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Snapper Sighting

7/16/19 – Check out this lovely snapper seen by Jim (our campground host) a couple days back! She’s been up and around the landing, presumably looking for a good spot to lay her eggs. If you see her, please be respectful and careful! I mean, they are called snapping turtles for a reason. We’ll be keeping an eye out in a couple months for her eggs to hatch, along with the rest of the painted turtles that have been laying in the area! In the meantime, we’ll admire these beautiful creatures from afar.

-Allison

Look at the tail on that lady!
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Canoe Reservations

7/12/19 – Summer season is in full swing here at Sawbill! The past few weeks have been getting busier and busier as we head into the peak of the season. Because of this, if you’re going on a trip and want a specific kind of canoe, we highly recommend making a reservation before you head up. We still gladly accept walk-ins, but it’s best to reserve if you have a particular model you’d like for your group.

The canoe yard shines during golden hour. Featuring: 3 person Wenonah Senecas.

In other news, the past few days of rain have cleared up and it’s turned out to be a beautiful day. Tomorrow looks to be the same! Looks like there may be some rain early next week, so plan accordingly for your BWCA trips and stay safe during any thunderstorms. Tomorrow night should be perfect weather for a campfire and a wildlife chat with the USFS thanks to the naturalist program! It starts at 7:30 and we hope to see you there with a s’more in your hand. Cheers!

-Allison

Cloud coverage caught during before the rain a few days back.
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Happy 4th

Hello again and Happy 4th of July from the Sawbill Crew! The weather is a little rainy today but the temperatures are up as well as our spirits. The store and outfitting are really starting to heat up as we get closer to late July and August. We love seeing plenty of new faces as well as returning customers. Furthest distance traveled so far goes out to our group all the way from the Czech Republic.

Tonight the Sawbill Crew will be celebrating with our annual Dragon Boat races, as well as grilling up a classic American dinner of burgers, brats, fresh watermelon and roasted corn on the cob. Although, fireworks are not allowed in the BWCA we will celebrate with sparklers and a campfire.

Remember to stay safe and have fun with family and friends this holiday.

-Nora

2nd year Crew Member Nathan showing off the 2016 Dragon Boat trophy

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Wildlife Update

6/27/19 – Good news! In the past couple of weeks, the dragonflies have hatched! Their diet consists of little black flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and other small insects. For those who get severely bug-bitten or bothered by the little black flies of the BWCA, the dragonflies are your dearest friends. Luckily, there are plenty around and here to help. I myself am still terrified of large-winged insects, but am trying my best to get over the fear and welcome the mosquito killers. Their unique color and wing patterns do help – they’re just cute little animals right? If I repeat it enough, I will convince myself.

In other news, please be extra cautious while driving around the Sawbill area and the BWCA in general. Turtles have been coming up to the sides of the gravel roads to lay their eggs. The soft gravel shoulders provide a sandy edge that’s a perfect storage spot until the eggs hatch. Please try to avoid bothering them if you see them on the shoulder. However, during this process a lot of turtles take their time when finding a spot, sometimes hanging out in the middle of the road when crossing. If you’re concerned they may get hit, you can get out and help. To do this, avoid picking them up as much as possible – usually they will walk away from you just standing close by. Also, lead them in the same direction and path that they were originally headed. Thanks for your cooperation!

-Allison

A painted turtle being led from the middle of the road into the grass in the same direction it was headed.
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Campground Hosts

6/25/19 – As the season starts to get busier here around Sawbill we are happy to welcome our campground hosts Rachel and Jim in just a few days. They are such a great help to us and we couldn’t be more ready to greet them for another great summer.

Crew member Paul has returned to us from his three-week camping excursion and brought with him good BWCAW stories as always. He also hauled back quite a bit of trash that he collected from campsites as an important reminder to us all that the Wilderness is public lands and to leave no trace on every trip for the sake of the wildlife and future camping visitors.

The weather continues to brighten up after a few days of thunderstorms and the forecast for the next few days is warm and sunny. The fishing reports have been growing more and more fruitful as the late spring has finally led to the fish consistently rising to the surface of the lakes to feed. As we near closer to July we look forward to more fishing and warm paddles ahead. Happy camping!

