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4/28/07 - The first picnic of the year is another time-honored Sawbill tradition. - Bill
Mary Alice is the chief organizer of picnics.
Homer joins Kari and Jessa at the picnic. He's looking for his plate.
The perfect s'more marshmallows and the not so perfect.
4/25/07 - I thought I was done with a particularily bracing tradition here at Sawbill: the opener of the Sawbill Beach Club. They keep pulling me back. With enticement of a Sawbill dinner and sauna, I was persuaded into getting the season going. The ritual requires all present Sawbillians, old or new, to get naked and get into the lake as soon as the ice is out. It is very scary and feels brutal. Then, there is a warm feeling in the evening sun, knowing the paddle season is here and soon all our old friends are heading our way. It is also fun to be the photographer. Wish you were all here. Welcome to the summer. EAT CHEEZ! OB
The Godfather: Just when I thought I was done, they keep pulling me back in.
Beating a hasty retreat...
Cindy, Kari, Jessa and Pat enjoy some sunshine after their dip.
4/24/07 - Today is the official "ice out" date for Sawbill Lake in 2007. Just one week ago the ice was 18" thick and perfectly safe to walk on. It has been warm and we received more than a inch of warm rain over the weekend. Also the ice had been weakened by an intense warm spell in mid-March. This date is about a week early according to long term experience. Of course, when you take the warming climate into account... - Bill
Homer observes the remnant of the winter's ice on Sawbill Lake. This picture was taken at about 3 pm, but I fully expect that this ice will be almost gone by midnight.
With the rapid melting and the recent rain, the lake level is just a few inches from flooding the canoe landing. This is normal water level for this time of year.
The lake ice takes on a very interesting honey-combed appearance as it melts.
4/23/07 - Sawbill crew members Dave Freeman and Eric Frost are deep in the rain forest of Peru on their latest educational adventure with the non-profit Wilderness Classroom Trans-Amazon Expedition. After spending the last few weeks biking from the Pacific Ocean over the Andes Mountains, they have now embarked down the Amazon River watershed in their Wenonah canoes.
Sawbill crewmembers are part of the team paddling across South America.
Try following the expedition on the Trip Tracker Map on their website. If that doesn't work on your computer, use the Google Earth option. If you don't have the Google Earth application, you can download it for free. It's a fun tool for planning canoe trips in the BWCA Wilderness too. - Bill
4/17/07 - Spring is quickly arriving at Sawbill. Yesterday was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 60s, flawless blue skies, and no wind. The lake ice took a hit, but is still 18.5" thick with about 10" of really solid ice. I might try skiing this afternoon. The pictures tell the tale. - Bill
The snow has melted away except for drifts and piles. The lakes are mushy on the surface, but pretty solid underneath.
18.5" of ice about 100' off the Sawbill Lake canoe landing.
Homer inspects the hole used to measure the ice thickness.
South facing points are starting to show some open water. Stream outlets and shallow ponds are also opening up.
4/9/07 - Cindy and I just returned from visiting Carl Hansen in Norway where he is an exchange student for the year. We had a wonderful time exploring Norway, getting to know Carl's Norwegian family and friends, and spending time with Carl. We were joined for a time by Carl's sister Clare, his good friend Elliot Noyce, and Sawbill crewmember Liz Foot. Liz is studying in Vienna this semester, so she had the shortest flight to Norway.
Carl is living with Per Eric and Randi Johnsen in Hamar. He lived with another family, Georg and Kristin Jensen for two months last fall and has remained close with them. Hamar is about 80 miles north of Oslo and just south of Lillehammer, famous for the 1994 Winter Olympics. Hamar is about 27,000 people and is on the shore of Mjosa, Norway's largest lake. You may remember the "Viking Boat" speed skating arena from the '94 Olympics which is the signature building in Hamar. - Bill
Here are a few pictures from the trip:
Carl Hansen at the Oslo Harbor.
Elliot, Cindy, Clare and Carl enjoy donuts at the foot of the famous Karl Johanes street in Oslo.
Cindy and Liz enjoying a ferry ride near Bergen, Norway.
Cindy, Elliot, Carl and Bill enjoying the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo.
Carl, Elliot, and Carl's friend Andreas Jensen with a well known Vigeland scupture.
4/4/07 - Just when we thought spring had arrived in full force, and our thoughts began to turn to paddling, portaging and roasting marshmallows, a freak snowstorm hit Sawbill on Tuesday and buried us in over eight feet of snow overnight!
The Sawbill store is literally buried in a mountain of snow. Resident dogs Homer, Phoebe and River have resorted to building an underground tunnel system beneath the snow to navigate from building to building. It's taken us nearly 24 hours of continuous plowing and shoveling to dig our way into the office to write this newsletter entry.
April fools! We did have a big snowstorm Tuesday, but we actually received eight inches, not eight feet. It's still an impressive accumulation for this time of year, and according to resident weather expert and record-keeper Frank Hansen, eight inches is by far the most snow Sawbill has ever received on April 4th since he's been here.
Trickery aside, this is what the Sawbill store actually looks like right now. It looks and feels more like January right now than April. We all know the old adage about Minnesota weather-- if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it'll change. Last year the ice went out on Sawbill lake on April 17th. Could we be paddling, portaging and making s'mores within two weeks? It seems pretty unlikely at this point! Only time will tell. -Ruthie
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