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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: July 2002
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « June 2002 | August 2002 »
7/27/02 - Gray clouds had been threatening all day, and finally around 4PM, the thunder and lightening started. Before long, an all out downpour began. Its been so dry here that the ground soaked up everything it could for the first few minutes and then the puddles sprang up. The newly finished screen porch was the perfect spot to sit and watch the storm blow in. Since the gutters haven't been attached to the store yet, it was dangerous to walk by some of the overhangs, which were throwing off more water than the showers. Three hours later, the steady rain continued and the puddles were turning into rivers. The pop shed nearly washed away into the Temperance River before Max diverted the huge stream of water flowing under it. Its nearly 9PM now and a slow, steady rain continues to fall.

Water coming off the roof - free showers! Is Betsy celebrating the rain or the fact that she just finished packing for a church group of 57? Frosty is just plain dumbfounded at how wet the front half of his pants got.

7/23/02 - Our heat wave has broken. People returning from trips yesterday were wearing jackets and enjoying the cool breezes after a few days of the heat. In the brightness of the almost full moon, I could see my breath as I walked outside last night. The loons seemed to agree and were loudly celebrating in the fall-like night. -Beth

Sunset over Little Saganaga

7/19/02 - The store is just days away from being officially "Finished". The painters are cleaning up their brushes for the last time today. While we're sad to see their cheerful faces leave Sawbill, we're happy to have all of the plastic coverings removed from the windows and feel the fresh air blow through the store again. A few small projects are left to be done and the plants and flowers for landscaping are patiently waiting near the shower house for their permanent new homes.

A freshly painted Sawbill.

7/18/02 - We received the following message from Steve Gendron, who takes a census of loons every year:

Hello Bill. The results of the 2002 Loon Counting are in.

1) Sawbill Lake- 6 adults, 1 very small juvenile, plus a young, though
large bull moose swimming from west to east across the middle part of the
2) Burnt lake- 3 adults, 1 juvenile
3) Flame lake-2 adults
4) Smoke lake- 2 adults, 2 juveniles
5) Fourmile lake- 3 adults, 1juvenile, plus a cow moose and calf on each
side of the lake.
6) Richey lake- 3 adults
7) Fox lake- 0

I am also happy to report the return of "Bullwinkle", the young bull moose
I'd seen in the pond just off #170 for several years running but haven't
seen in 3 years. He's got a pretty nice set of antlers but is as photogenic
as ever.


7/16/02 - The weather continues to be hot and dry. Its in the mid 90's today. We just received notice that the partial fire-ban will be reinstated as of Friday, July 19th. Fires will be allowed only between 7PM and Midnight in the designated blow-down area.

Its been a somewhat slow summer as far as fishing goes. People are coming back from trips saying they caught enough walleyes and northerns for a meal or two, but we've had few reports of really great fishing so far. The small-mouth bass were biting well a few weeks ago on Alton and Beth, but that seems to have slowed down a bit. With the hot weather, the water levels are dropping and the water is warming up quite a bit so I don't expect the fishing to pick up much in the next few weeks.

7/10/02 - The weather has finally cooled down a bit here. We'd had a string of HOT, HOT days in the 80's and 90's where it seemed necessary to spend more time floating on an inner tube in the cool waters of Sawbill Lake than finishing work. Today is a bit overcast with a refreshing breeze cooling us down.

There have been very few reports of bear sightings or problems with bears in food packs so far this summer. The invasion of the tent caterpillars provided lots of food for the bears and kept them out of people's cars and food packs. The tent caterpillars have all but disappeared now and we've had a bear roaming in the campground the last couple of nights. It is a very smart bear that has specifically targeted cars with food in them. So, if you're headed up to the campground, you'll want to bring a blanket or something to cover any coolers that are left in your car. Bears can recognize coolers and go after them in cars. If you're heading out on a canoe trip, be sure to bring bear ropes for tying your food bag up in trees. -Beth

