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Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: July 2014
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « June 2014 | August 2014 »

7/31/14 - Yesterday afternoon Britta spotted this Goldenrod Crab Spider hanging out on a life vest destined to be washed by the pressure washer. Luckily Britta has a soft spot for creatures large and small and decided not to blast it away. Instead she gathered nearby crew members so we could take a gander at this lovely little gal (female Goldenrod Crab Spiders are twice the size and much brighter colored than their male counterpart). We snapped a few pictures before safely removing it to a nearby tree. -Jessica

Goldenrod Crab Spiders have the unique ability to change color from yellow to white or vice versa. They lie in wait, camouflaging themselves to the flower they are perched on, waiting to ambush their prey. You can tell how small she is when you compare her to the nail in the lower right corner of the picture.

7/26/14 -Our own Cindy Lou & Co. took a four-day trip ending last weekend. The group came back smiling with great tales of their trip. Three main themes included talk of the portages being hard in an awesome way, gorgeous scenery, and minimal traffic. For two days they saw only one other person! The group put in on Round Lake and cruised to Gillis, Little Sag, Crooked, and Tuscorora lakes and back to their start at Round.

The area Cindy, Jeanne, Sue & Carol paddled through on this trip was impacted in the springtime of 2007 by the Ham Lake fire. At that time, it was the most extensive wildfire in Minnesota in over 90 years, burning for 15 days and covering over 76,000 acres of wilderness. As the permit video says, "Remember the wilderness is always changing. Wind and fire are a natural part of this process." It's beautiful and inspiring to see the now vibrantly green area impacted by the Ham Lake fire thriving seven years later. This certainly is a destination to keep in mind when planning your next trip. Entry points in the area include Cross River (#50), Missing Link Lake (#51), and Brant Lake(#52). You can also reach this area through routes from Sawbill Lake including the Little Saganaga East and West Loops. Happy trip planning! -Carla


Smiling campers clockwise from Left to Right:
Jeanne Rysdahl, Cindy Lou Hansen, Carol Perkins, and Sue Davis.


Sunset on Crooked Lake

7/26/14 - Here is this week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.

7/22/14 - There was a large storm that came through the Northland last night, and there are some rescue operations occurring farther west in the Boundary Waters. However, here at Sawbill and in the lakes surrounding us there have been no reports of injuries and no rescue operations are currently occurring.

We also got some updates about conditions in the Sawbill area from the Tofte Ranger District wilderness crews today. Here's what they have to say:

The beaver dam on the Ada Lake to Skoop portage has blown out and now visitors have to skirt the drainage. The Lujenida portage also has some associated beaver activity that has flooded out a portion on the south end of the portage. There was a system of boardwalks that are now floating around. People have been generally skirting the water and making it through. After the wind storm last night there may be trees down across the portages.

Blueberries are not even close to being ripe yet. The water is still very cold on the larger lakes like Brule and Cherokee, so please remember to wear life jackets! - Peter


7/21/14 - The summer is in full swing, with fewer bugs, plenty of sunshine, warm water, clear starry nights, and good fishing. Unfortunately, we have already had to say goodbye to our wonderful crew member Laura Hoppe, who left yesterday to begin a semester studying abroad in Mexico. - Peter

Best of luck in Mexico, Laura! We miss you already.

7/18/14 -
Steve Hagen was nice enough to send this picture of himself from Patagonia, Chile today. - Bill

7/17/14 - Our good friend, wood and canvas canoe builder extraordinaire Alex Comb, is organizing a wooden canoe gathering here at Sawbill this September. Information from Alex:

2nd Annual
Sawbill Landing Wooden Canoe Gathering
September 5-7, 2014

We will gather Friday at the National Forest Campground at Sawbill Landing, which is at the end of the Sawbill Trail on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Car camping sites are available at the campground (half of the sites can be reserved online at:, while the other half are on a first come basis). Heavily wooded with mature white Pines it is a beautiful setting. The northern two thirds of Sawbill Lake is in the BWCA and there are short portages into Alton, Kelso and Smoke Lakes. Day permits are available by simply filling out a registration form.


We will take some excursions in the BWCA on Saturday, while Sunday will be left for paddling around the landing. There may be a bit of boat swapping available for people to try each other's boats. Stewart River Boatworks will also have some models available for folks to try.

Everyone with interest in wooden canoes is welcome to join in. Bring a wooden canoe if you have one or just bring what you have.

The kids are back at school, the bugs have gone to bed. It is a wonderful place to enjoy the early autumn.

For more information contact:
Alex Comb or 218-834-2506
Barry Christianson or 507-822-4406
Sawbill Outfitters or 218-663-7150

7/11/14 - Here is this week's edition of Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.