-Nora

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Volunteer Days!

6/20/19 – This week on Tuesday and Wednesday the crew had the privilege to work with Northwoods Volunteer Connection over the course of two days. We brushed and swamped the Ada Creek portages as well as the Burnt and Smoke Lake portages out of Sawbill. Although pictures were regrettably not taken to document this work we assure you all that we looked handy and enthusiastic in our hardhats and gloves.

Northwoods Volunteer Connection is a fantastic organization sponsored through the Forest Service. Their members and volunteers work to maintain the Superior National Forest area and have four different levels of involvement for anyone interested in participating. Our crew sure had a blast working with them and we greatly encourage any of our blog readers to check them out at mnnvc.org to learn more about their missions and upcoming projects for this summer and fall.

The weather has been looking more like Summer lately as we roll into late June as the flowers are blooming and the temperatures are rising. This week we also got to welcome back former crew member Owen for his fourth season here at Sawbill.

-Nora

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Naturalist Program & Lady Slipper Sighting

6/18/19 – The US Forest Service’s sponsored Naturalist Program is up and running as of today! There are classes in multiple places each day that are going on Tuesday-Saturday through August 24th. Depending on location and week, each class will focus on different outdoor topics so that anyone can find one that peaks his or her interest. Sawbill in particular will be hosting a class every Saturday night from 7:30 – 9:00 pm starting this Saturday. Topics will be based around Minnesota’s wildlife, plants, astronomy, and more! Weather permitting, we will always have a campfire with some marshmallows for the guests. It’s sure to be fun and educational, so we hope you join us! Visit this link and look for the events titled “Summer Naturalist Program” on the calendar for more class locations and times: https://www.visitcookcounty.com/events/ .

In other naturalist news, we have a rare orchid growing on the Sawbill property! It is the beautiful state flower of Minnesota, the lady slipper. They need very specific soil environments to grow and are losing their population from people collecting them for their beauty or medicinal value. Additionally, the habitats that they are able to thrive in are decreasing, making them fairly difficult to come by these days. For the first time in anyone’s memory, we have a few clusters of them growing in the area and are very lucky to see them thrive! If you’re lucky you may spot some while visiting us.

-Allison

One small cluster of the Cypripedium acaule growing along Sawbill’s boundaries.
The flower petals that fuse together resemble a slipper, hence the nickname lady slipper.
Kit doing her best Lady Slipper imitation.

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Boundary Waters Podcast

6/14/19 – Our good friends at WTIP, the local radio station, are producing a podcast about the BWCA focusing mostly on stories of those who visit our favorite Wilderness area. There are many great episodes to catch up on, and the most recent is sponsored by Sawbill. You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, or by clicking this link.

In other news, all of our phone and internet systems have been fixed and we are once again reliably connected to the outside world!

No internet means you find other ways to entertain yourselves. Here David does some portage cross training while keeping Kit safe from bears.

-Clare

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Sunset Season

6/10/19 – Yesterday was a beautiful and warm day, ending with some rain in the evening. However, the skies cleared up enough to give us a stunning sunset at the landing. The crew headed down around 9 pm for the show and were rewarded with the colors seen below! Sunsets always seem to be the most colorful after a good rain. There surely will be plenty more sights like these this season! Happy Monday, everyone.

-Allison

Sunset on the Sawbill landing on June 9th, 2019.
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Technical Updates

6/7/19 – We are on day four of running the entire store on a small cell phone hotspot and we are adjusting as best we can. We appreciate your patience as we figure everything out. It takes a bit longer to print permits and fishing licenses at the moment, but at least we can do them! We still have just one working phone line, but feel free to email us with any questions you may have at info@sawbill.com . There’s no definite date that we will have WiFi working again, but in the meantime we’ll be working hard and playing plenty of cribbage.

In other news, last week’s rainy days have served us well and it looks and feels like summer up here. The forest floor is turning completely green along with blooming trees, shrubs and flowers. The crew has been loving the couple days of sunshine, and those who are adventuring into the BWCA today could not have asked for a better day to do so! Happy Friday!

-Allison