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Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: November 2003
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « October 2003 | December 2003 »
11/26/03 - Our phone is working again, at least enough to get calls that come our way. The whole system should be fixed by tomorrow afternoon.

We had just one more lovely day of ice skating on Sawbill Lake last Saturday before seven inches of snow fell. Carl and I skated all the way to the north end of the lake, about five miles, one way. On the large center section of Sawbill. the ice was a huge, perfectly smooth black sheet.

Carl strides across a flawless surface just before 7" of snow ended lake skating for the year.

11/24/03 - Due to a bizarre combination of circumstances, all three of our radio phone systems have been out of order for the last few days. We hope to have them fixed soon, but in the meantime you can reach us by email. Sorry for the inconvenience. - Bill

11/21/03 - After the recent warm spell, the temperature dropped last night and froze the standing water on Sawbill Lake in a continuous smooth surface. This is what we wait for. I put the blades on just before sunset and headed out. Sawbill was frozen about 4" thick in most places and about 2.5" thick in some places. There is still open water around the tips of the islands and points, so a skater has to stay alert. I thought Alton would be fun to skate on too, but I received a surprise when I walked across the portage. Alton is still completely unfrozen! - Bill

Sawbill Lake as seen from just in front of the portage to Alton (notice skate tracks in foreground) and Alton Lake as seen from the end of the portage - 11/21/03.

11/19/03 - Being that Sawbill is at the end of the road, my daily exercise often consists of running, somewhat monotonously, up and down the Sawbill Trail. In spite of repeating the route literally thousands of times, I always see something that makes it interesting. On Monday, I was outbound at about quarter to five. As I passed through the grove of mature aspen trees about a mile and a half from Sawbill, I heard one of the trees crack loudly during a brisk gust of wind. It particularly got my attention because I was knocked cold by the falling top of an old aspen about eight years ago. Although waking up in the middle of the woods with a headache and no short term memory was an interesting experience, I have no desire to repeat it. Nothing fell this time though and I continued my run. On the way back, in exactly the same spot, another gust of wind brought the unmistakable sound of a tree breaking in half. As I looked up, I saw about forty feet of aspen tree falling right at me. A few quick steps took me out of harm's way, but the tree came to rest less than five feet from where I had been running when it started its descent. Both of the dogs, who were running with me, lay down and curled up into balls when the heard the crash. The rest of my run was nearly effortless as the adrenaline worked its way through my system. It is just a reminder that forest is beautiful and benign, but ultimately has no feeling, one way or the other, for we who pass through it. - Bill

11/18/03 - Long time Sawbill crew member and current University of Chicago student, Ruthie Hansen, has published an article in the hip new Chicago area on-line magazine Gapers Block. She describes the preparation of "queso" which is familiar to all Sawbill crew members from the last decade.

11/16/03 – It has been a truly quiet week at Sawbill. After the cold snap that iced over the lakes (4.5� thick as of yesterday) we got more snow and the temperatures have warmed up. We are disappointed that the lakes have not been suitable for ice skating this season. Skating is one of the great joys of living in the north woods in the rare years when the ice is thick and smooth enough. Our friend and noted author, Peter Leschak, says it well in his recent essay in the Minnesota Volunteer Magazine.

Meanwhile, we have been brainstorming alternative methods of frozen lake recreation. Carl Hansen, and his cousin, Will Hutchinson, decided that Sawbill Lake would make a good driving range to hone their golf swings. They painted a few balls dark green, recruited Homer the retriever as an automatic ball return, and hit the links.

Carl and Will showing good form on a wide fairway.

While the boys were golfing, Cindy Hansen was hosting her annual Christmas cookie baking marathon. Her sister, Sherrie Hutchinson, niece Anna, nephew Will, joined the rest of the Hansens in kicking out a few hundred cookies.

Anna reaches for just one of the many decorated sugar cookies on the countertop.

11/7/03 - Sawbill Lake froze over yesterday, November 6th. This is a fairly normal date for ice up. In recent years, we've been averaging a later ice up date. We have about 5" of snow standing on ground. The ice is not safe for travel yet, but it is supposed to be below zero tonight, so that should firm things up fast.

Sawbill Lake as seen from the canoe landing at 1 pm on Friday, 11/7/03.
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « October 2003 | December 2003 »


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