7/8/14 - Crew member Peter Wagner recently got some photos of several moose on the north end of Jack Lake. He first spotted a moose and two calves, and then saw another cow and calf around the next bend. Quite unusual to see all those moose at once! - Mark

A cow and her calf on the shore of Jack Lake.

Another moose spotted just around the bend.

A loon and her chick.

7/6/14 - The Fourth of July has come and passed yet again and we hope you all had a wonderful and patriotic holiday! Here at Sawbill we held our 7th annual Sawbill Dragon Boat Races! Each year we divide the crew and any friends who wish to participate into teams of four, put them in Wenonah Minnesota II canoes, and race up the shore of Sawbill Lake. The teams battle it out for the fame and the glory of being the least dysfunctional team. It was a blast, and we had a beautiful sunset to race under.

The race was one of the closest ever, with only 23 seconds separating the first and fifth place teams. Shouts of "Go, Go, Go!", and "Don't hit the rocks!" could all be heard over the water (sorry campground visitors). All in all, spirits were high and it was a great way to celebrate the fourth. Maybe we will see you next year at our 8th annual Dragon Boat Races! - Mark

Crew member Emma moments before her team paddled to victory!

Our Sawbill Babes Team: Annie, Michelle, Sandy, and Beth

Team AARP: John, Cindy, Denise, and Bill

Crew Team 1 (and your victors): Jessica, Mark, Emma, and Buck

Crew Team 2: Peter, Britta, Lindsey, and Rachel

Crew Team 3: Nils, Ana, Laura, and Carla (and photobomber Bill in the background)

The teams all lined up and ready to start the race under the sunset!

7/4/14 Yet again, we have some returning babes up at Sawbill right now! Pictured below are Sandy Zinn, Beth Rolf, Annie Strupeck, and Michelle Thieman with their boys. These four ladies have come just in time for our fourth of July dragon boat races, which they will be participating in. May the odds be ever in their favor! - Mark

From left to right- Back row: Sandy Zinn, Beth Rolf, Annie Strupeck, Michelle Thieman
Front row: Wyatt Rehfuss, Will Rehfuss, Franklin Strupeck, Jack Sperle
Not pictured: Anders Decker (represented by the moose), and George Strupeck (represented by the bear)!

7/2/14 - You may recall about a month ago we told you all about fellow paddler April Knight's expedition from Sawbill to Hudson Bay. April's latest updates of her expedition have come in, and she is having quite the adventure! Recently April found herself in the backyard of the Christensen family while portaging around some raging rapids, where she was invited into their home for good food, good company, and a shower.

From there, she made her way to Gimli, a small Icelandic community north of Winnipeg. There April met Ellie, the harbormaster's wife, and her family. They were kind enough to allow her passage on the barge up to Poplar Point /Poplar River the following Tuesday. In the week she stayed in Gimli, April was able to celebrate & experience Canada Day in this small, warm community.

If all that was not enough, she ran into none other than Mike Ranta at the Macarthur damn. Mike Ranta is a canoe blogger, who is currently attempting to break the record for the longest solo canoe trip! What an adventure.

April reports, "Between wind bound days and going through water that resembled blue whales playing just below the surface, I have a new vigor for the journey and meeting so many wonderful people!"

April has now made her way on via the barge to Poplar and Nanowin Rivers Nature Preserve off of Lake Winnipeg. We wish her the best of experiences and cannot wait to hear about all the adventures that await her! - Mark

April and winnipeg.JPG
April and some hungry fisherman she met on the shore of Lake Winnipeg

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Mike Ranta, his dog, and their decked out canoe

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April with Captain Walter Lea, the harbormaster of Gimli

7/2/14 - We had a great time hosting the Adventure Crew 835 from Woodridge Church of Medina, Minnesota last week. It was a pleasure having this group of outstanding youth and their competent leaders in the Sawbill Campground. They were kind enough to send along a group picture. - Bill

Crew 835 from Woodridge Church.

Here is this week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP, North Shore Community Radio.

7/1/14 - Watching the sun rise on a nice clear day over a lake is always a worthwhile idea. Nothing is better than getting up while it is still just dark, hopping into your canoe, and paddling out to enjoy a peaceful sunrise. That is exactly what some of our crew went out to Brule Lake to do, where they captured the awesome image below. For those camping overnight in the Boundary Waters, or just staying on the other side of the boundary, capturing your own sunrise is a great way to start your day off right! - Mark

Sunrise over Brule Lake!

Current Sawbill Newsletter | « June 2014 | August 2014 »

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