5/13/15 - Long time Sawbill customer, Frank Ferraro, is a psychology professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University. In recent years, he has conducted experiments on the effect of wilderness on the human brain.
5/12/15 - It is normal to have a day of two of snow in May up here in the north woods. This morning we woke up to a lovely coating of snow on the trees and the canoes. We love it, especially because tomorrow's forecast is warm and sunny. - Bill
The Wenonah canoes were a little heavy this morning. Within a few hours, they'll be back to their lightweight selves.
Frank is a longtime Sawbill customer and co-leader of a college class from Nebraskan Wesleyan University called "The Necessity of Wilderness" that outfits through Sawbill Canoe Outfitters.
I believe that almost everyone who travels for more than a few days in a wilderness setting feels a change in their thinking and attitude, but it's always nice to have data to back up your intuition.
You can listen to WTIP by clicking this link or go to WTIP.org. I will post a link to the archived interview when it's available. - Bill
5/7/15 - I had to drive over to Ely a couple of days ago to pick up some freight. On the way home I encountered this little bear eating grass alongside the road. It was so absorbed, that it didn't hear the truck coasting to a stop. Once Roy started barking though, it beat a hasty retreat. - Bill
Mamunur Adib and his friends sent along this charming video of their first ever BWCA Wilderness canoe trip last Memorial Day weekend. They had such a good time, they are already planning this year's trip.
5/2/15 - Our talented friend, Tom Spence, was among the first overnight canoeists out of Sawbill this season. He tried to paddle out on the day before the ice went out, but didn't get very far. He returned on the second day after ice out and spent a couple of nights camping on the north end of Sawbill Lake. - Bill
4/29/15 - By 5 pm last night, all trace of ice had disappeared from Sawbill Lake. Minutes later, the first car with a canoe on top rolled in. The wilderness canoeing season is under way! - Bill
Sawbill Lake is ready for canoes.
4/28/15 - As of noon today, Sawbill Lake is more than 90% ice-free, which is the official criteria for ice-out. By sunset, it should be completely clear except for a few small remnants.
April 28th is very close to the average ice-out date for Sawbill Lake. In the past, the average ice-out date was May 1st, but in the last 25 years it's been getting a little earlier. - Bill
The picture is a little deceiving, but in-person, it's clear that the ice is more than 90% gone.
4/27/15 - The ice is looking pretty flimsy on Sawbill Lake today. I think it will go out today, or tomorrow at the latest. - Bill
Our beloved former crew member, Molly Breslin, married Sam Barbour in Ottawa, Illinois on Saturday. Many Sawbill crew represented at the celebration.
The first thing we did when we arrived back at Sawbill was check the ice. It made a lot of progress over the weekend, but was still hanging in there at sunset on Sunday.
4/26/15 - Another beautiful day here at sunny Sawbill. The ice is now down to 8 7/16", to be exact. - Jessica
We were able to paddle around the ice to Mouse Island to snap this picture facing the canoe landing.
Honorary ice technician for today, Carla Hill, drills the test hole.
4/25/15 - Today Brian and I took a running start with our trusty Grumman and measured 11" of highly degraded ice. Each day the ice has receded further and further from shore. Before you know it the ice measuring crew will be able to make a sightseeing paddle along the open shore after taking the measurements. We did have to break through a thin layer of skim ice, but the forecast is looking promising with nothing but blue skies today, and temperatures predicted in the mid to high 50s the rest of the week. - Jessica
Brian holding the canoe steady as I drill the hole.
There is a real technique to to drilling the test holes. I would say it's an art-form really.
4/23/15 - No change in the lake ice for the last few days. The temperatures are still colder than usual and the sun is struggling just to melt the new snow.
Meanwhile, signs of spring are popping up here and there. - Bill
A fresh load of Wenonah canoes is a sure sign of spring, in spite of arriving in the middle of a mini-blizzard.
Frozen tie-down straps, sub-freezing temperatures and high winds made unloading the topmost canoes a challenge.