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

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: June 2015
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « May 2015 | July 2015 »

6/29/15 - We have been remiss in introducing our new crew members. This is just the first batch, with a few more to come.

Logan Sheets and Claire Mutch take quick break from putting together the weekly grocery order. Logan is from Wisconsin originally, but now makes his home in Missoula, Montana where he attends the University of Montana. Claire is from Apple Valley, Minnesota and attends the University of Minnesota.

Daniel Dahl is from Northfield, Minnesota and attends the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Elena Torry-Schrag is from Forest Grove, Oregon and studies at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota.

Olivia Nofzinger, is from the Twin Cities, but spent much of last year in New Zealand. She's attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

6/27/15 - Our good friends, Fred and Suzi Dow, operate the U.S. National Forest Campground Guide. I'm sure they are the only people who have visited every single National Forest Campground, including Alaska.

In the current issue of their newsletter they feature the Sawbill Lake Campground and even include a beautiful slide show of the day trip they took in the BWCA Wilderness when they visited here.

Fred and Suzi Dow

6/26/15 - Due to a combination of circumstances, we find ourselves in need of another Sawbill crew member for the summer. If you know someone who might like to live and work at Sawbill for the summer, let them know.

We look for people who are friendly, hard working and can work and live easily with others. We give strong preference to people who have wilderness canoeing experience in the Sawbill area. We also need someone who can start very soon and stay through at least the middle of August. We're also interested in people who may return for two or more seasons.

We require a completed application form, with three work references with current email addresses so we can check with them quickly. You can visit our employment page for more details, including compensation. There is an application form there that can be filled in and emailed.

If you'd like to ask questions directly, you can call me at 218-663-7150. Thanks! - Bill

6/24/15 - Most people come to the Boundary Waters to spend time "off the grid," and in hopes of spotting some local wildlife. Depending on when and where you paddle, seeing even one moose is considered lucky. Recently, one visitor stumbled upon something of a different variety of luck.

Ian, age 9, discovered a trove of four- and five-leaf clovers in the campsite in which his family was staying. Sawbill will not be releasing the number of the campsite in which these lucky clovers can be found - visitors will have to do their own scouting. After all, four-leaf clovers are only lucky if they are found, not given.

Ian carefully pressed his clovers, which will make an excellent souvenir

Five-leaf clovers are even more rare than four-leaf ones. While four-leaf clovers are almost universally thought of to bring luck, five-leaf clovers are supposed to attract money. What a treat for Ian!

Another visitor, Tim Petricek sent us some pictures he took of wildlife he spotted on Sawbill Lake. Sending us pictures from your trips is encouraged - we love to hear and see what you experienced.

A snapping turtle waits to lay her eggs by the shore

This mama loon has been carrying her chick all over Sawbill lake. Many of you moms and dads will be familiar with the endless chauffeuring that parenting entails! - Elena

6/23/15 - Spirits are high here at Sawbill, with both crew members and customers enjoying the sunshine we've had in the last few days. Clear nights make for incredible star-gazing, and last night (Monday), the Northern Lights were visible starting around 10:30 p.m. Crew members made the trek down to the dock on Sawbill Lake to watch the sky shimmer and dance. The lights are most commonly seen during late fall and winter, so we hope you all caught a glimpse of them!

There have been a good number of moose sightings lately, both far away and close to home. Recent crew sightings include Octopus Lake, Jack Lake, and Sitka Lake. In general, smaller and more remote locations are better for wildlife sightings. There are also lots of Mergansers out on the water with little ones in tow.

A mama and baby moose make an exit from Sitka lake

The Merganser has a serrated edge along their beak, giving them the nickname "sawbill"

In addition to looking for wildlife and northern lights, although both are most often spotted when you are not looking for them, we encourage you to soak in as many Boundary Water sunsets as your trip allows. At night when the lake gets glassy and still, you can see the shoreline and sky reflected in an almost perfect mirror image. A perfect end to a summer day.

Even spiders enjoy the sunsets here! - Elena

6/18/15 - Sawbill upped its resident critter count by two this past week when a pair of bats decided to take a snooze on the side of our store.

This little guy (or girl) perched very close to the life vest washing station, so we took extra precaution not to spray him with water.

Knowing how much we value our nap time, crew members gave the bats their space.

We have also experienced some spectacular sunsets here in the last few days. Two nights ago, crew members and customers alike gathered by the shores of Sawbill Lake to take in the incredible colors, serenaded by a chorus of loons.

Photo taken by crew member Laura Hoppe.

