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The Roofs Around Sawbill Sigh in Relief

2/8/23 – Tis the season for removing snow from the buildings around Sawbill. Like most things around here there’s a particular process for getting the job done. I cut snow blocks using an old campground sign and then Dan comes in with a giant shovel to break them loose and push them off the edge. It’s one of those things that’s a decent amount of work, but pretty darn rewarding once you see the progress and think about the weight of each block being removed.


A block of snow about to join it’s friends in the debris pile below.
Shower house before…
and after.
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Now Hiring – Sawbill Campground Host!

1/28/23 – If you’ve ever stayed at the Sawbill campground, there’s a good chance you’ve interacted with one of our fabulous hosts. Our most recent hosts have found themselves new jobs with less summer availability, so we’re on the search for the right person or people to step into that role.

If you’re interested, send us an email at and we’ll send along the job description and a link to the application.


Site 17 – home sweet home for Sawbill hosts
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Intel from the Lake

1/19/23 – This morning Huck and I decided to put on our reconnaissance hats and head out on the lake. It was a bit breezy but we persevered north past Mouse Island (gotta get the information out to the masses). We were the first tracks on the lake since the most recent snowfall (Tuesday/Wednesday) and are happy to report relatively easy travel through 6-12″ of fluffy snow and very minimal slush. If I really dug down I could find slush, but I had no problem walking around in my mukluks. -Jessica

Huckleberry collecting a full scent profile.
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Sawbill New Years

1/3/23 – This past weekend a few of us gathered to ring in the new year on Sawbill Lake, as is tradition. Too much fun ensued. -Jessica

Dan rode the snowmobile down this trail earlier in the day and came across a big bull moose. Lets just say we were not quite while trimming back the snow-laden alder that blocked some of the trail, so we did not see said moose, but did come across it’s tracks.
The New Years Crew ringing in 2023 on the lake. Cast of characters includes (left to right); me, Paul (back), Mongo (front), Kevin, and Dan.
New Years Day we headed out for a ski on the lake. First things first, gotta fill out that permit.
Conditions were so good Paul couldn’t help but showoff his ski ballet moves. We ran into a little slush, but nothing too bad. The lake was windswept after that crazy storm just over a week ago so the snow was minimal making skiing pretty darn easy compared to the usual mid winter trudge through snow and slush.
Lastly, we finished out the weekend with a campfire. Good stuff.
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Happy Winter!

12/22/22 – Nothing says winter solstice celebration like a rip roaring campfire as the last light dwindles from the shortest day of the year. With the complete lack of wind yesterday how could I not?! -Jessica

Last light.
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Canoe Delivery

12/19/22 – Bill Pfoha, with Wenonah Canoe, must have been a postal carrier in a former life. Literally hours after the snow stopped dumping last week he arrived with a load of ten shiny new canoes. After a brief pitstop in the freshly fallen snow the canoes made their way into the shed to ride out the rest of the winter with their compatriots. -Jessica

The rookies posing with me, Dan, and Huckleberry (photo courtesy of Bill Pfoah).
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Photo Dump after the Snow Dump

12/17/22 – Until this morning the snow’s been off and on (mostly on) since Wednesday afternoon. Here are some pictures showing the final results. -Jessica

Yesterdays yurt snow removal.
Front of the store this morning.
Road to the canoe landing (featuring Huck).
10am at the canoe landing.
Thursday afternoon the snow was perfect for sculpting a snow masterpiece.
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It’s a Frosted Mini Wheat World in the Winter

12/15/22 – This morning we woke up to a forest covered in frosting and it’s still coming down! We received maybe 5″ yesterday, and another 6-8″ overnight. The wind has been whipping off and on though, so it’s a little hard to get an accurate measurement. With the snowpack we already had on the ground that adds up to about 20″ of snow in the woods. Getting very excited to break out the snowshoes and skis! -Jessica

The Sawbill Trail about 11am this morning.
Just off the canoe landing the snow has drifted to almost two feet and there looks to be a good amount of slush further out, which means lake travel will be a little dicey for now.
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Ice Check

12/8/22 – Last night around 10pm I stepped outside to admire the first full moon since the woods have been blanketed in snow. It was a brisk -19 degrees and trees were popping all around (caused when sap inside a tree freezes, expands, and breaks open the bark). I took this eerie sound as a signal that it might be okay to venture onto the lake in the morning. Up until now I hadn’t been super confident in it’s structural integrity due to the mid November snow we received just as things were beginning to freeze over. So, this morning I gathered the necessary items for measuring ice and headed for the lake. Half way between the canoe landing and Mouse Island I found 6″ of sturdy ice, with the bottom 3-4″ nice and clear. A good start, but I didn’t venture any further (here’s a link the Minnesota DNR’s ice thickness guidelines for lake travel). Did I mention I’m a chicken when it comes to early ice? -Jessica

This picture was taken just after 10am. Note how low the sun is…
The official ice measuring stick hard at work.
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Tree Hunting

12/3/22 – Tis the season for tracking down the perfect tree to liven up a living room. Key requirements for a successful tree hunting excursion include; enthusiasm for trudging through snow, a trusty hand saw, sled accompanied by ropes or straps (for securing the tree to the sled and/or car), and a keen eye for spotting the not so elusive Abies balsamea (balsam tree). Also if out and about in the Superior National Forest don’t forget a tree cutting permit which is available online at -Jessica

There’s no shortage of balsam in the Northwoods, but I found it necessary to zig zag my way all over in search of the “perfect” one.
Tools of the trade.
The perfect tree!