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Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: September 2010
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2010 | October 2010 »

9/29/10 - April Knight was kind enough to send along this note and photos from her recent canoe trip.

The Boundary Waters is famous even down here in the Carolinas. I wanted to make the journey north in celebration of my new freedom from debt (years and years of student loans!) I have never overnighted in a canoe and was looking forward to paddling through all the pristine photographs I had seen of the BWCA. I did not picture starting out in windy cold weather but since my entry point was Homer Lake and the wind was due north on that day off I paddled....I was to swamp the
canoe an hour after this picture was taken. After that humble initiation I paid more attention (and respect) to Mother Nature. My four day three night solo journey took me past Homer, Whack, Vern, Juno, Brule, S and N Temperance, Sitka, Cherokee, Ada and last to Sawbill Lake. I camped the first night with a father/son team, Joe and Bobby Whiting of Two Harbors. I was to learn later that Joe attended college in the same town where I grew up in South Carolina- he and Bobby graciously fed me chocolate, soup, bacon and coffee. The next two nights I camped alone. I never felt alone, meeting others at the portages- a young couple out for six days with their fishing poles, a group of four Minnesotan men celebrating their 25th annual trip to the BWCA and the sounds of wolves and loons to lull me to sleep. Truth be told the wolves' unfamiliar howling may have been the reason for those dark circles under my eyes the next morning! My last morning I made breakfast perched on a rock outcropping high above Cherokee Lake waiting for a beautiful dense fog to lift. The sight of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters was more than welcoming and I may have been responsible for the low supply of ice cream from their store's freezer on that day! How appropriate it was to spend the fall equinox under a full moon back home but in a canoe out on a local lake! I will find a new reason to celebrate and return for another pilgrimage to Sawbill Canoe Outfitters again next year!

April Knight

Homer Lake

Cherokee Lake

Cherokee Creek

9/26/10 - Tyler's birthday is tomorrow. To celebrate, his family came up from Duluth for a visit and grouse hunt. The hunting party came home with two grouse to go with mom's birthday cake. Who could ask for a better birthday present than a successful hunt and two tasty birds in the freezer?

The Campbell Family

9/24/10 - Yesterday marked the first day of fall. Despite the rainy, blustery weather the crew's spirits could not be dampened. Perhaps it was because we only got a half-inch of rain, instead of the downpour that other parts of the state received.

Rather than being able to enjoy the full moon, we celebrated by eating candy corn and fall themed cookies and playing Cranium instead. Today's weather has not improved much over yesterday, but we are all crossing our fingers that the sun and 60 degree temperatures will show up as forecasted for the rest of the weekend. -Marc

Fall treats always make rainy days better.

Crewmembers Liz and Luke took these photos earlier in the week during a drive down the Honeymoon Trail.

A closeup documenting the variance in colors.

Homer matches perfectly with the fall atmosphere created by the weather, the fallen pine needles, and the Cinderella pumpkins given to us by customer Chris Riley.

Liz gives Tyler tips on how to sculpt in preparation for their upcoming turn.

9/22/10 - Though the end of summer has meant cooler temperatures and the end of the small-mouth bass season, the Sawbill crew has already benefited from the start of grouse season. So far crew members Luke and Tyler have been our most successful sportsmen, together they have harvested 10 birds. We have already enjoyed grouse curry and grouse and dumplings soup. Nothing beats delicious local meat paired with the veggies from our community supported agriculture share (CSA) on a cold September evening in the northwoods.

Tyler and Luke show off their birds on the season opener.

9/20/10 - Current and former Sawbill crew members gathered this weekend to give Eric (Frosty) Frost a belated stag party. Frosty was married in June, but we didn't have time for the stag party then. Traditional stag party activities were replaced by paddling, bird watching and story telling on Alton Lake.

We had a very close encounter with a flock of migrating white pelicans - the first time any of us had seen them in this area. We scared them up while out for a midnight moonlight paddle and they circled down the lake, then returned to fly just over our heads. It was so quiet that we could hear their wing beats clearly and the moon gave them a ghostly glow.

A few minutes later, three otters surfaced near the canoe and gave us a look-over. Again, in the intense quiet, we could clearly hear them making little squeaking and cooing noises to each other.

