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10/30/07 - Cindy and I went for a (last?) paddle today. It was sunny and mild today but the weather is supposed to turn nasty tonight. We took the camera, but the batteries went dead on the first shot.
This is a special time of year for us. We are finally closed and all our wonderful crew have left. It gives us mixed feelings. It is nice to slow down the pace, sleep in a little, and take time for paddling - but we miss all our great customer/friends and the crew. We are already looking forward to next year.
The most common question that we get during the summer is "What do you do in the winter?" Well, we have been busy so far draining the summer water system, doing inventory (big job), repairing and preparing canoes for sale, and putting everything away for the winter. We do most of our ordering for next year now - in fact, some of our new canoes will be arriving in a couple of weeks. Soon we will start cutting firewood for our new energy system. We just installed a co-generation system that captures the heat from our electric generators (we are totally off the grid here) and also allows us to replace the burning of all propane with wood.
We will be watching the lakes carefully as they freeze for the opportunity to skate on "wild ice." It doesn't work out every year, but when it does, it's sublime. - Bill
10/19/07 - Sawbill 2001-2003 alumni crew member Beth Rehfus and her husband Bill are up from Minneapolis for the weekend camping. On an early morning hunt yesterday Bill took two grouse, one a spruce grouse and one a ruffed grouse. Check out the newsletter archives from October 2001 for classic photos of Beth and Cindy playing tennis in the unfinished basement of the outfitting building during construction. - Lee
Here's Bill Rehfus showing off his game with his faithful dog Pete in the foreground. That's Phoebe sniffing around on the left, no doubt hoping for a chance to get at those birds.
10/15/2007 - Sawbill's scarecrow finally showed up for work this morning. Unlike most scarecrows, he's got a very hospitable way about him, as you can see by his big smile and laid-back hoodie. He's most often seen welcoming customers at the intersection and doing impressions of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" host Drew Carey. Cindy says he's a boo!-tiful addition to the fall crew. To her pun, I just said boo. - Lee
The scarecrow posed for this picture early Monday morning but declined my request for an interview.
10/13/2007 - Fall means frost here and the last few mornings we early risers have been waking up to see small plants, canoes and signs looking sugar-coated with the cold night's coating of frost. The temps rise into the high 40s and low 50s at midday, and when the sun is shining like today, it makes a beautiful crisp fall afternoon perfect for hiking. No substantial snow yet, but we're waiting patiently. Below are a few pictures, plants, duff and ground and our famous sign coated with crystals like a salt-rimmed margarita glass. - Lee
10/9/2007 - Here are some great photos from Sawbill customers Kathy Pobuda and Jeff Ekstrand taken at Kawishiwi and Sawbill lakes this summer. I was impressed to see that they caught the pine marten in such a curious pose. They also captured one of the Boundary Waters' big sky and lake scapes glossed over by a copper-tinted glow from above, and a blue morning fog over flat waters. Beautiful. Thanks Kathy and Jeff! - Lee
10/7/2007 - Sawbill's own belated Oktoberfest kicked off this weekend with visiting former crew members coming from as far away as Montana and New York City. The weekend included fishing trips, venison dinners, home brews and Jack-o-lantern carving. - Lee
Jack-o-lantern styles ranged from classic to complex, such as Sawbill's duck logo, a Jimi Hendrix portrait, The Cowardly Lion and a likeness of Sawbill repeat crew member Jeff P. Greensmith.
Former crew member Alison (Behm) Bents took this photo of Hansens Clare and Carl and I while fishing in heavy fog on Alton Lake. Asleep in the bottom of the canoe, thus not pictured, is Homer, Sawbill's golden retriever.
10/6/07 - This news release from the U.S. Forest Service:
Superior National Forest Announces Changes in Wilderness Permits
Beginning in 2008, permit fees for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will be:
Adult per trip fee: $16.00
Youth per trip fee: $8.00
Adult Seasonal Fee Card: $64.00
Youth Seasonal Fee Card: $32.00
The fee increase was approved by the Regional Forester, acting upon the recommendation of the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee. This is the first increase in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) user fees in the 10 years since fees were put into effect. The basis for the increase is an adjustment for inflation (using the Consumer Price index) over the past ten years with forward projections over the next five to ten years.
User fees generated through this program come directly back to the Forest and help to fund the wilderness management program, including staffing with wilderness rangers, and funding campsite and portage maintenance, permit issuance, and wilderness education programs.
BWCAW Lottery: The dates for the lottery for 2008 BWCAW permits will begin on December 1, 2007. This is a change from previous years when the lottery began in November. The lottery allows people who know their desired entry date and location well in advance, to apply for permits.
National Reservations System: The national campsite reservation website (www.reserveamerica.org) will be closed from September 29 until 9:00 am on October 17. During this time, the system is being re-designed and expanded and will be re-launched as www.rec.gov. The BWCAW reservation system will be incorporated into and accessed through this new system which also offers reservations for developed campgrounds on national forests.
10/4/07 - For the tech heads out there, this little beauty is Sawbill's newest backup generator, replacing a unit that was installed in the late 1980s. It's part of Bill's plan to maximize our energy efficiency "off the grid." He says the engine can churn out enough power to recharge, and quickly, our batteries on heavy usage days and when the solar panels just can't soak up enough of the sun's energy to keep up. Compare it with the ear protection in the bottom right corner for a scale of its size. - Lee
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