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

11/30/16 - Reporting on ice out status is usually a spring job, but this fall the weather keeps us guessing. Warm temps and lots of rain have caused an interesting phenomenon on the lake. The ice is still there, but there is now an inch or more of water floating on top of it. This causes a strange appearance of open water that doesn't have any waves, regardless of how windy it gets. -Clare

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Bill snapped this photo showing the strange occurrence of Sawbill lake simultaneously frozen and open.

11/25/16 - The lake has officially frozen over here at Sawbill. As of two days ago, there was a skiff of ice covering all that we could see from the landing. We've had a bit more snow though, and day time temps are hovering around 34, with nights in the high-20s. So while we are impatiently waxing our skis, conditions are not yet safe for lake travel. -Clare

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The first delicate ice on south Sawbill.

11/20/16 - Winter arrived at Sawbill, literally overnight. Similar to much of Minnesota, we experienced quite the storm this past Friday. High winds and snow accumulation of 7.5" has turned the Wilderness into a sparkling snowglobe. One large tree came down, narrowly missing one of our buildings. The lake is still open, wavy waters are hard to freeze. We have our fingers crossed for some calm nights ahead; with temperatures forecasted to be in the single digits we could end up with the elusive "wild ice" which is perfect for ice skating. -Clare

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The Sawbill store is looking snug in its first winter coat of snow.

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High winds and freezing temperatures have created many ice sculptures on the shores of Sawbill Lake.

11/10/16 - Unseasonably warm and beautiful weather continues here at Sawbill this fall. The skies are blue, the waters are sparkling and it's almost tempting to go for a swim! There are subtle signs of winter approaching, however. Snow buntings, small birds with bright white wings, are flocking across the road. The loons have flown south taking their haunting wails with them, leaving a hint of the quietness that will soon envelope the wilderness. We saw a small snowshoe hare while on a walk yesterday that has started to turn from brown to white. We are taking these hints of winter to heart and enjoying these warm sunny days while we have them, and hope you are too. -Clare

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Dan's keen eye spotted this little bunny just off the trail.

11/4/16 - We had visitors of a four-legged variety yesterday. They must've heard us talking about putting in a new fire pit in the backyard and stopped by to check it out. It's the neighborly thing to do, after all. -Clare

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A moose cow and calf cruising through our backyard. Visit Sawbill Canoe Outfitters on Facebook to see a short video of the pair.

10/31/16 - Happy Halloween from Sawbill! Halloween always signifies the end of our season, and this year is no different. The canoes are stored away, safe and snug for a long winter, the snow buntings are flocking on the roadways, and Huckleberry is already missing all his new friends. -Clare

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10/20/16 - When former crew visit us in the Fall, the ensuing celebration is always BYOP - Bring Your Own Pumpkin. This year, we were happy to see former crew members Leif Gilsvik and Nils John Anderson along with Leif's girlfriend Elina. With an abundance of inspiration and optimism we carved up 12 jack-o-lanterns to adorn our deck. -Clare

Elina Leif Nils 10_20_16.jpg Elina, Leif, and Nils are all smiles.

Pumpkins2 10_20_16.jpg Clockwise from top left: Elliot's Hamm's beer tribute, Elina's map of the North Island of New Zealand, Carl's ode to the world's most perfect food, Nils' Monarch butterfly, Leif's map of the South Island of New Zealand, and Dan's rendition of the November gales on Lake Superior.

Pumpkins 10_20_16.jpg Clockwise from top left: Cindy drew inspiration from close at hand, Jess's friendly portrait of Huckleberry, Bill's nuanced depiction of Bob Dylan, Phil's minimalist Big Dipper, Brian's twist on the traditional Jack-O-Lantern, and Clare's wilderness scene.

10/15/16 - Carl Hansen, photographer extraordinaire who grew up at Sawbill, is back for a visit and these gorgeous nighttime pictures are the proof. - Bill

View from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing last night.

A clear view of the Milky Way is a rare sight these days in most places, but not at Sawbill.

The International Space Station makes its way over Sawbill Lake.

10/2/16 - We had two out of the ordinary groups go out into the BWCA Wilderness this gorgeous autumn weekend.

The first were two 18 year old women from Germany and Austria. They are working as au pairs for the year in the Twin Cities and decided to take advantage of the nearby wilderness area. Although wilderness canoe tripping was new to them, they proved to be very capable campers.

Magdalena Dolezal from Hofkirchen im Taunkries, Austria and Celine Bucker from Iserlohn, Germany impressively single portaging on their first BWCA Wilderness canoe trip.

As young as Magdalena and Celine are, our own Kit Shirley has them beat by at least 17 years. Kit (with her parents) completed her first overnight canoe trip this weekend. The permit is going into her baby book. - Bill

Kit Shirley is fully relaxed about her first wilderness canoe trip.

9/29/16 - Our annual used equipment sale has arrived. If you're planning a trip to Sawbill this fall don't forget to check out the sale located in the screen porch. Don't worry if you won't be in the area, you can also shop from home by checking out our website. Happy shopping! -Jessica


9/26/16 - We were honored to be the site of a wonderful wedding last weekend. Jackie and Zach Barnes were married on Sawbill Lake with their friends and family on a beautiful fall day.

The couple are taking leaves of absence from their jobs to travel for six months in Thailand, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. They plan to celebrate their anniversary each year at Sawbill at this most beautiful time of year.

Zach has been a Sawbill camper for many years with his parents, Terry and Kevin Barnes, from the Twin Cities. - Bill

Jackie and Zach Barnes

9/24/16 - If you've been within earshot of Sawbill crew member, Brian Henry, you've probably heard him talk about "Da Binky." His granddaughter, known to the rest of the world as Maddy, was up visiting last week and landed this lunker at an undisclosed location on Sawbill Lake.

Da Binky outfishes her grandpa again.

9/23/16 - More than 25 years ago, we had a visit from Carol Winter and Kirk Dornfeld, along with their 3 year old daughter, Tess. Carol was a former Sawbill crew member. We took Tess and our 3 year old daughter, Clare, for a walk. We used the cute picture we snapped in a picture frame display in the store. The sample frame, with the cute girls, sits on top of the cash register in the Sawbill Store to this day.

Tess recently returned to Sawbill to help us out by working for a couple of weeks. Brian Henry caught the two young women sitting together right behind their childhood picture. Tess was even wearing the same model of Sawbill sweatshirt! - Bill

Cute then and cute now!

9/14/16 - Sawbill's own Laura Hoppe was recently recognized in this summer edition of Legacy, published to keep readers up to date on how philanthropy fuels discovery at the University of Minnesota. Here is a link to the online article.

Laura has been a key member of the Sawbill crew the past four summers so we are very excited, but not too surprised, at the difference she is making. It's always great to see members moving on to bigger and brighter things. We can't wait to see where Laura goes next! - Jessica

9/9/16- The Northern Lights have been keeping us company for the past few evenings. Every clear night for the last week, at least one crew member has walked down to the landing for a lights check, and they keep on spotting some! It's always a treat to go out at night and see the Milky Way to south and the Aurora Borealis to the north. -Britta

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Brian snapped this picture one night- if you look closely, you can see the bottom of the Big Dipper in the upper part of the photo.


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