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Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: February 2008
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « January 2008 | March 2008 »

2/26/08 - Lots of Sawbill news to catch up with. We enjoyed big group of visitors over the President's Day weekend. The Sawbill Babes, an informal gathering of former and current crew members, held their annual skiing, wine drinking and laughing festival.

(l-r front row)Annie, Patti, Michele, Sandy, Phoebe (what a dog!), Cindy (l-r back row) Jessa, Caitlin, Clare, Lida, Beth.

Aside the Babes, we had visits from a number of other former and current crew, of both the male and female persuasion. Many are snowboarders and a couple of downhill skiers, so we enjoyed a big day at the Lutsen Mountains ski area.

Clare and Lida reflected in Cindy's goggles while riding the gondola at Lutsen Mountains.

Cindy's appearance on the popular public radio show "Car Talk" didn't happen. In Minnesota, the big public radio network was pledging, so they substituted some "Best of Car Talk" recordings instead of the regularly scheduled show. In the rest of the country, the episode aired, but we were disappointed that they didn't use Cindy's segment. They may use it in future shows, so keep your fingers crossed.

Sawbill native, Clare Hansen, has decamped to Vina Del Mar, Chile, for the next five months. She is attending school there toward her anthropology degree and cementing her fluency in spanish. Her blog is

2/13/08 - Sawbill's own Cindy Hansen is going to be on the popular public radio program "Car Talk" hosted by the famous Tappet Brothers, Click and Clack. After a couple of tries at being a guest on her favorite show, she was called back by Louie Cronin The Barbarian (who turns out to be a woman). She had to make it through a couple of screenings until they called today during the weekly taping of the show. She'll be on the show that airs in approximately ten days (around the 23rd, depending on your local schedule) right after the Puzzler at the beginning of the third half of the show. - Bill

Cindy is holding the "Second Best of Car Talk" CD that she's been studying in preparation for her moment of fame on an upcoming episode. Roy is very impressed to have such an illustrious owner!

Her question for the automotive experts stems from a spousal disagreement concerning the proper operation of this snow plow. She isn't telling anyone exactly what the question was, or what wisdom the Tappet Brothers dispensed, saying: "You'll just have to listen to the show."

2/6/08 - Today is Frank Hansen's 87th birthday. Happy birthday Frank! His email address is if you'd like to send him a greeting.

Shawn Peyton sent the following email and photo this morning:

Greetings Bill and crew,

Was just feeling the winter blues for paddling and reminiscing about last year's trip, looking through the photographs. We came up in May and put in a day before they closed all the entry points due to the Ham Lake fire. Long story short it was quite an experience seeing that on the horizon for most of the trip. We came up with the plan on going up through the fire lakes, Kelly etc. and then into Brule. Then turning north up to Winchell then back east to the Frost River, south to the Louse River valley then back through Polly, Phoebe route to return to Sawbill. Needless to say we were turned back at the north portage out of Brule by a spray plane diving down over the treeline right above our heads. Perhaps not too bright to get any closer. We reversed directions going up through Cherokee to catch Frost lake and then back on the route planned. I'll say in all the twelve years I've been coming up through Sawbill we've never had Cherokee Lake all to ourselves in May. I wish a forest fire hadn't been the circumstances for that luxury. lol

Anyway, I'm passing along a photo I took on a quiet day on Mesaba Lake as we were looking for a campsite. My two compadres were in a tandem while I was paddling solo and on opposite sides of the point as we debarked to check out this particular site. Deciding against it, I returned to my boat to check out the one across the way. I heard some shouts and as I came around saw something that about made me fall out of my boat laughing. There was Jim and Meg standing on shore and their Prospector paddling off by itself. I paddled over to help out but not before, of course, a couple of photos were taken. Both Jim and Meg have worked in the outdoor industry for years, both have been instructors for Rutabaga's (Madison) outdoor program, and are amazing paddlers. So it just made it all the funnier. If the photo made it onto your online newsletter it would be wonderful to embarrass them on a public forum in the name of good fun (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Even experts are prone to those DOH! moments.

I was just having happy memories of the usual good time had every year as we launch out of Sawbill. I had actually just come from a week of backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail and I really appreciate Kari letting me use the shower before they had been cleaned for the season. I'm sure Jim and Meg when they met up with me appreciated it as well. Hope ya'll are having a great winter with all the abundant snowfall. Take care.



2/4/08 - Every year the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon passes through our area. The Sawbill Trail checkpoint is 18 miles south of us and is an important way-point in the race. Dog teams stop to rest and eat, tired mushers get a little sleep and hundreds of spectators take it all in. As part of this year's press coverage the Duluth News Tribune published pictures from the past twenty years, including the shot below of Cindy Hansen, who ran the Sawbill checkpoint for a couple of years back in the '80s. Thanks to Mary Black from Hovland for spotting the picture and calling it to our attention. - Bill

Cindy Hansen surveys the facilities at the Sawbill checkpoint back in the '80s.

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