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

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

Northern_Lights_9_9_16 copy.jpg
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.

9/2/16 - Every day here at Sawbill we see old friends walking through the door. Few are as long of acquaintance as Al and Bonnie Frielund, from Duluth. Al started camping at Sawbill in 1952, so is one of the rare people who predate our family, who arrived in 1957.

I have many fond memories surrounding Al, Bonnie and their family over the years. Although they don't do much camping anymore, it was sure good to have them in the store once again! - Bill

Al Frielund and Bill Hansen reminiscing in the Sawbill Store. Photo by Bonnie Frielund.

8/31/16 - As the leaves begin to change and the summer daylight wanes, so do our hours. Starting Labor day we will be open from 8am until 7pm.

Although we'll be open a few hours less each day there is still plenty of time to get those last minute canoe trips in. This time of year is prime time for beautiful weather, no bugs, and fewer people. - Jessica

Roy gazing into the sunset.

8/23/16 - Wildlife sightings can be the cherry on top of any wilderness camping trip. Catching a glimpse of a 1,000 pound moose measuring six feet tall at the shoulder is quite the thrill, but if you aren't lucky enough to see one in the flesh the careful observer can often put together the story of animals who have already passed through. Portages and campsites are the perfect place to find tracks and scat left by these animals. It's pretty fun to imagine what it would have been like to be standing in the same place just a few minutes, hours, or possibly even years ago when the sign had been first left. -Jessica

It's fun to picture a black bear bumbling along the portage hours before I came along to snap this photo.

This moose skull was found on a campsite a couple days paddle from Sawbill. How did it meet its demise? Hard to say, but it doesn't hurt to speculate.

8/21/16 - Nashville singer, songwriter Jerry Vandiver recently passed along this very nice video featuring his "Leave No Trace" song. The video was put together by the Leave No Trace Center and talks about the history and mission of their organization. Worth a watch. -Jessica

8/18/16 - How many places can you think of more romantic than the Boundary Waters? I bet many of us can agree it's pretty hard to beat waking up to an early morning mist setting in over the lake, watching the colors of the sun reflecting off the clouds as it sets behind the horizon, or gazing up at some of the darkest night sky many of us will ever see.

Thom Stang must have been thinking along these lines when he decided to propose to Stephanie Morris during their 11 day canoe trip. The couple's friend, Joe, very carefully carried the ring in his pocket the first four days the distance to Little Saganaga lake. On the fourth day Thom popped the question and Stephanie has been transporting the ring on her finger ever since. -Jessica

Stephanie and Thom shortly after returning from their trip.

8/15/16 - The first few miles of the Sawbill Trail have been a summer training stop among competitive cross country skiers over the years. With the addition of another 10 miles of fresh pavement their training ground vastly expanded. Yesterday a group of at least 50 roller skiers made their way up the seemingly endless inclines as they traveled away from the shores of Lake Superior. Quite the sight to see. - Jessica

Caution signs were posted along their route.

Nothing but uphill and fresh pavement.

8/12/16 - The Olympic spirit is alive and well in the north woods. A few days ago we held our very own Sawbill Olympics. Teams of two, representing various countries, competed in a myriad of events. Semifinals included; bear rope rolling, calculating rental agreements, and a retail scavenger hunt. Participants were scored on speed and accuracy.

The gold medal event took place the following day between teams Denmark and Croatia. Each portaged their aluminum canoes from the store down to the landing, paddled in opposite directions around mouse island, and then quickly portaged back to the store. Medals were awarded to the following countries; gold to Denmark (Owen and Elena), silver to Croatia (Claire and Dan), and bronze to Finland (Cindy and Brian).

Many thanks to the Olympic committee for organizing the events and to the athletes for participating. - Jessica

The start of the gold medal race. Croatia on the left, Denmark on the right.

Neck and neck for the first leg of the race.

Team Denmark pulls ahead after rounding mouse island.

Mixed emotions from Denmark as they take home the gold.

8/8/16 - This information was sent to us from the Cook County Highway Department regarding construction on the Sawbill Trail:

According to County Engineer David Betts, paving on the Sawbill Trail was completed on Friday, August 5th, well ahead of schedule. Finishing work will continue over the next three weeks. Motorists are advised that traffic will be restricted where the work is occurring and should plan accordingly.

Happy travels! - Elena

8/6/16 - Customer Chris McGreevy sent us some photos from his recent stay in the Sawbill campground.

Night Fishing on Sawbill Lake

Successful fishing means fish for dinner!

Chris was also lucky to have his campsite protected from squirrels and chipmunks by Director of Campground Security, Phoebe Fern.

Phoebe keeps an eye out for squirrels.. and possibly some bacon.

We love to see photos from your time at Sawbill. Thanks, Chris! - Elena

8/5/16 - Sawbill crew and customers have been lucky enough to see the Aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, several times this summer. On August 2nd, they were out in full force. Customer Christopher Glenn was out on the dock at the same time as the crew, and was kind enough to send us this photo.

This photo doesn't quite do the experience justice - it was an unbelievable sight. Perhaps it is best summed up by this passage from the Robert Frost poem "On Looking Up By Chance at the Constellations":

You'll wait a long, long time for anything much
To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud
And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.

When you make your way up to Sawbill, be sure to ask someone at the Rentals desk for the Northern Lights forecast! You might just get lucky. - Elena


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