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Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: December 2016
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « November 2016 | January 2017 »

12/29/16 - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Joyous New Year from us all at Sawbill!

Dan, Clare, and baby Kit flew the coop to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the holiday but are back in the frozen north now. Bill and Cindy along with crew member Jessica Hemmer graciously watched after Sawbill and Huckleberry while we were away. There is a lot of snow on the ground up here and winter campers have been making their way out onto the lakes. We'll update you on the conditions after we dig out from the underneath the pile of mail and snow awaiting us. -Clare

christmas pic 12_29_16.jpg

12/19/16 - A good old fashioned Minnesota winter freeze set in this week and the lake ice is measuring about 9.5" around 50 feet out from shore. The cold has helped the slush to freeze solid from what we've experienced. Unfortunately, the windchills of around -20 to -30 have mostly kept us off the lake. Tomorrow though, it is supposed to be back on the above zero side of the thermometer. There isn't much snow on the ground, still only around 7 inches. Things are shaping up for some great lake skiing in 2017! -Clare

12/15/16 - Sawbill is enduring, and even enjoying, the first real deep freeze of the winter. Yesterday the high was -6. The last ice measurement, two days ago, was five and half inches of clear ice and no slush! I expect that it will be thicker every day with these sub-zero temps. -Clare

12/10/16 - Dan braved the questionable early season ice yesterday to get a thickness measurement. He reports that there are four inches of clear ice with about three inches of slush on top of that with an inch or so of snow on top of the slush.

Slush is formed when water flows up from cracks in the ice or around the edges of the lake. Often, a blanket of heavy snow on new ice will push the ice down and cause water to rise up. This water mixes with the snow and creates the slush layer. That slush is then insulated by any snow that remains on top of it. Snow is a remarkably good insulator and thus slushy conditions can persist even in the coldest parts of winter.

Slush is a bummer for outdoor enthusiasts. Slush stuck to your skis quickly freezes when exposed to the air leaving you lugging along heavy ice chunks on your feet instead of gliding over the surface like you'd hoped.

Slush doesn't occur in predictable patterns, so we have our fingers crossed that only the landing area is so slushy. With a new baby and dog in tow we didn't dare venture out any further to test the ice conditions. As this cold snap continues, we'll sneak farther and farther out to auger holes and keep you updated. -Clare

lake sunset 12_10_16.jpg
We were treated to this sunset at 4:30 PM while we drilled a test hole in the lake ice.

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