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Sigurd Olson’s Birthday

4/4/20 – With the help of a few fresh inches of snow, I was able to celebrate the birthday of Sigurd Olson by heading out on a wilderness ski. -Jessica

We leave the high, bare slopes with their shifting snows and glide down into the close intimacy of birch and spruce, the trail winding in and out of thickets, down little slopes and up again, dodging under branches and around rocks and trees with the same feeling that portages give, or game trails, or any primitive paths through unbroken country. Cross-country skiing holds much of surprise and change, but best of all is the feeling of closeness to the woods themselves, to the sounds of birds and trees and the wind.

–Sigurd F. Olson, The Singing Wilderness, 226
Alton side of the portage into Beth Lake.
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Large Brown Herbivore

4/3/20 – Last week I broke out the snowshoes and headed down a nearby logging road to take advantage of a bluebird day. I was mostly able to stay on top of the crusty snow, but every once in a while I’d break through up to my knees signaling that snowshoe season is coming to a close. Along the hike I found lots of moose sign from earlier in the winter, and you guessed it, scat (I just couldn’t wait another whole week to share). Everything I came across was melting out of the snow, so not very fresh, but fun to find in any case. -Jessica

Step one: a moose munches on some brush.
Step two…
Longer days and warmer weather are slowly melting the top crust of snow making it more porous, although we still have a good chunk of snow on the ground.
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First Day of April

4/1/20 – After all the encouraging feedback I received from my “Otter Poop” post last week, I decided to give the people what they want and feature a different woodland creatures poop each week in the newsletter.  All joking aside, I do enjoy finding these clues as to who we share the neighborhood with.  -Jessica

A gigantic pine marten left this gift hours before my morning walk.  As you can see, we had a bumper crop of mountain ash berries this season.
12 oz coffee cup for scale.
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New Merch Alert!

3/30/20 – Have you ever gotten to Sawbill and found that the t-shirt style you had your heart set on was out of stock in your size? We do our best to predict the amount of each size we’ll need to get us through the season, but inevitably some styles and sizes are more popular than others. This year we received our t-shirt order a little earlier than usual so, to give everyone a fair chance we decided to post a handful of each for sale on our website. New additions include; t-shirts, sweatshirts, a flannel, and a variety of baseball caps. -Jessica

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Sawbill Live!

3/28/20 – Join Dan and Clare for an evening chat about all things Sawbill and Boundary Waters. Have questions about what life is like here at the end of the Sawbill Trail? Questions about BWCA trips or routes? Follow the link to the event on our Facebook page. We go live tomorrow at 8pm!

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Huck’s New Do

3/27/20 – While the rest of us are diligently social distancing and wondering when we’ll be getting our next haircut, Huckleberry got a fresh new hairdo and is now ready for whatever mud season has to throw at him. -Jessica

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Dumpster Dig Out

3/25/20 – One very exciting event that happens year round at Sawbill is taking out the garbage. Believe it or not, in the winter (well I guess it’s technically “spring” now) it’s even more thrilling. The vast amount of snow surrounding the dumpsters provide a fun game of chance. Will it hold my weight, or will I sink into oblivion filling my boots with snow? You just never know. -Jessica

It’s always a good idea to contemplate your route before approaching. Yep, we still have that much snow…
Gazing down at the dumpster in all it’s glory.
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Sunset Story

3/23/20 – The Shirley family recently suited up and ventured down to the lake for a sunset story time. Yeah…I agree, too cute. -Jessica

Kit gives Sig a lift to the landing. Photo credit: Clare Shirley.
Book of choice; How to Babysit a Grandma. Photo credit: Dan Shirley.
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Otter Poop

3/22/20 – With all that is going on in the world I figure a few more newsletter posts couldn’t hurt as we all do our part to hunker down. To start it off; below is a quiet moment on Alton Lake. If you look on the snow covered rock (bottom left corner of the picture) you’ll see some otter poop. -Jessica

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Breaking News: Snow-Zombie on the Loose

3/7/20 – The end of February certainly went out like a lamb.  On the 22nd we reached 51⁰ F, which was hard to believe with my own eyes (yes I checked multiple thermometers around Sawbill to confirm).  My backyard snow-person especially felt the burn.  The southern side of it’s head looked like it had been attacked by a zombie. The flesh eating disease it contracted (from said zombie) progressed quickly in the days that followed.


I’m happy to report, however, that winter is definitely not over.  In recent days we’ve received 4″ of fresh fluffy snow and there is still plenty of the white stuff in the woods more than willing to swallow you up if you step off the beaten path.  Happy March!  -Jessica