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8/31/10 - Driving home from town last night, we saw many eyes shining back at us from the road ahead. The headlights quick illuminated four bears - a mama and three cubs. The mother headed off the road pretty quickly, but the curious cubs kept peeking out at us. A stern word from their mother got them moving into the dark woods. - Bill
8/25/10 - Better late than never! Sawbill crew veteran Marc Le Voir returned a few days ago for his third summer of canoe outfitting. Marc spent March through July studying in Magdeburg, Germany, where he studied the German language and sampled a fermented beverage commonly known as "beer" for the first time in his life. Marc will be with us through the Fall season and into October. Welcome back Marc!
Marc, known for his skill with ropes, preps a canoe for departure.
8/23/10 - I figured I would give the few of you who have not been out in the Boundary Waters during the last couple weeks an update on how busy it has been. The lake was full of many delighted paddlers this past weekend. The weather was excellent and everyone was trying to enjoy it. Despite the great weather, things are still starting to slow down, as people start to head back to school and their jobs. It is definitely enough to make all of us here on the crew very envious. -Marc
Liz, Luke and Carl show us just how busy it was on Saturday afternoon.
8/19/10 - In order to not be outdone by the ladies, the Sawbill guys recently took their own evening off to relax. We decided to do something monumental and conquer both Eagle Mountain, Minnesota's highest point and swim in Lake Superior, Minnesota's lowest point. After summiting the peak, we went down to enjoy some tasty pub burgers at Lutsen Resort and went for an evening dip in the big lake. The elevation of Eagle Mountain is 2,301 ft. and Lake Superior is 601 ft., a difference of 1,700 ft. One state down, 49 more to go. -Marc
The beginning of our ascent.
Standing on the lake shore after our swim.
8/18/10 - After Frank Hansen's funeral this past Saturday, Sawbill hosted a get together and dinner for friends, family, and former crew members. The menu was a collection of Frank's favorite foods; for a main dish there was good, old fashioned spaghetti (recipe courtesy of Mary Alice) and for dessert strawberry pie, peach pie, and huckleberry cheesecake made with berries handpicked by Clare Hansen from Missoula, Montana. The meal was followed by a campfire with much chatting and guitar playing. All in all, the food was delicious and the company cheerful. Frank will be missed by many. -Meg
Freshly baked strawberry pies.
Roy and Phoebe, tracking down the source of deliciousness.
A few of the many dinner guests.
8/15/10 - A few days ago, the Sawbill ladies deserted the outfitters for an afternoon in search of a night away from wilderness and men. We began our escapade by donning the nice clothes we never can find an excuse to wear at the outfitters and heading to Grand Marais. There, we ate a delectable dinner at the Angry Trout Cafe consisting of pasta, salad, corn on the cob, shrimp, walleye, and, of course, cheesecake and a chocolate tort for desert. After stuffing ourselves full of delicious food we moved on to mini-golf in an attempt to work off some of the calories we had consumed. Here are some pictures featuring all the Sawbill Ladies and the night's events. -Meg
Sawbill Ladies by Lake Superior. Featured from the left to the right: Jessica, Meg, Ellen, Sarah, and Liz.
Food, glorious food.
Probably one of the more dressed up groups to have ever played this course.
8/12/10 - Here is the crew picture for the season! It was taken right before we spruced up for the Dome Dance, an annual Sawbill tradition where the crew invites anyone staying on the campground to come and contra dance to live music. We were all having such a good time that somehow we left the event without a single picture of the ordeal, so this picture of all of us before we dressed up will have to suffice. -Meg
Summer Crew 2010.
8/10/10- Last week we celebrated Homer's tenth birthday. Homer spent his special day in the same way that he spends most of his days - being petted by anyone and everyone, eating innumerable dog cookies, and taking a refreshing swim in the lake. For his birthday dinner, Homer dined on a dish of cottage cheese, a treat that he only gets on holidays. Likewise, the crew snarfed down a Danish puff in the shape of a dog cookie to celebrate the day. -Meg
The handsome fellow himself, chowing down on cottage cheese with the two Sawbill terriers, Roy and Phoebe.
8/9/10- Yesterday I returned from a brief but eventful two day venture into the BWCA with my uncle, Steve Wilbers, and cousin, Eddy Wilbers. We managed to score the one and only campsite on Flame Lake, and so were able to experience the solitude of the Boundary Waters at its finest with the lake completely to ourselves. A highlight of the trip was the jumping rock on Flame, which we visited frequently and documented a little too thoroughly. Of the nearly thirty pictures we took of the same rock, here are a few of my favorites. -Meg
Me, about to leap.
Steve Wilbers, expressing exactly how he feels about camping.
Eddy and I as we completed our first portage from Sawbill to Smoke.
8/6/10 - Here is Frank's obituary:
Frank William Hansen passed away Tuesday, August 3, at the age of 89, after a very short stay at the Cook County North Shore Care Center in Grand Marais, MN. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia on July 16.