A field of lupine in bloom along the Sawbill Trail

7/8/02 - Our wonderful Sawbill Campground hosts, Jim and Rachel TerBeest, arrived a couple of weeks ago from Omaha. Joining them on the trip up were their daughter, former Sawbill crew member Laura Strubbe and her husband Ezra, along with Laura and Ezra's daughter Tori. Tori, almost 2 years old, became the official Store Greeter. Everyone who left the store was sent on their way with a chipper "Bye Bye!",

The TerBeest's have been enjoying their time here and have come up with a new system for doing their campground rounds. They tried using Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who would get to drive the golf cart, but neither wanted to ride shotgun. After much debate, they came up with a method where they could both be happy. - Beth

The TerBeest's - both in the driver's seat. Tori modeling store apparel.

7/4/02 -The long 4th of July weekend has had a sunny, warm, and busy start. The flies that follow the army worms seem to be disappearing. They were incredibly thick for a couple of weeks, forming solid layers on walls, packs, and people. The mosquito's seem to be picking up a bit. Construction work is winding down on the store and the exterior painting has begun. The bottom logs have received their brick red coating and the rest will follow soon.

The back side of the half painted store.

A hard-helmut sized snapping turtle sunning on the rocky shores of Duck Lake. Hazy sunsets and gentle south breezes high above Little Sag. An afternoon splattering of raindrops falling on the twisted and torn tree trunks of Gabimichigami. Launching ourselves from the rocks of Malberg Lake into the cool deep water, trying to escape the sun. A fish dangling from the osprey's talons, not ready to admit defeat over the still water of Boze Lake. Six sunny, buggy days of exploring, adventures, and laughter. -Beth

7/3/02 - This email just came in from Forest Service Wilderness Ranger, Ellen Hawkins:

Mulligan – Grassy Portage, on the Brule – Winchell route, has been impacted by beaver activities. People who have traveled this way before may remember poling their way through the shallow muddy waters of Grassy, and then portaging along the edge of the dry beaver meadow of upper Grassy Lake. This year, a new beaver dam has caused the water to rise, flooding the old landings and some stretches of the Grassy – Wanihigan Portage. Please give visitors (both those who are traveling north from Brule, and people who intend to stay on Brule but want to do the Lily – Cliff – Cones loop as a day trip), the following advice: Bypass that route, and paddle through the Cones and Cliff Lake to get to Winchell. This is not only the easiest route, by far, at this point, but will also help prevent the inevitable damage to vegetation and soil that comes with people trying to get around wet spots.

Because beavers are a natural, and important, part of wilderness, we won’t do anything to interfere with their activities. People who choose to travel this route will find the Grassy landings wet but reasonably easy to use. Northbound paddlers should bypass the old landing on the south end of the Mulligan – Wanihigan portage, and paddle through the grass to a new landing further north along the shore. This will get them past the most difficult flooded stretch. The new landing is hard to spot – they should watch carefully as they paddle along the east shore. Once on the portage, they’ll still have to get through a wet stretch of about 100’ that’s up to a foot deep.

This situation could change due to the beavers’ failing to maintain the dam, to the expected drop in water level that usually happens toward summers’ end, and to our activities. Within the next few weeks we will probably do some work that will make the new landing easier, and the old one harder, to spot, possibly do minor rerouting of the Mulligan – Wanihigan portage, or perhaps put a boardwalk across the deepest flooded area.

Insect update: Looks like tent caterpillars are beginning to pupate, so they should be disappearing, and bare trees beginning to leaf out again, soon. Friendly flies were less numerous today than they were over the weekend: still a nuisance, but not a nightmare. The bad news is that mosquitoes were fairly thick on the long, wet Grassy – Wanihigan portage – maybe we won’t escape them this year after all.

7/1/02 - We have a new employee. With my run for the legislature, I obviously won't be of much use this summer as a Sawbill employee. Peter Jordan comes to us by way of Indiana and Illinois. He is an experienced camper and an Outward Bound graduate. He plans to make his home in New Orleans after the season ends. - Bill

Peter Jordan
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « June 2002 | August 2002 »


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