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August 2001

8/30/01 – We caught these two giant crayfish while fishing
with our super sized Shad Rap yesterday. (Thanks to our
mysterious Massachusetts benefactors for providing us with lots
of entertainment).

Giant crayfish invading northern Minnesota
lakes? Is skinny dipping still safe?

8/28/01 – Eight days and counting of almost perfect weather.
Every returning canoeist is raving about how beautiful the
weather has been. Beyond the obvious blue skies and light winds,
there seems to be a clarity to the air that refreshes and renews
with each breath. This is truly a golden moment in time, when we
are reminded each moment of the deep and intense beauty provided
by this unique, spinning blue ball. – Bill

8/23/01 – Ed Dallas, the Poet Laureate of Sawbill, writes
today:

summer night downpour
a soggy sleeping bag bends
a small spruce tree

8/22/01 – We’ve been enjoying a visit from Ulrika Larsson, a
student of eco-tourism from near Helsingborg, Sweden. Ulrika is
on a two year course of study in eco-tourism. She has been in the
United States since June, visiting with eco-tourism businesses
and land managers. She spent several weeks in Hawaii before
coming to Minnesota. While in Minnesota, she has spent time with
the National Park Service at the Grand Portage National
Monument., went on a week long work trip with Forest Service
wilderness rangers in the BWCA Wilderness, went sea kayaking on
Lake Superior and finally ended up at Sawbill for five days. She
will ultimately join the eco-tourism industry in Sweden in some
capacity. She has been very helpful to us in the absence of about
half of our regular crew who have departed for school. Besides
being a hard and willing worker, she is pleasant to visit with
and has a great accent đŸ™‚ We wish we could keep her, but she is
bound for Montana before her return to Sweden at the end of
September.

Ulrika Larsson

8/16/01 – The black bears have been pesky from time to time
this summer. Right after the 4th of July there were suddenly
bears everywhere. For about ten days virtually every returning
group had a bear story to tell. Then, just as suddenly, they
disappeared. It is no coincidence that the blueberries began to
ripen at about the same time. A couple of weeks ago the bears
began to reappear in camps. There are only a few areas where they
seem active right now. Beth Lake is a hotbed at the moment. One
family returned from Beth last week claiming that they had five
bears in their camp – at the same time! They had their food
adequately hung out of reach so the bear gang wasn’t successful
in stealing any food, but it unnerved then enough to force a
lake change. They said it appeared that the group consisted of
two adults and three two year old cubs.

It is great to have an animal as beautiful and spectacular as
the the North American Black Bear in our wilderness. They are
smart, resourceful and fascinating. Occasionally, they ruin a
canoe trip by stealing all the food. Fortunately, they are
friendly to a fault and have no interest in harming humans. It is
a challenge for all of us to learn to coexist with these
magnificent animals.

8/10/01 – Jan Moravec, long time Sawbill canoeist, sent this
along today:

Well, our annual trip to the north was once again a fabulous
time and great
reuniting of this crazy group. We are now in 6 different states
since I
recently moved to Tucson.

I thought I’d send along this photo to illustrate the newest look
in camping
togs. The chiffon pareos started out as a joke from one of the
girls but she
got the last laugh because we all ended up wearing them during
the day after
swimming! Quite a fashion statement I must say. We decided that
if anyone
approached our campsite and saw all these larger than life women
in chiffon
pareos, they would surely think we were the sorriest bunch of
campers up
there! Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thanks again for your hospitality and we are already planning for
next year.

Jan Moravec
& the BWISBS

BWISBs (Big Women In Sports Bras) 2001

I took a short run on the Superior Hiking Trail last night in
the blessedly cool air. The wind was tossing the tops of the
shaggy barked maples. At one point I had to duck under a leaning
cedar. More than any other tree, the cedar strikes me as alive
and sentient. How does it perceive the world with it’s roots
anchored deep in the soil and its top shaped by thousands of
seasonal changes? Is my passage registered as a blink of
activity? Or, am I too ephemeral to even register in the cedar’s
slow sense of time? If you have ever held wood cut from a living
cedar, you know it feels disturbingly like flesh. In spite of
this, I live in a cedar house, the wood as dry and light as
bones. The wood is the legacy of the living tree and inspires one
to leave a similar legacy. As I ran down the damp, winding trail,
I breathed a thank you to the folks who conceived and built this
beautiful trail for my enjoyment. Their legacy and the cedars’
are serving me well. Finishing the run, I stripped off my t-shirt
and gloried in the feeling of cool air against my skin. Do I
smell a hint of Fall in the air? – Bill

8/6/01 – Ed Dallas, Sawbill’s Poet Laureate writes:

It has been a real joy to read all the last lines, for my
haiku that was
posted on the newsletter, that have been submitted by the readers
of the
newsletter. I got a real good laugh from the suggestion of
"canoe graffiti"
by "Rube" Rubinstein. The mental picture of gangs of
teenage boys roaming
the BWCAW, ramming their canoes into rocks at portage trails and
campsites
just to leave their marks was just too much! As you know a haiku
is suppose
to capture a moment in time for the reader and with that I would
like to
thank Wally Neal and E.M. Schroeder for their suggestions as I
have combined
theirs into the following:

modern rock paintings
red green silver marks scraped from
the hides of canoes

Their entries made be recall a canoe trip my family took on Great
Slave Lake
up in the N.W.T. of Canada, back in the early 90’s. We had been
looking for
an old portage trail for several hours and when we did find it we
also found
a long forgotten birch bark canoe repair kit, that was lying up
against a
spruce tree. there were several pieces of birch bark wrapped
around 5
hand-carved cedar ribs and three hunks of harden spruce sap, used
to melt
and seal the seams. You could still see the small holes along the
edge of
the birch bark where spruce roots were used to lash the pieces of
bark to
the thwart of the canoe. I could just imagine the care that guy
must have
took not to run aground with his canoe. Do the modern day
canoeist take that
much care? Do they have the time and knowledge to repair their
canoe? Thanks
guys for bringing back that canoe trip for me. Thanks to all who
suggested a
last line. I will do this project again. Now if all of you will
suggest ways
to break this heat I will be grateful.

