5/20/08 – New crew members Marc Le Voir and Ellyn Phearman have arrived. Marc, Bill Hansen’s nephew, lives in Maple Lake, Minn., and just finished freshman year at Bemidji State University where he studies philosophy and German. Reckon this one’s a thinker. Ellyn grew up in Watertown, Minn., and just finished freshman year at Luther College in Iowa where she’s studying biology with aims of becoming a surgeon. Check her out brandishing cutlery below. Someday it could be surgical instruments. – Lee
Marc hangs a tent to be cleaned out behind the outfitter.
Ellyn goofs off while cooking dinner for the crew.
5/19/2008 – Grant and Jan Friberg caught three nice walleye on Sawbill Lake Saturday while out fishing for Grant’s 57th birthday. Jan caught the biggest one, just under two feet long. Grant had brought a bottle of Chardonnay up from their Wyoming, Minn., home betting he’d be eating fish on his birthday. Thanks to Jan’s good luck and their perseverance fishing through windy weather, Grant got his birthday wish and then some. – Lee
Jan and Grant Friberg show off their catch at the outfitter before dinner.
5/14/08 – When I opened the store this morning, I glanced at the schedule taped to the window sill and got a small shock. This impressively large spider is a wolf spider. According to Wikipedia, wolf spiders live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic wanderer hunters, pouncing upon prey as they find it or chasing it over short distances. Others lie in wait for passing prey, often from or near the mouth a burrow. It’s a good thing Cindy didn’t find it or we would have had to administer CPR to both Cindy and the spider. – Bill
A wolf spider inspects the store schedule.
5/12/08 – We have first hand reports now that all the lakes around Sawbill are ice free except Brule and Winchell. Based on a report yesterday from a wilderness ranger, it sounds like Brule will go out today.
Fishing reports for the opener were pretty good. Everyone caught fish. A group staying here at the Sawbill Lake campground before leaving on a canoe trip this morning caught several walleyes and a large bass right from the canoe landing.
Ed Dallas, Sawbill’s poet laureate, had heart bypass surgery six months ago, putting him on the sidelines for awhile. He is feeling well enough now to start composing his unique haikus again. Here are a couple of samples:
beside the trout lily
an empty creel
levee break –
Bad River’s harmonica
moans the blues
5/10/08 – Sawbill Outfitters is recommended in the June issue of Outside magazine! We haven’t seen it yet, but people tell us that we’re mentioned favorably on page 42.
Today is the opening day of fishing season. No reports yet. Due to the late spring, it is a quiet opener, with just a handful of hardy canoeists venturing out. It appears that all the lakes around here are ice free except Brule and Winchell. They should be ice free by the end of today or tomorrow at the latest.
Aaron Browning stopped by today on his way out on a week long canoe trip. Aaron makes fine laminated wooden paddles for sale. You can see his handiwork at his website: Boundary Canoe Paddles. – Bill
Sorry for the lousy picture. Our trusty digital camera has been screwing up about 80% of the pictures we’ve been taking and the new camera arrived just after this was taken.
5/9/08 – We marked the end of an era here at Sawbill when three big norway (red) pines that have been standing sentinel to our canoe yard came down. One of them was sort of “in” the driveway and had been hit by cars so many times over the years that it was entirely girdled around it’s base. The pine next to it was attacked by a pileated woodpecker this spring (see 4/20/08 entry below). The woodpecker removed so much wood that we were afraid the towering pine would snap off in the next wind storm, crushing a building, vehicle, pile of Kevlar canoes, or all of the above. As we contemplated cutting down these two damaged trees, we discovered serious rot in the base of third nearby red pine.
All the large pines on our property are roughly the same age. They sprouted following a huge fire in the 1890s that extended from 12 miles south of Sawbill all the way up into Canada. Fire ecologist Bud Heinselman estimated the size of that fire at nearly 3 million acres!
We were very sad to see the trees go, but every living thing reaches an end sometime. Sawmills won’t take logs that have been in a developed area for fear of ruining there saw blades on imbedded nails, so we will burn the trees in our boilers. – Bill
The canoe yard just before the three trees came down.
Two down and the third is just beginning to fall.
5/8/08 (Sunset) – The Sawbill crew opens the 2008 Beach Club less than 24 hours after all the ice left the lake. – Bill
Moments before the first swim of the year.
5/8/08 – Here is the latest lake ice information from the Forest Service pilot:
ICE STATUS as of 1530, Thursday, May 8, 2008
Cross River to Long Island
SOME ICE REMAINING
Seagull (especially on western end)
Saganaga (quite frozen, according to the pilot)
Trout (east of Kimball Lake Campground)
The pilot feels that things will change quickly with the exception of the
eastern side of the Gunflint Trail (Clearwater, Greenwood, Duncan, Pine,
Judith A. MacCudden
Gunflint Ranger District
Phone: (218) 387-3200
Fax: (218) 387-3246