Business continues to be steady up here, with increased visits from Boy Scout troops and school groups now that school is out. In fact, it is shaping up to be our busiest June yet - and we wouldn't have it any other way! - Elena

6/14/15 - We have been experiencing some lovely weather here in the north woods. Temperatures in the last week have been in the upper 60s to low 70s - perfect canoeing weather. All the rain we got earlier in the season is paying off; the woods are lush and green and flowers are starting to bloom in earnest. "When the weather is like this," said one returning customer, "it's hard to leave."

Beautiful views just from the landing at Sawbill Lake

Roy enjoys a quick dip in the lake

A good tip for future trip planning, Sawbill keeps a record of each day's weather, with records stretching back to 1997. This is an excellent resource for deciding when to come to the BWCA. Wondering what the weather will be like mid-July? You can see the average temperature for the last 19 years.

Last week, the Sawbill crew had its first Festive Dinner, held at 9:15 pm after everyone gets off work, so we can all eat together and fully enjoy each others company. The theme? Wild, Wild West! A good time was had by all. Yeehaw! - Elena

The crew all decked out in their best "Westive" gear

6/12/15 - Business has been bustling here at Sawbill, with newcomers and seasoned veterans alike heading out under (mostly) clear blue skies to enjoy time away from the hubbub of everyday life. A returning father-daughter duo described the last few days up here as "heavenly," and we the crew have to agree.

A gentle but steady breeze down at Sawbill Lake keeps the bugs away

Former crew member Beth Lynch recently visited Sawbill and sent us a lovely account of her trip as well as some photos, featured below:

Bill & Cindy,
It's always great to come home to Sawbill and the BW. Thanks so much
for the lovely *light weight* canoe! So much easier to portage than
our first generation kevlar Mad River.

We had a wonderful trip. Early summer is so nice for flowers (I
especially love the service berries) and warblers, and everything
seems fresh and clean after the winter's rest. And, we think that a
spring trip is always a great way to leave a hard year of teaching


We put in at Baker Lake and spent a wet, windy night hunkered down at
a site on S. Temperance, then paddled up to Frost Lake where we spent
the next two nights.

It had been decades since I'd been on Frost Lake. The rocky site was
gorgeous. We spent a lovely afternoon exploring the Frost River, where we saw no one except for this moose. I finally got a nice moose photo.


It was fun to walk the sandy beach near our site, and the mossing was
spectacular. I now carry a 10x magnifying lens and moss collecting
packets on all of my canoe trips. There are so many cool species in
the north woods. Yep, I'm a botany geek.


After the two (very cold, but no frost) nights on Frost, we came back
south to camp on Cherokee. Such a beautiful lake, and very quiet this
time of year. The next day we returned to the Temperance lakes and
river for a final night on the peninsula of Jack Lk. On N. Temperance
we met a couple who we figured were in their early 70s; both of us
hoped we'd still be taking canoe trips in our 70s.


Thanks again. I hope your summer is a good one.


In other exciting news, Mike Wilkinson, a professional multimedia director with a passion for travel photography chose the BWCA to test out the new Lowepro Pro Runner x450, a new camera roller bag designed to travel just as well on dirt trails as on city streets. His review can be found here.

Wilkinson's Pro Runner pictured here out on the water

Wildlife sightings have been picking up - just yesterday, a returning trip reported seeing a wolf on Kelso Lake. Unfortunately, their camera was safely packed away at the time, so they were unable to take a picture. Crew members have also reported seeing a bear a few miles from Sawbill. - Elena

6/10/15 - High winds and heavy rainfall were experienced by all up here on the Sawbill Trail. The result - several fatalities of the arboreal variety.

This sizable aspen, formerly blocking the trail, was victoriously confronted by Bill yesterday. Thanks, Bill!



A conifer fell here the day before yesterday, temporarily interrupting our water supply - That's life in the North woods!

Timber3_6102015.jpg - Olive

6/8/15 - Attention, bird nerds! Yesterday, an American Woodcock was sighted along the side of Sawbill trail, to the delight of myself and the lucky Sawbill customers in my transportation group.


As a migratory bird, the American woodcock lives in the North (southern Canada, Maine and the Great Lakes region) during spring and summer but spends the cold months in the South (Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas). While migrating, woodcocks fly at the unusually low altitude of about 50 feet (compared to Canada Geese, which migrate at an altitude of about 3,000 feet).

Welcome back, woodcock! We hope to see more of you this summer! - Olive

Current Sawbill Newsletter | « May 2015 | July 2015 »

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