Frank worked on behalf of the community right up to the end of his life. He was very active in July serving on the board of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic where he was board chair for 20 years. He was on the air for the WTIP North Shore Community Radio membership drive the week of July 12-16. His last WTIP West End News column aired on July 16 after more than 20 years as a columnist for the Cook County News Herald and WTIP. He spoke at the Cook County Historical Society on June 19th.
Frank was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on February 6, 1921. He was educated in the Baltimore school system, Loyola College in Baltimore, Fordham University in New York City, and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In 1946, he left the University to serve in the Psychological Service of the US Army at Fort Lee in Petersburg, Virginia. In 1947, he returned to the U of M where he taught Psychology and Child Development at both the Minneapolis and Duluth campuses for the next 15 years. He spent all his summers until 1955 participating in his family's business, Camps Whitethorn and Minnetoska, in the Appalachian mountains of western Maryland. In 1957, he started his own outdoor business in Minnesota: Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, Inc., on Sawbill Lake in Tofte.
Frank met his wife, Mary Alice, in graduate school, and she became a partner in all his activities after they were married on August 29, 1946. In 1960, they moved from Duluth back to Minneapolis where they both became school psychologists during the school year -- Frank at Eden Prairie and Mary Alice in Bloomington. Summers were spent at Sawbill Lake, managing their increasingly successful business. In 1976, they retired from their city jobs and moved to Tofte to live full time at Sawbill Canoe Outfitters. In 2008 they moved to Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Frank was a Cook County Commissioner representing the Tofte, Schroeder, Lutsen area from 1980 - 1988. He served as President of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), and traveled widely in that position. Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich appointed him to serve on the Governor's Health Care Access Commission, which led to the creation of Minnesota Care. Frank received many awards for a broad range of community work, but was always motivated by a strong desire to build a stronger, more humane community for all people. He was well known as a generous and compassionate man.
Frank is survived by his wife Mary Alice and his children: Karl (Lee Stewart) of Grand Marais, Ranna (Kevin) LeVoir of Maple Lake, MN and Downers Grove, IL and Bill (Cindy) of Tofte, and his grandchildren:
Adam Hansen of Fargo, ND, Ruthie Hansen of Chicago, Marie (Eric) Ljosenvoor of Maple Lake, MN, Clare Hansen of Missoula, MT, Marc LeVoir of Minneapolis and Carl Hansen of Tofte and one great granddaughter, Linnea Ljosenvoor, his brother George (Judy) Hansen of Baltimore, two nieces and two nephews. He has three step grand daughters and four step great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Ruth Virginia Cumings and her husband, Ken Cumings.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, August 14, at 10:30 AM, followed by lunch and fellowship at the First Congregational Church at Second Street and Third Avenue West in Grand Marais. Burial will be at a later date in the family plot at the Tofte Cemetery.
Memorials are preferred to the North Shore Health Care Foundation, the First Congregational Church in Grand Marais, or the Cook County non-profit organization of the donor's choice.
8/4/10 - I am profoundly sad to tell you that my dad, Frank Hansen, died yesterday morning after a short illness. He was 89. Frank and Mary Alice founded Sawbill Canoe Outfitters in 1957 and he was an icon in this part of the world. Almost everyone seems to remember him sitting in the co-pilot chair in the Sawbill store, telling stories, discussing the issues of the day, eating red licorice and dispensing wise advice.
He will be sorely missed by his family, the Sawbill community, and the many, many people that he knew in his long and productive life. I'll post his full obituary here when it is available. - Bill
8/2/10 - Every Saturday evening from now until the first week of September, a trained naturalist visits the Sawbill campground to lead a themed campfire talk. The program, hosted by the USDA Forest Service (and supported by Sawbill with free tasty, tasty smores), is called "Minnesota Wild!" and covers a new topic every week. The program is open to the public for all ages, and families are welcome. Past topics have included moose, wolves, and bears (oh my!).
This week, naturalist Mundell visited to talk about loons. I think I can safely say that everybody present heard something new. I learned that, although experts still debate on this, the most established loon relative is the far away penguin. Also, the loon is a prehistoric bird, with fossils dating back nearly 50 million years (imagine a loon swimming among some of the last dinosaurs). Finally, loons rarely gather together before the winter migration, except for when they fail to raise chicks that spring. Mundell suggested that these are "loon support groups." I suggest "loon bachelor parties."
The program wasn't just talk - we also got to examine and pet a real (stuffed) loon. Later, Mundell played a tape with different loon songs and explained their meaning. After the "distress call," a real loon from out on the lake called back, probably wondering what was wrong. One listener even got to dress up as a loon, complete with loon cape, red goggles, and webbed feet.
A loon, making a great loon pose.
The program is hosted near the canoe landing at the Sawbill campground from 7:30 to 9 p.m., including time for smore making, every Saturday.
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