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

8/19/14 - Every customer who visits the Sawbill store knows that we have some pretty cool and unique merchandise, but now the Facebook community knows it too! A fan of the Red Cup Living products we sell recently visited the store and was so excited by our stock that she took a picture and sent it to the company. The photo got posted on the Facebook page of Red Cup Living, so now all their fans know where to find us! - Britta

The lovely photo that one of our customers sent in to Red Cup Living.

8/17/14 - Blueberry season is upon us! The pickins are ripe this time of year in late summer, and many, including the crew here at Sawbill, have been taking advantage of this glorious time of year to find our favorite spots and pick. One little known fact about blueberry season is that not only are the blueberries themselves prime for picking and baking into your favorite foods (pancakes, pies, muffins, etc.), but the leaves are also a valuable resource. Blueberry leaf tea is a very tasty, and very healthy tea that can be made simply by baking the blueberry leaves, and steeping them in tea. So have at it folks! Get out there and take advantage of the season while it lasts. Blueberry picking season usually lasts until the end of August. We could tell you some of our favorite spots, but we don't want to give away all of our secrets now do we? - Mark

Crew member Emma Nelson picking for berries at her favorite spot.

These berries are naturals in front of the camera.

A well rounded harvest of both blueberries and their leaves

So many berries!

8/15/14 - It's been quite some time since our last update on April Knight's canoe trip from Sawbill to York Factory on Hudson Bay. Last time we checked in with her she was about to get on a barge going up Lake Winnipeg.

April boarding the barge to go north on Lake Winnipeg.

Now, it is our pleasure to inform you that April finished her trip last Tuesday on August 5th after over 80 days on the water. It's great to have her back. What an inspirational woman! - Mark

April Knight at the end of her 80 day journey from Sawbill to Hudson Bay.

8/14/14 - Local photographer, Paul Sundberg, was recently on a canoe trip out of Sawbill. Lucky for us, he was nice enough to share some of his beautiful photographs from Alton Lake. To view or purchase photos from Paul's recent trip follow this link to his website. -Jessica




8/11/14 - Heads up for a detour starting today on Highway 61 in the Little Marais area. You will be routed up Highway 1 in Illgen City and back down Highway 6 to Highway 61 in Little Marais. The detour is 13 miles in total and adds 7 miles to your trip.

The good news is that the detour is quite scenic and takes you through the community of Finland, which has a lot of Minnesota character. You will pass by the Finland Co-op which is the oldest cooperative venture in Minnesota. You will also pass the Finland Heritage Center and the entrance to the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. -Bill

Here is a screen shot from the Minnesota Department of Transportation website:


8/10/14 - Former crew members often stop by and visit Sawbill; however, this year we've seen them in droves. Fifty former crew members have popped in to say hello so far, and it's been great to see them and hear their stories. Hopefully we get all these visitors back next year! - Britta

Tess, Mary, and Dan are three of the fifty former crew members who have come back to Sawbill in 2014.

8/8/14 - Music abounds at Sawbill! On Monday, musician Dessa came to Sawbill for her first canoe trip with our very own Bill Hansen before performing at Lutsen that night. Yesterday evening, the 3rd annual Songwriter Circle took place at the crew campfire ring. Jerry Vandiver, a Nashville singer/ songwriter, was joined by Bill, Sam Barbour of the Illnois band le Percolateur, local musician and former crew member Eric Frost, and musician Boyd Blomberg, part of the Minnesota band Pushing Chain. All the musicians were wonderful, and Grace Blomberg (Boyd's daughter) gave a special guest performance. The music went well into the night, to the delight of the listening crew and campground guests alike. -Britta

From left to right: Sam, Jerry, Eric, Boyd and Bill.

8/6/14 - The busy season is squarely upon us here at Sawbill. This past week we sent out one of our largest outfitting groups of the season topping out at a whopping 45 people, split into 5 groups and traveling on 5 different routes. The group was from the First Congregational Church of Western Springs, Illinois and led by long time Sawbill canoeist, Mike Tilden. They had spectacular weather over the course of their trip and seemed to have had a great time overall. -Jessica

All packed and ready to go.

The canoe rack was a fraction of its former self.

8/5/14 - This past weekend Sawbill celebrated the engagement of our very own Clare Hansen and Dan Shirley. Family and friends kicked off the party with a delicious dinner consisting of salmon, millions of delicious salads of all varieties, home brew, and scrumptious carrot cake and cupcakes from Lola's Sweet Life Bakery. The annual Dome Dance rounded off the festivities and fun was had by all! -Jessica

All smiles with Mary Alice.

View of the dance from outside the Dome.

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


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