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July 2004

7/30/04 – Not to be outdone
by Shawn Peyton, Sawbill customer Michael Newmeister sent us this pic from a recent
Boundary Waters trip he took out of Sawbill. This 42" Northern Pike was released
and can be found prowling in a lake near you.

fish, Mike.

7/28/04 – Effective July 30, a partial fire ban
will go into effect in the BWCAW. In the restricted area, fires will be permitted
only between 7 p.m. and midnight. The restricted area includes all the lakes east
of Hazel, Wine and Mesaba Lakes (including Sawbill Lake). The ban also includes
almost all of the northern half of the BWCAW. Fires are still permitted at any
time in the unrestricted area.

Sawbill customers Jim and Pat
Langsdale from Texas stopped in yesterday on their way to Burnt Lake. They were
visiting the site where they were engaged 27 years ago.

and Pat Langsdale

7/25/04 – Sawbill customer Shawn Peyton
bragged to us back in May that he caught a monster Northern Pike up on Trail Lake.
Yesterday he sent us the proof via email. Trail Lake sits exactly on the halfway
point of the rugged and infrequently-used Louse River. Ordinarily, we don’t like
to disclose the location of big fish on this page, but we are confident that,
as in the past, only the most determined anglers will make the trip to Trail.
I am always trying to convince our more adventurous customers to give the Louse
River a try. It’s got the whole package–solitude, scenery, fishing, nasty portages–everything
you could want out of a wilderness trip. Shawn gives some great description in
an article he published

Sawbill customer Shawn Peyton and fish pause for reflection.

campers recently discovered a female’s wedding band on a campsite on Polly Lake.
The ring, pictured below, has "BECKY 9-20-02" and "14K-L"
engraved on the inside. Please contact us if you feel you have any relevant information
which could help us track down the ring’s owner.

Is this your ring?

7/23/04 – Every few
years or so, we Sawbill crew members like to take a few days to reorient ourselves
with our popular canoeing routes. It’s a tough gig, but it’s only fair to our
customers if we know the facts before counseling them to go this way or that way.
Crew members Dave Freeman, Jeff Green, former crew member Eric Frost (’97 – ’02)
and I decided to check out the remote Frost River
this past week. The highlight of any visit to Frost Lake is a visit to the fabled
brown sand beaches. After winding our way through miles of river and climbing
over a half-dozen or so beaver dams, we reached to headwaters and settled into
a nice rhythm of swimming, fishing and relaxation.

member Jeff Green passes out immediately after being told he accidentally paddled
to Mexico.

7/19/04 – On Saturday night we got a call from
the Forest Service requesting our assistance. A man and his 12 year old son were
stranded on Malberg Lake, a 4-hour paddle North of Kawishiwi Lake, when their canoe
was ripped in half after flipping in a set of rapids. Eric Frost, a former crew
member, and I set out yesterday morning to bring them a new canoe. It took us
a few minutes to get used to our silent partner, the second canoe dragging behind
ours, but we soon settled into a steady rhythm as we made our way North from Kawishiwi
to Malberg. Painted turtles, loons, mink, and pitcher plants captured our attention,
and soon we were paddling up to the father and son waiting for their canoe. The
bow and stern of their old canoe lay in a pile on the sand beach by their campsite.
After a few minutes of visiting and a thorough canoe orientation we hopped back
in our canoe.

sure hope our canoe doesn’t come back looking like this!

of retracing our route back to Kawishiwi we decided to take the lesser traveled
Louse River back to Sawbill. It was one o’clock by the time we started back, and
we knew we had a solid 7 or 8 hours of paddling ahead of us. The small lakes and
shallow marshy rivers that make up the Louse River are connected by a series of
narrow foot paths that often combine steep hills, sharp turns, and boot-sucking
mud, which can make for some very interesting portaging.

reward, however, was total solitude and several truly memorable animal encounters.
I am sure we will remember the three river otters that spent 5 minutes barking
at us as they danced around our canoe, enjoying the moment as much as we did.
However, for me the real highlight of the trip was was the countless water lilies
in full bloom. It is so easy to get lost in the intricate white, yellow and green
patterns of a dense bed of lilies. – Dave

Frost paddling through a maze of water lilies.

you could only smell a photo!

7/17/04 – The 2004 Sawbill Beard
Off has turned into a very heated competition. As we enter the final stage of
the competition all competitors are concentrating on growing the best beard possible.
Yesterday, a man with one of the bushiest beards I have ever seen came into the
store. Anxious to gain the upper hand on my competitors I walked over to the man
and started telling him about our Beard Off. I was hoping that this Jedi Master
of beards would provide me with some kernel of knowledge that could transform
my beard into one that Santa Claus would be proud of over night. Unfortunately,
I was not able to glean his beard growing tips, but I was able to convince him
to pose with us for a photo. -Dave

Pat, Jeff, and Dave pose with a man with a REAL BEARD!