The party was capped off the next morning by a gloriously beautiful hike along the Laurentian Divide west of Alton Lake. - Bill

Frosty, Bill Hansen, Andy Keith and John Oberholtzer prepare to leave the Sawbill canoe landing.

At the Sawbill/Alton portage.

On the Alton/Beth Lake portage.

The boys contemplate a placid Alton Lake from the Beth portage.

9/18/10 - The vibrant green of summer has begun to fade to the familiar shades of fall in the Northwoods, and with temperatures rarely surpassing 60 degrees it's safe to say a new season has begun here at Sawbill. But despite the cooler temperatures fall is a phenomenal time of year to visit the BWCA. The air may be crisp, but the fish are still biting, the loons are still calling and with decreased traffic to the campground it's a great time for quiet reflection and solitude.

Fall colors on south Sawbill Lake.

The terriers give another meaning to "out on a limb" during a fall walk.

9/15/10 - Sawbill campground hosts Jim and Rachel Ter Beest snapped some wonderful photos of a bull moose during a recent drive to Grand Marais. Jim noted that the moose was very large, with streaks of gray in its hair--a possible sign of the onset of moose middle age. The big bull also sported a fairly modest set of antlers, which appear to be a lighter shade of tan than is typical.

The bull moose makes his way towards shore.

Before leaving, the bull checks out his photographer one last time.

9/13/10 - Long time Sawbill customer Tom Pugh stopped in this morning after a three-night BWCA trip. Tom was joined by his three daughters, Lilia, Grace, and Annie Pugh. Joining the dad/daughter trip this year were Russ Hornback and daughters Taylor and Britta Hornback, along with John Lecy and his daughter Naomi Lecy. The Pughs are well known for bringing windy conditions with them to the BWCA, and this year's trip was no exception. After four days on the high seas, the group descended on the Sawbill store this morning on a serious mission for hot cocoa.

In front of the Sawbill store, the adventurers drink hot cocoa and plan for next year's trip.

9/10/10 - We received house calls today from a few members of the extended Sawbill family. Vivian and Willard Stevens stopped in for a short visit before lunch. Viv and Willard camped at the Sawbill Lake Campground most summers over the past 50 years. Former crew member Jeff Thompson ('95-'98) also dropped by with his wife Lyn and daughter Elsie, who was making her first visit to Sawbill.

Willard and Vivian Stevens.

Jeff, Lyn, and Elsie Thompson keeping the Sawbill office entertained.

Jeff shows off the toilet paper holder he built, which is still in use in the Sawbill store bathroom. Elsie contemplates keeping the TP in good supply when she works on the SAWBILL CREW 2028.

9/7/10 - Nature photographer Jonah Westrich sent us some gorgeous photos from a trip he took earlier in the summer. He says he had a great time, as proven by his shots, and hopes to come up again next year.








9/6/10 - Labor day weekend is winding down here at Sawbill and we are saying goodbye to many Sawbill campers today. There is a very special group of campers who have come to Sawbill every year for the last 28 years. They are loose group of musical friends who meet in the campground each year for "fishing and picking." They are very talented and can play hundreds of songs together, with voices in harmony and hot instrumental solos in the bluegrass style.

Since the beginning the group has traditionally sung "Happy Birthday" to Mary Alice Hansen, whose September 1st birthday usually falls on or near the Labor Day weekend. Mary Alice lives in Grand Marais now, but the musicians still celebrate her birthday with singing and cake. They sent Mary Alice the picture below to let her know that they are still thinking of her. - Bill

Musicians, friends and family wishing Mary Alice a happy 87th birthday.

9/4/10 - Fall arrived with a bang yesterday. We had 1.2" of cold rain along with 35 mph winds blowing from due north. I've observed over the years that when there is a major hurricane on the east coast, the weather is wet and cold here at Sawbill.

Many canoe parties had to wait for the wind to moderate before starting their trips. Groups leaving the wilderness had better luck, but told wild stories about riding the waves down Sawbill Lake.

Today has dawned sunny, breeze and chilly. For the first time in many months we are seeing a lot of fleece, down vests and stocking caps. The weather service is calling for possible frost tonight. - Bill

Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2010 | October 2010 »

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