Have a good poetry day
Ed

PS……. I caught only one fish on that canoe trip, a 35lb. lake
trout 53"
long!!!

8/5/01 – Wanted to pass these thoughts
along, reflecting on our past week up in Gods country.
What a study in contrasts!  Starting with thunderstorms in
the night, the first three nights, culminating with the
outrageous storm at 1:40 am on Wednesday, August 1st.  The
storm lasted until 4am  and pounded us with supposedly 80
mph winds, 2 inches of rain, and a sound and light show that even
Steven Spielberg could not match.  Talk about
surround-sound!  Our thoughts ran from whether our tents
would hold…with us in them; would the trees stay in the ground;
and would the canoes be there in the morning.
Then to have the skies clear on Wednesday afternoon, and enjoy
the next three days of near perfect weather, with clear nights, a
nearly full moon and lakes like glass mirrors in the morning, was
really wonderful!
Experiencing these contrasting conditions made for a very
memorable trip!
Hugh, Mary, Tyler and Graham Norsted

And:

How about;

Modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
awestruck paddlers’ boats

or (my preference)

Modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
spellbound pilgrims’ craft

I enjoy hearing about Sawbill and the adventures that others are
experiencing. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a BWCA trip,

hopefully I’ll get a chance to experience the magic again soon.

Guy Jodarski
Neillsville, WI

8/4/01 – More suggestions for the last line of Ed Dallas’,
Sawbill’s Poet Laureate, unfinished haiku:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by

From "Rube" Rubinstein,
former Sawbill crew member (from the last century):

My line for the haiku hack…
"canoe graffiti."

From E M Schroeder:

I Propose:

Modern rock paintings:
red, green, silver. Marks ripped from
the hides of canoes.

8/2/01 – Wally Neal writes:

Suggested last line for the haiku
  "……..wind-pushed scraping hulls."

    I never was much into poetry, as you can
tell.

Liz Aicher contributes:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
sidewalk-less
artists

Marerijac@aol.com tries:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
the finger of God

This reminded me of Charleton Heston in The Ten Commandments,
when he walked
down from the mountain, and holding out the two tablets said,
"Carved by the
finger of God."

From Carol Roe:

,How about:
       Modern rock paintings
                        red,
green.silver marks left by,
                        canoe
and kayak.

or
                    errant
canoeist.

or
                    reckless
canoeist.

Have fun… I do enjoy
your submissions to the Sawbill newsletters, Ed.
  sincerely CAROL ROE

Last, but not least, from Dave Minnich:

Hey there,

I was just reading the newsletter entry for 7/31, and had the
following
suggestion for Ed Dallas:

modern rock paintings
red, green, silver marks left by
today’s voyageurs

I appreciate reading the newsletter, and look forward to our next
trip
north.

–dave

8/1/01 – Earlier this summer, I was on Ogishkemuncie with a
brisk west wind. I was headed east, quite nice. The day before I
coasted across Kekekabic running with two-foot rollers. It felt
like a dream. The day before that, the wind blew me lickety-split
from Kawishiwi to Beaver Lake. Prior to the trip, I could not
decide where or how far to go. From the start, the wind had clear
intentions, so I followed along. In wilderness, the weather rules
supreme, each variety of weather governing with a unique charm.

Charming indeed to travel with the wind for three days, as good a
companion as any to help the miles ease by. I experimented with
various sail ideas and decided to use the most rudimentary wind
catches I had: my pack and body. Propping the pack as high in the
bow as possible provided considerable push from the wind. I
leaned back, paddle hooked under my arm as a rudder, and let the
pack and sides of the canoe perform the work of propulsion. It
was a delight riding the miles of Kekekabic this way: listening
to the white caps, feeling my insides tickle with the lifting
stern, and gazing up at cumulous clouds in rows to the horizon.
Across Ogishkemuncie I put my back into it, standing up into wind
stronger than where it drags along the water. It worked well,
t-shirt plastered against my back and my legs adding a bit of
sail, too. To steer, I rigidly held the paddle blade out to the
side where wind would catch it and, through the axis of my body,
force the bow around. The view and speed felt like ski-skating on
the lakes in late winter. It was such fun. I stood all the way
across Ogishkemuncie, amused and carefree, glad to be moving
through the country.

I entered the calm waters of the Louse River and was without the
company of the wind for a day. I woke on Malberg the final day to
discover the wind suggesting a different course than that which
my schedule allowed. I bucked the wind all day. At times the
blowing was so fierce, the wind seemed to be pleading with me for
a new direction, to keep my company a while longer. Alas, I
ignored that hearty invitation, returning to the rhythms and
plans of my town life. I’ll get with Wind again soon, and
someday I’ll pay an appropriate visit—go for months,
better acquaint myself with Wind, Sun, Moon, all of them. OB