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Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
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Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: September 2007
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2007 | October 2007 »

9/30/07 - Many tree leaves in the region have reached their peak autumn reds, oranges and yellows lately, creating some stunning displays contrasting the lush green growth of spring and summer. While driving up the Sawbill Trail after running errands in town the other day, I pulled over periodically to shoot photos and admire the brilliance. - Lee

Bright red maple leaves about two miles away from the outfitter.

Orange-yellow maple leaves about five miles up the trail from Tofte.

9/23/07 - The Sawbill creek has transformed in the last few weeks from its August trickle into a raging river by comparison. The creek, which typically floods its banks in the early spring months, is once again overflowing. Trees that once stood on solid ground now sit amidst slow moving water filled with fallen leaves and twigs.

Fall colors on the edge of the Sawbill creek.

The creek shows the effects of heavy rain.

9/18/07 - I met a fox on the road today. I was out for a run on one of the logging roads off the Sawbill Trail. When I turned around to head back there was a fox crossing the road about 100 meters back. She saw me of course and I went still hoping not to frighten her off. Her fur was almost the same shade as the changing foliage around her and I was surprised to see that a fox's bushy tail is almost the same size as the rest of its body. For about 2 minutes we surveyed each other without moving. She concluded I was no threat because she sat back on her haunches and looked around the woods twitching her ears. After another minute of this she laid all the way down on the road and rested her muzzle on her front paws just like a dog, keeping her eyes on me all the while. She seemed so relaxed I decided to see if I could get a bit closer. I walked to about 50 meters before I broke her comfort zone and she hurried off into the bushes. The meeting lasted all of 4 minutes, but it felt special and intimate, like most wildlife encounters here do. - Caitlin

9/16/07 - Two days ago we awoke to wet snowflakes falling through sunshine. All day it alternated between fits of snow and sun. The snow was too wet to stick though so I have no pictures to show for it. A lot of credit is due to the brave souls that set out on their trips that day. Yesterday and today, however, have been the pictures of lovely fall weather. And we are all the more appreciative of it now after having seen our first snow. - Caitlin

9/13/07 - Our very own Sawbill website is turning 10 years old this year. A few of the first months of the newsletter were lost, so the first entry starts at 9/15/1997 which is why we are celebrating now. Take a minute to go back and read some of the archived entries. They are all listed on the left-hand side of this page if you scroll down a bit. My favorite entry so far tells of a friendly goat found on Ball Club Lake. Here is the link to the page:, and then scroll down to the 9/22 entry. Here's to another great decade of Sawbill updates! - Caitlin

9/11/07 - Jeff P. Greensmith, a Duluth resident and Sawbill crewmember since 2001, agreed to come back and help out with a fall season that looks to be busier than most. He arrived in time for the hectic Labor Day weekend rush and we're hoping to keep him around as long as possible. I cajoled him out onto the porch on this blustery day for a quintessential photo complete with Arco coffee, banjo and newly styled rat-tail (look closely over his right shoulder). - Caitlin


9/9/07 - As the daytime temperatures slid into the comfortable 60s this week the sweatshirts and light jackets made their way out of the closets. You can feel the fall creeping in with the first few leaves scattered on the ground. This is the weather that brings to mind newly sharpened pencils and the smell inside a carefully raked pile of leaves. In my fall eagerness I went out looking for any changing trees that might be ahead of the game. - Caitlin

Leaves on wood.jpg

View from bridge.jpg
The view from the old bridge near the site of the former Sawbill Lodge.

9/7/07 - As of this morning, the fire ban has been lifted. This means campfires are now allowed in the BWCA as well as the campground. This news comes as a result of the 5 inches of drenching rain we received yesterday. The nearby town of Tofte soaked up 11 inches of rain.

Not only will this much-needed rain lift the low water levels around the Boundary Waters a significant amount, but it also brings to life the fall mushroom crop. Even this morning we noticed mushrooms of all sizes and textures popping up everywhere. - Caitlin


A view of the water level at the Sawbill landing this morning. We don't have a "before" shot to compare it to so you'll just have to take our word that this is much better than it was yesterday!

9/5/07 - Longtime Sawbill campground host Jim Ter Beest, an off-season Nebraskan, found a match for his personalized Boundary Waters license plate last week. Ter Beest snapped these photos of his and visiting Wisconsinite Ed Erickson's plates, which share the region's acronym and bare an affinity for Minnesota's border lakes. The BWCA - a plateful even a cornhusker and a cheesehead can share and still have leftovers. - Lee

Jim Ter Beest's license plate

Ed Erickson's license plate

9/5/07 - Adam West, former Sawbill crewmember, and his partner, Jessica Stoefen, were up for a canoe trip recently. They took an ambitious trip and, among other adventures, found an entire moose skeleton near Flying Lake. They sent along this gorgeous photo of the skull embedded in the moss. - Bill

moose skull9_5_07.jpg
Moose skull near Flying Lake.

9/1/07 - I spotted this caterpillar crawling across a path near the outfitter late last week and couldn't resist capturing it on film. Former Sawbill crew member John Oberholtzer said he'd never seen one like it. After Caitlin and I checked field guides and I scoured several caterpillar identification guides online, I still couldn't find where it fit into the bounty of wildlife found here in the BWCAW. One of the Web sites said that because of the abundance of these critters, many are still unmatched to their mature butterfly or moth counterparts. So, whether it was simply unrecognized by me or hasn't been catalogued by scientists, its bright orange, hairless body with distinctive black and light blue stripe merited display here. -Lee

The unidentified caterpillar negotiates the forest floor near the outfitter.

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