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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: October 2009
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « September 2009 | November 2009 »

10/26/09 - Lisa Carlson, from Elk River, Minnesota, sent along this great picture of their food pack in August on Alton Lake. She was part of a women's church group novice canoe trip. They had a lot of questions about bears and after some instruction with the pack hanging demo in front of the store, they were very successful in keeping their food away from Yogi - better for them and better for the bears. - Bill

It takes some work and ingenuity, but food can be well protected from bears.

10/20/09 - Each year during Oktoberfest the Sawbill crew summons kooky cookie design ideas from the depths of the imagination, and this year was no different. We saw everything from goofy faces and heirloom squash, to mustachioed ghosts and angry dogs. - Lee

Halloween cookie decorating in the log house.

Nash concentrates on a design.

One of the finished products.

Tess and Johnny decorating.

Ghost with mustache.

Not a question of how many cookies we made, but how many days until we eat them all.

10/19/09 - The Sawbill crew dreamed up some masterfully creative jack-o-lantern designs. Below is a sampling of their work. - Lee

Laura Greensmith created this lake scene.

Katie's picture of Moon (Homer).

Bill's rendering of Carl.

Tess's leaves.

Frosty's snowflake, back left, Nash's man running from a fire exit, back right, and Clare's polka dots, front and center.

Adam's picture of Sawbill guide Dave Freeman.

Cindy's coffee cup with Johnny's goofy face peeking in at the side.

Our Jack-o-lanterns displayed outside the crew house.

10/18/09 - It's time for Oktoberfest at Sawbill. Lots of visitors stop in around this time of year to share the fall with the remaining crew, carve pumpkins, decorate cookies, go grouse hunting, and taste home brews. Last night we carved the pumpkins. Below are some of the photos our former crew member Molly Breslin took during the carving. Check back later for pictures of the finished products. - Lee

Adam puts knife to pumpkin in an early stage of his design.

Katie exhibits her work in progress, in honor of Homer, aka "Moon", the Sawbill golden retriever.

Frosty digs in on his snowflake design.

Bill puts on his Hansen concentration face, using a Dremel tool to refine the shading on his pumpkin.

A mischievous looking Clare.

Putting the finishing touches on my mini pumpkin.

10/16/09 - Our friend, Paul Sundberg, sent along the following note and pictures. Paul is a talented and well known photographer. You can see more of his beautiful work at:

Sawbill Canoe Trip

We did a quick fall trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Crossing Sawbill Lake was absolutely fabulous. It felt like summer with warm temps and calm winds. It was hard to believe that it was the last day of September.

Very few people go into the BWCAW this late in the fall so we had the place to ourselves. Some of the birch and aspen had a beautiful fall glow as we crossed the portage into Kelso Lake. We found all the campsites open so we picked one with a beautiful cliff overlooking the water. As the stars started to appear it made for some great photos.

The bull moose are now in rut so I took out my moose call and decided to try some moose calling. I called for about an hour but did not see any sign of moose. We loaded our canoe and headed down lake. Just after we rounded the point just ahead of us was the largest moose I have ever seen swimming across the narrow part of Kelso Lake. Seeing a moose with a twenty point set of antlers crossing the lake was a magnificent sight.

We waited until he got close to a small island to try and get some photos. Just as he stepped out of the water I called and he spun around and looked us right in the eyes. We got off a couple of photos before he stepped out and shook off some water and went crashing into the brush. I wanted him to stay around longer but was relieved that he wasn't in the mood to chase us. I am not sure we could have paddled fast enough to get away.

Paul Sundberg

Sawbill Lake Reflections.jpg
Sawbill Lake Reflections

Quiet Evening On Kelso Lake.jpg
Quiet Evening On Kelso Lake

Bull Moose 1A.jpg
Bull moose gives Paul "the look."

Bull Moose 2A.jpg
Into the forest.

10/12/09 - More snowfall! In case you haven't checked the Sawbill weather for the past three days, Saturday about an inch of snow followed the trace snowfall update I made on the newsletter Friday. Then, Sunday, we saw another half inch. A few hardy campers and canoeists are still around, and the cold snap has knocked a significant number of leaves down off the trees. Slight chances of snowfall remain throughout the week. The early substantial snow coverage has some of us talking about getting out our Christmas socks. - Lee

10/9/09 - The first snow of the season began falling this morning just before daybreak. The Sawbill weather station registered only a trace amount of snow, but the dusting gave us enough reason to break out warmer clothes and button up a little tighter. Clear skies, sunshine and light winds complement the chilly weather, perfect for a relaxing fall paddle or hike. With more of the same forecast in the coming days, it's prime time to find a little peace and quiet in the wilderness. - Lee

The Bell Seliga stack dusted with snow.

October canoe trip? Gloves recommended.

View from the tie-down area.

A few of Cindy's flowers on the doghouse out front are fighting to keep their color. But for how much longer?

Picnic anyone?

10/7/09 - Fall mornings - I can't get enough.

I took an early drive to Tofte this morning and caught a remarkable sunrise over Lake Superior. Amid an orange, purple and blue atmosphere of clouds and clear patches, the sun shone through a gap between the lake and a passing cloud layer as quickly as a wink, as if it were knowingly forecasting a fair weather morning.

On the way back up the Sawbill Trail, I stopped at the Temperance River Valley overlook to witness fog rising up through the trees from the river below. The milky white haze traced a meandering stream through the bottom of the shallow valley. Suddenly the sun broke over the ridge behind me and a wave of light crept across the distant hills, illuminating bright swatches of turning leaves.

Indeed, it turned out to be a nice morning, a cool reminder why I need to get up early more often. - Lee

Sunrise over Lake Superior.

Fog lifting from the Temperance River. Fall colors.

Upstream fog lifting.

10/5/09 - The Great Sawbill Shootout - For your information, we're not just paddle-happy, fish-finding voyageurs up here in the north woods. In order to sharpen our skills for small game hunting season, Cindy, Clare and I popped off a few rounds at the local shooting range the other day. The gals showed up in their rodeo-going Western wear, rootin' tootin' shootin' attire, or whatever you want to call it. In comparison, I was drastically under dressed, as usual. Despite our differences, we joined forces and succeeded in sending many an empty pop can to recycling heaven, and then made more than a few clay pigeons wish they had real wings to fly away. That's how we start the fall off with a bang. - Lee

Clare The Sharpshooter.

Cindy takes aim as the cans glint and tremble in the distance.

Clare demonstrates her unique, two-handed clay flinging technique.

10/1/09 - More big changes around Sawbill. The New Mobe, a storied former crew housing unit, and hallowed former Hansen housing unit, has been demolished. It has been standing empty for almost two seasons, ever since the day the crew moved into new digs, waiting for the day the backhoe and roll-away dumpsters would show up. It stood as a visual reminder of many seasons of Sawbill history, and will be sorely missed in some circles. There's rumor of a new fire ring being built to fill the space, no doubt a glimpse of new traditions in the making. - Lee

Our friendly backhoe operator prepares for work.

Bringin' down the house.

The backhoe compacting the pile of scraps.

The roll-away dumpsters and the truck that hauled them.

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