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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: August 2001
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « July 2001 | September 2001 »
8/30/01 - We caught these two giant crayfish while fishing with our super sized Shad Rap yesterday. (Thanks to our mysterious Massachusetts benefactors for providing us with lots of entertainment).

Giant crayfish invading northern Minnesota lakes? Is skinny dipping still safe?

8/28/01 - Eight days and counting of almost perfect weather. Every returning canoeist is raving about how beautiful the weather has been. Beyond the obvious blue skies and light winds, there seems to be a clarity to the air that refreshes and renews with each breath. This is truly a golden moment in time, when we are reminded each moment of the deep and intense beauty provided by this unique, spinning blue ball. - Bill

8/23/01 - Ed Dallas, the Poet Laureate of Sawbill, writes today:

summer night downpour
a soggy sleeping bag bends
a small spruce tree

8/22/01 - We've been enjoying a visit from Ulrika Larsson, a student of eco-tourism from near Helsingborg, Sweden. Ulrika is on a two year course of study in eco-tourism. She has been in the United States since June, visiting with eco-tourism businesses and land managers. She spent several weeks in Hawaii before coming to Minnesota. While in Minnesota, she has spent time with the National Park Service at the Grand Portage National Monument., went on a week long work trip with Forest Service wilderness rangers in the BWCA Wilderness, went sea kayaking on Lake Superior and finally ended up at Sawbill for five days. She will ultimately join the eco-tourism industry in Sweden in some capacity. She has been very helpful to us in the absence of about half of our regular crew who have departed for school. Besides being a hard and willing worker, she is pleasant to visit with and has a great accent :-) We wish we could keep her, but she is bound for Montana before her return to Sweden at the end of September.

Ulrika Larsson

8/16/01 - The black bears have been pesky from time to time this summer. Right after the 4th of July there were suddenly bears everywhere. For about ten days virtually every returning group had a bear story to tell. Then, just as suddenly, they disappeared. It is no coincidence that the blueberries began to ripen at about the same time. A couple of weeks ago the bears began to reappear in camps. There are only a few areas where they seem active right now. Beth Lake is a hotbed at the moment. One family returned from Beth last week claiming that they had five bears in their camp - at the same time! They had their food adequately hung out of reach so the bear gang wasn't successful in stealing any food, but it unnerved then enough to force a lake change. They said it appeared that the group consisted of two adults and three two year old cubs.

It is great to have an animal as beautiful and spectacular as the the North American Black Bear in our wilderness. They are smart, resourceful and fascinating. Occasionally, they ruin a canoe trip by stealing all the food. Fortunately, they are friendly to a fault and have no interest in harming humans. It is a challenge for all of us to learn to coexist with these magnificent animals.

8/10/01 - Jan Moravec, long time Sawbill canoeist, sent this along today:

Well, our annual trip to the north was once again a fabulous time and great
reuniting of this crazy group. We are now in 6 different states since I
recently moved to Tucson.

I thought I'd send along this photo to illustrate the newest look in camping
togs. The chiffon pareos started out as a joke from one of the girls but she
got the last laugh because we all ended up wearing them during the day after
swimming! Quite a fashion statement I must say. We decided that if anyone
approached our campsite and saw all these larger than life women in chiffon
pareos, they would surely think we were the sorriest bunch of campers up
there! Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thanks again for your hospitality and we are already planning for next year.

Jan Moravec
& the BWISBS

BWISBs (Big Women In Sports Bras) 2001

I took a short run on the Superior Hiking Trail last night in the blessedly cool air. The wind was tossing the tops of the shaggy barked maples. At one point I had to duck under a leaning cedar. More than any other tree, the cedar strikes me as alive and sentient. How does it perceive the world with it's roots anchored deep in the soil and its top shaped by thousands of seasonal changes? Is my passage registered as a blink of activity? Or, am I too ephemeral to even register in the cedar's slow sense of time? If you have ever held wood cut from a living cedar, you know it feels disturbingly like flesh. In spite of this, I live in a cedar house, the wood as dry and light as bones. The wood is the legacy of the living tree and inspires one to leave a similar legacy. As I ran down the damp, winding trail, I breathed a thank you to the folks who conceived and built this beautiful trail for my enjoyment. Their legacy and the cedars' are serving me well. Finishing the run, I stripped off my t-shirt and gloried in the feeling of cool air against my skin. Do I smell a hint of Fall in the air? - Bill

8/6/01 - Ed Dallas, Sawbill's Poet Laureate writes:

It has been a real joy to read all the last lines, for my haiku that was
posted on the newsletter, that have been submitted by the readers of the
newsletter. I got a real good laugh from the suggestion of "canoe graffiti"
by "Rube" Rubinstein. The mental picture of gangs of teenage boys roaming
the BWCAW, ramming their canoes into rocks at portage trails and campsites
just to leave their marks was just too much! As you know a haiku is suppose
to capture a moment in time for the reader and with that I would like to
thank Wally Neal and E.M. Schroeder for their suggestions as I have combined
theirs into the following:

modern rock paintings
red green silver marks scraped from
the hides of canoes

Their entries made be recall a canoe trip my family took on Great Slave Lake
up in the N.W.T. of Canada, back in the early 90's. We had been looking for
an old portage trail for several hours and when we did find it we also found
a long forgotten birch bark canoe repair kit, that was lying up against a
spruce tree. there were several pieces of birch bark wrapped around 5
hand-carved cedar ribs and three hunks of harden spruce sap, used to melt
and seal the seams. You could still see the small holes along the edge of
the birch bark where spruce roots were used to lash the pieces of bark to
the thwart of the canoe. I could just imagine the care that guy must have
took not to run aground with his canoe. Do the modern day canoeist take that
much care? Do they have the time and knowledge to repair their canoe? Thanks
guys for bringing back that canoe trip for me. Thanks to all who suggested a
last line. I will do this project again. Now if all of you will suggest ways
to break this heat I will be grateful.

