles in about 1/4 of a mile of
the river. Some were in trees on the rivers edge while most were either
flying or sitting on the icy river. Some would fly toward the sun and
cast a shadow on the ice while others would fly low over the open water
and present a perfect reflection in the ice blue water. We were lucky to
see one grab a not so lucky fish in its huge talons. Not only did we
thrill at seeing the majestic birds, but many were even vocalizing to
us. Most winters we see a few eagles, only 10 or so, but with our
"extreme" winter we have had so far, there were many more than normal.
Luckily, winter is on hold temporarily for us, with 2 days in a row
above 32!!!!
We really enjoy your newsletter, keep up the marvelous descriptions.

Jan Kitzing
Lewistown, MO

PS Seeing the eagles makes us even more anxious to go north

1/1/01 - I observed my traditional New Year's moment last night by greeting the midnight hour on the ski trail. Every year brings a new revelation. This year, the sky was overcast with a light, hazy overcast. The planets and the brightest stars were glowing behind the haze, tuning them into fuzzy balls many times their normal size. My headlamp had weak batteries, so I turned it off except for the tricky sections of trail. As my eyes adjusted to the blackness, the twin tracks of the trail began to softly glow for about six feet in front of my skis. The trees, stumps, and snowbanks only became visible when they loomed out of the darkness about twelve feet ahead. I found myself flying down the trail, only able to react to changes that were happening immediately. The sense that time was passing became suspended and I skied in the moment, with my heart in my throat.

There is a new section to our ski trail this year. It runs on a logging road down the middle of a huge clear cut just south of here. This state land has been logged almost continuously since the '70s. It appears that the logging is over now, and the remaining tote road makes a fine ski trail. The wide open spaces of the clear cut offer an unusual perspective here in the dense boreal forest where normally you can only see a few hundred yards in any direction. When I reached the top of a small rise in the clearing, I could clearly see the lights of Grand Marais reflected on the low clouds some forty miles away. The airport beacon at Grand Marais and the microwave tower near Lutsen were also visible. As I stood feeling somewhat crowded by these signs of encroaching civilization, I noticed another glow in the west. It appeared to be moving toward me and growing alternately bright and dim. I realized that it was Frank and Mary Alice driving home along the Sawbill Trail, returning from their New Year's party in Schroeder. I couldn't see the headlights themselves, nor could I hear the slightest trace of engine or road noise. I turned and resumed my headlong rush through the night toward home and a new year. - Bill
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « December 2000 | February 2001 »


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