– For one night every summer Sawbillians spin, promenade, waltz, and jig at the
Dome Dance. This year’s Dome Dance lived up to its growing reputation and everyone
had a wonderful time dancing the night way. A huge warm fuzzy to Terence and Mark
for the beautiful music and masterful calling.

and Clare sharing a waltz.

take four steps in with a big Yaaaah Hoooo!!!

whole crew smiling for the camera. Don’t we look great!

– Molly and Taramin, one of Molly’s friends, left on a canoe trip on Sunday. All
of the hype that snoosing has received lately put them on high alert, and we were
unable to get snoose items in their packs before they left. Unfazed, Alison and
I decided to leave on a top secret snoosing mission at 6 am yesterday. Sunday
night we packed a light lunch, rain gear, cameras, and our snoose item of choice,
Roscoe. Roscoe is a two foot tall plastic penguin that has been floating around
Sawbill for many years. We felt that Roscoe really needed something more to complete
the snoose so we dressed him in "the sling-shot". The sling-shot was
crafted by Sawbill’s employee Sonya Hanson, it is a style of bathing suit somewhat
popular in California that resembles a thong that is held up by suspenders rather
than a waistband. After securing "the sling-shot" to Roscoe with a liberal
supply of tape, our snoosing trio was ready to hit the water.

We sped along breaking the lakes glassy surface with every paddle stroke.

Our best intelligence told us that Molly and Taramin were
camping on South Temperance Lake, about 3 hours of fast paddling from Sawbill.
As the miles drifted by, the sun rose higher and the temperatures soared into
the 70’s. When we reached Jack Lake we began sneaking up to campsites to see if
our snoosees where there. Finally we tromped across the 240 rod portage that connects
Weird Lake to South Temperance. Sure that we would find them, we removed Roscoe
from the pack and made plans for our attack. As we inched along the shoreline
we saw Molly and Taramin enjoying a morning swim off their campsite. As we slid
the canoe up to the campsite Taramin saw us and exclaimed, "Isn’t that Alison?"
Alison waved Roscoe at them as she leapt onto their campsite. They began swimming
as hard as they could back to shore, but it was too late. We quickly paddled away,
encouraging them to take good care of Roscoe.

Roscoe peeks out of Alison’s pack as we tackle a portage.

the sweet smell of victory, our paddling cadence decelerated to a more normal
pace and we started looking for a place to stop and have lunch. After we were
sure that they were not following us, we found a nice sunny rock and stopped for
a break. The rock proved to be the perfect spot for a swim, and after summoning
up a little courage we began hucking our selves into the cool lake. After gobbling
down a few sandwiches it was time to it the water. We still had three hours of
paddling ahead of us and there was work to be done back at Sawbill.

Alison lets out a whoop as she pops to the surface.

Our muscles
were beginning to tire as we paddled south down Sawbill into a growing headwind.
We had been on the water 8 hours and had covered over 20 miles of lakes and portages.
We slowly paddled down the lake recounting the day’s events and thinking up future

7/11/04 – Yesterday afternoon the unthinkable happened.
The water pump from our well gave out causing a water crisis. Showering, flushing
the toilets, washing dishes, even brushing our teeth became a chore. The whole
crew pitched in by hauling water from the campground and taking dips in the lake
to replace hot showers. Luckily we were able to get a new pump installed this
morning and everything is back to normal. Going without water for a day makes
you realize that you really take running water for granted.

could feel my beard growing as we all stood around watching the well get fixed.

steady soaking rain lulled me to sleep last night and continued to drop much needed
rain all night long. In the morning I found a beautiful Luna moth trying to dry
its water-logged wings. The 6-inch long moth sat motionless as I took several
photos and admired the intricate patterns that adorned its wings. Luna moths are
rarely seen because they only fly at night and each moth is only alive for 6 or
7 days after emerging from its cocoon. Luna moths are unable to eat because they
do not have mouths. They rely on the nourishment gained from the leaves that they
devour as a caterpillar to see them through their brief winged life. – Dave

Luna Moth drying its wings after a rainy night.

7/9/04 –

(Sonya’s Dog), Homer, and Sunny discuss themes for the second annual one eyed
dog conference, tentatively planned for July 16th, 2005. Sunny’s lecture on advanced
dog treat detection for one eyed canines drew a large crowd. She is planning to
publish several exciting papers on dog treat detection and several other topics
in the OCCS’s (Optically Challenged Canine Society’s) quarterly newsletter. When
asked about this year’s conference, Toby said," I have always felt ashamed
and alone because I poked my eye out with a squeaky toy….. Meeting other one-eyed
dogs has helped me realize that there are optically challenged dogs out there
living happy, healthy lives. Sunny and Homer have taught me so much. I can’t wait
for next summer’s conference!" – Dave

7/8/04 – A beautiful
day brought day trippers out in droves, keeping the store and the rental department
busy all morning. Now people are returning with stories of moose sightings and
great fishing. Today was certainly a great day to be out paddling. Some of our
crew members have been gone for the last few days enjoying this fine weather.
Walter, Alison, and Sonya are all gone right now and it doesn’t feel the same
without them. Walter headed home to Indiana for Freshman orientation: he will
be starting college at Purdue at the end of August. Sonya and Alison are exploring
the north woods on foot and by canoe.