Have a good poetry day
Ed

PS....... I caught only one fish on that canoe trip, a 35lb. lake trout 53"
long!!!

8/5/01 - Wanted to pass these thoughts along, reflecting on our past week up in Gods country.
What a study in contrasts!  Starting with thunderstorms in the night, the first three nights, culminating with the outrageous storm at 1:40 am on Wednesday, August 1st.  The storm lasted until 4am  and pounded us with supposedly 80 mph winds, 2 inches of rain, and a sound and light show that even Steven Spielberg could not match.  Talk about surround-sound!  Our thoughts ran from whether our tents would hold...with us in them; would the trees stay in the ground; and would the canoes be there in the morning.
Then to have the skies clear on Wednesday afternoon, and enjoy the next three days of near perfect weather, with clear nights, a nearly full moon and lakes like glass mirrors in the morning, was really wonderful!
Experiencing these contrasting conditions made for a very memorable trip!
Hugh, Mary, Tyler and Graham Norsted

And:

How about;

Modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
awestruck paddlers' boats

or (my preference)

Modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
spellbound pilgrims' craft

I enjoy hearing about Sawbill and the adventures that others are
experiencing. It's been a long time since I've taken a BWCA trip,
hopefully I'll get a chance to experience the magic again soon.

Guy Jodarski
Neillsville, WI

8/4/01 - More suggestions for the last line of Ed Dallas', Sawbill's Poet Laureate, unfinished haiku:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by

From "Rube" Rubinstein, former Sawbill crew member (from the last century):

My line for the haiku hack... "canoe graffiti."

From E M Schroeder:

I Propose:

Modern rock paintings:
red, green, silver. Marks ripped from
the hides of canoes.

8/2/01 - Wally Neal writes:

Suggested last line for the haiku   "........wind-pushed scraping hulls."

    I never was much into poetry, as you can tell.

Liz Aicher contributes:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
sidewalk-less artists

Marerijac@aol.com tries:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
the finger of God

This reminded me of Charleton Heston in The Ten Commandments, when he walked
down from the mountain, and holding out the two tablets said, "Carved by the
finger of God."

From Carol Roe:

,How about:        Modern rock paintings
                        red, green.silver marks left by,
                        canoe and kayak.

or                     errant canoeist.

or                     reckless canoeist.

Have fun... I do enjoy your submissions to the Sawbill newsletters, Ed.   sincerely CAROL ROE

Last, but not least, from Dave Minnich:

Hey there,

I was just reading the newsletter entry for 7/31, and had the following
suggestion for Ed Dallas:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
today's voyageurs

I appreciate reading the newsletter, and look forward to our next trip
north.

--dave

8/1/01 - Earlier this summer, I was on Ogishkemuncie with a brisk west wind. I was headed east, quite nice. The day before I coasted across Kekekabic running with two-foot rollers. It felt like a dream. The day before that, the wind blew me lickety-split from Kawishiwi to Beaver Lake. Prior to the trip, I could not decide where or how far to go. From the start, the wind had clear intentions, so I followed along. In wilderness, the weather rules supreme, each variety of weather governing with a unique charm.

Charming indeed to travel with the wind for three days, as good a companion as any to help the miles ease by. I experimented with various sail ideas and decided to use the most rudimentary wind catches I had: my pack and body. Propping the pack as high in the bow as possible provided considerable push from the wind. I leaned back, paddle hooked under my arm as a rudder, and let the pack and sides of the canoe perform the work of propulsion. It was a delight riding the miles of Kekekabic this way: listening to the white caps, feeling my insides tickle with the lifting stern, and gazing up at cumulous clouds in rows to the horizon. Across Ogishkemuncie I put my back into it, standing up into wind stronger than where it drags along the water. It worked well, t-shirt plastered against my back and my legs adding a bit of sail, too. To steer, I rigidly held the paddle blade out to the side where wind would catch it and, through the axis of my body, force the bow around. The view and speed felt like ski-skating on the lakes in late winter. It was such fun. I stood all the way across Ogishkemuncie, amused and carefree, glad to be moving through the country.

I entered the calm waters of the Louse River and was without the company of the wind for a day. I woke on Malberg the final day to discover the wind suggesting a different course than that which my schedule allowed. I bucked the wind all day. At times the blowing was so fierce, the wind seemed to be pleading with me for a new direction, to keep my company a while longer. Alas, I ignored that hearty invitation, returning to the rhythms and plans of my town life. I’ll get with Wind again soon, and someday I’ll pay an appropriate visit—go for months, better acquaint myself with Wind, Sun, Moon, all of them. OB
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « July 2001 | September 2001 »

 


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