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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: September 2003
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2003 | October 2003 »
9/30/03 - Well, the snow accumulated overnight. The best part about the first snow is the subtle, fresh smell that presages the deep cold to come. - Bill

9/29/03 - We had our first snow today! There were a few flakes this morning and then several showers of heavy, wet flakes this afternoon.

Can you see the flakes against the life vest washing wall?

Adam, Clare, and Carl Hansen had a successful hunt for grouse yesterday. Adam acted as the guide, Carl did the shooting, Clare rung their necks and they all helped with the cleaning. If they get a few more next weekend, we'll all enjoy the eating. - Bill

Happy hunters, Carl, Adam, and Clare Hansen.

9/25/03 - Our used equipment is now on sale. We have a good selection of canoes, packs, tents, life vests, stoves, tents, Thermarest sleeping pads, sleeping bags and cookkits. You can see pictures and specifications at Used Equipment For Sale - Updated for Fall 2003.

9/24/03 - Rob Lerman, from New Jersey, and Chris Twarok, from Virginia, sent along these pictures from their recent canoe trip. They said the eagle kept them nearly constant company on Cherokee Lake, including waiting each evening for them to clean their fish.

9/22/03 - We received this lovely email from Mark Kitzing today:

I was sitting here looking at pictures from the Sawbill area and thought I'd share a thought.

The Paddle

The paddle leans on the thwart
I place on leg over the side and let the water
run off the other before sitting
I center myself on the seat
I hold the paddle

I hold the paddle with a familiar feel
The wood feels right in my hands
The varnish feels smooth
The worn areas with less are held

The paddle strokes three times
I switch sides with water dripping a bit on the
The paddle glides through the water several
The paddle makes an outward move as it leaves to
enter again

The paddle switched sides
The paddle in my hands, left hand on top, right
on the shaft
The paddle moves my arms shoulders, and waist
The paddle in my hands

Anyways, we've been up your way many years now, my first to the BW was 1969, and for a long time yours has been our destination. Kids are in college now. They grew up with at least one yearly trip from the age of three. Sometimes we'd canoe trip and others we'd stay at the Forest Service campgrounds. It's been my wife and I the last couple of years. Just wanted to thank you for providing the canoes I've used for many years from your livery.
I guess I'm in a mood brought on by an evening of the sound of rain, acoustic music, and a hint of fall.


9/20/03 - We had 2.5" of rain here yesterday. It was great to see the puddles standing in front of the store. It is a beautiful sunny day today. Everything is washed clean and fresh in the crisp fall air.

A hard, all day rain is a welcome sight after a dry summer.

Even though we haven't had our first frost yet, the chill in the air inspired Ed Dallas, the Poet Laureate of Sawbill, to send along this little poem:

autumn canoe trip
both hands hold the coffee cup
morning frost

9/17/03 - The fall colors are just getting underway here in canoe country. In the hills above Lake Superior the maples are nearing their peak. Here at Sawbill there are splashes of color in the underbrush but the trees are sill mostly green. That should change this week though. The white and red pines are all showing a tinge of orange as their older needles drop. The tamaracks save their glory for the end of October. After all the other leaves have departed, tamaracks, the only conifer to lose all its needles each year, blaze with gold glory.

A black wolf has been spotted by many Sawbill campers over the last week. He is coal black from head to toe with wild yellow eyes. He may be an escaped or released domestically raised wolf because he seems to seek out human beings. He shows no sign of hostility, but at over 100 pounds, he is not to be trifled with. I suspect that he will end up gracing numerous calendars and postcards in the next few years as he has been much photographed recently. - Bill

9/11/03 - A long string of beautiful sunny days and cool, clear nights have planted us firmly into fall. The maple leaves have begun changing colors and splashes of red, yellow, and orange in the trees are increasing. The annual group of Carleton College freshmen orientation trips has come and gone - the weather was about as perfect as it can get in September and lots of smiling faces returned after their four days in the BWCA. We've shifted into our early fall hours and we are open from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. The water levels are a little below normal but nothing that should hinder any routes. The fish have been biting like crazy over the last two weeks - lots of walleyes and small mouth bass stories being reported.

We've had a number of inquiries about selling used equipment and canoes this fall. We will be ready to start selling canoes and equipment in a few weeks and will post it on the website when its all set to go.-Beth

 9/3/03 - FIRE BAN LIFTED! This fax just arrived from the U.S. Forest Service:

September 3, 2003

Contact: Dave Schmidt, 218/626-4300

Susan Alexander, 218/626-4323


As of midnight, Thursday, September 4 (12:01 a.m. Friday, September 5, 2003), current restrictions on campfires in the Superior National Forest will be lifted. This means that campfires will be allowed at any time within steel fire grates at all designated campsites inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Campfires will also be allowed any time in dispersed and developed campsites outside of the Wilderness.

As always, visitors are encouraged to use a camp stove but if a campfire is preferred, follow these simple guidelines:

Keep it small.

Be sure the campfire is completely extinguished before you leave.

Pour water on the campfire and stir until it is cold to the touch.

Please be responsible with all campfires.

9/1/03 - Today is Mary Alice Hansen's 80th birthday. She has had several parties in recent weeks, but we had a quick celebration in the office this afternoon.

Mary Alice Hansen admires her candle blowing skill.

Monty Mertz sent us this lovely description of his recent canoe trip:

Dear Bill & Cindy:

I just wanted to share with you how much we enjoyed our BWCAW trip again this year, and the great service you provide.

We have an annual tradition of at least one trip with family to the BWCAW every year for the past several years.  The core group is myself, Monty Mertz, and my now 20 year old son, Taylor.  We are from Fargo.  We bring along my 79 year old father-in-law, who is a retired Norwegian farmer.  He lives in Fargo now.  Also included every year is my wife's brother, Steve Erickson, and his son, Shane, who is now 25.  Shane is a pilot and lives in Grand Forks and Steve is a NWA Captain and lives in Prior Lake.  We have included other in-laws and friends, but this is the core group.  

This year we paddled into Vern, from entry 40 on Homer,  on August 4th, and spent five nights on the middle camp site on the South side of the lake.  Even though this area has the damage from the fire, the view from that camp site is just fine.  

We had really pristine weather and very few bugs.  The water was perfect for refreshing swims.  Vern is a really clean lake with a rocky bottom, no muck.  

Steve and Shane are hard core fishermen, and they caught some really big Walleyes, in Pipe and Whack.  They got close to a cow moose that was feeding one day.  

We heard wolves every night we were there.  I have an authentic hand-carved Indian flute, and I played it for a few minutes the first night after dark, and within thirty seconds of stopping playing, this group of wolves started up across the lake to the North, and were answered almost immediately by another group to the South east.  Really really cool.  

Another really fun thing was a pair of mature bald eagles took up residence right across the lake for a full day after we put fish guts on a flat rock right across from our site.  They worked on the guts all day, sitting in two trees between snacks.  It was so calm we could hear even the smallest noises they made.

The wild berries were unbelievable!  We portaged into the next lake to the West, and picked blueberries and raspberries, there were millions.  We caught a glimpse of a bear just this side of the portage one day.  

We also climbed this big rock face on the far end of Vern one day.  The pictures I am sending includes the four of us at the top of the rock.  Grandpa did not make the climb, so he is not on the picture of the group at the top.  

I always get some really amazing pictures every year.  I am sure you get lots of them, I hope you enjoy these.

When I am not in the BWCAW I am planning the next trip.  I wish I could go more than a couple of times a year.  I am addicted!!


Monty G. Mertz

Vern Lake scenery. The hills around Vern burned in 1995.
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2003 | October 2003 »


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