For many years now a
game of cat and mouse has been played between crew members leaving on trips into
the wilderness and crew members left behind to run Sawbill. We worked hard this
week, and we are confident that both Alison and Sonya were carrying a little something
extra when they left Sawbill. The idea is to find creative, sometimes heavy objects
that people will have no use for during their trip. Once items have been selected,
the crew does everything in their power to slip items into the travelers’ packs
in strict secrecy. If an item is successfully placed in someone’s pack and they
leave on their trip without noticing it, they have been "Snoosed"! No
one wants to be snoosed, so potential snoosees often carry their packs around
with them as they pack, lock packs in their cars, pack their packs in the middle
of the night, or in extreme cases pack a set of dummie packs and then pack their
real packs in secret.

and her family pose for photos as snoosers cram useless items into their packs.

At the same time, the snoosers are constantly looking for
new ways to trick the snoosees. The most common method of snoosing is the "lay
in wait" method, which involves waiting around until a potential snoosee
leaves a pack unattended. The "distraction" method, which involves setting
up a distraction that will draw a crew member away from the packs long enough
for other crew members to sneak in and plant the snoose items, is also common.
We used this "distraction" method while snoosing Sonya and her parents.
Another method is to stick items in sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tents and
hope that the snoosees choose those items when they pack their packs. In extreme
cases, snoosers will paddle out into the BWCAW at night in search of crew members’
campsites. Once located, a highly trained set of snoosers can wreak havoc on a
campsite. One of my favorite snooses involved trading someone’s 42-pound, ultra-light
kevlar canoe for a 63-pound Alumacraft in the middle of the night!

all we can do is wait for the snoosed to return from their trips and scheme about
future snooses. Unfortunately, I think I will be the next crew member to go out
on a trip. I’d better have my wits about me while I pack. – Dave

7/6/04 – The US Forest Service tells us they are finding more
evidence than in the past of campers in the BWCA burning their garbage–especially
plastics. They have issued a warning to permit issuing stations (which we, in
turn, are passing on to you) basically stating that rangers will be looking
for this violation and will not hesitate to issue citations.

In other news, we have failed to report so far that former Sawbill
crew member, Nathan TerBeest (’97 – ’03), and his longtime lady friend, Belinda,
tied the knot on June 19 in lovely Sioux Center, Iowa. Sawbill was well represented,
and everyone seemed to have a Nathan story good enough to make his Mother-in-Law-to-be
blush. Nathan’s skill and charm are already missed up here; we made the same
plea to him we give to all of our former employees who leave Sawbill for the
real world: quit, come back.

Nathan and Belinda TerBeest maintain composure on their wedding

7/5/04 – Another July 4 weekend come and gone–plenty of action
at Sawbill. We had (another) festive dinner Friday night featuring beach-themed
food and attire. Former crew members Paul Lundgren, Will Decker and Sandy Zinn
were on hand to commemorate the creation of the now-imfamous Sawbill Beach club,
an organization they helped found sometime back in the depths of Sawbill antiquity
(possibly the late ’80s).

I wish they all could be Sawbill girls …

Words escape me …

7/2/04 – One of my favorite BWCA lakes of all time has to be Makwa–huge
cliffs, clear, deep water, and great lake trout hunting. With the impending
July 4 rush still a day away, Lida and I couldn’t resist the chance to go up
there for a casual lunch date yesterday. After 1 1/2 hours of cliff jumping
and sunbathing, and a lunch of ultra-thick thuringer and cheese sandwiches,
we headed back to Sawbill via Little Saganaga (another great lake). It should
be noted that during the course of the day, Lida spotted three Western Painted
turtles, and I saw only two.


Lida deftly paddles the new Bell Kevlar Seliga.

In a competition utterly unrelated to turtles, the First Annual
Sawbill Beard-Off is well underway and several key trends are beginning to emerge.
Dave Freeman and Pat Nash are locked in a dead heat for the Length, Thickness
and Overall Aesthetic categories; Walter Booker looks like a shoe-in for "Best
Skunk Spot"; Jeff Green and Loren Mcwethy are vying for the prized "Most
Vagrant-Like" award. Meanwhile, Adam Hansen appears to be running away
with the fan favorite "Best Trash ‘Stache."

In a move that is sure to shake up the competition, former crew
member Erik Hoekstra (’98 – ’00) shaved off his beard of four years and threw
it into the ring. Will he catch the other competitors? Check back here to find

Left: Former crew member Erik Hoekstra is back on the straight
and narrow. Right: Current crew member Jeff Green is not.