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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 email@example.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!
6/3/19 – If you’ve been trying to reach us today you may have noticed we are a bit harder to connect with than usual. We are currently down to one phone line, so if you get a busy signal the first time you call please try back in a few minutes. Alternatively you can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are hoping to have things back to normal in the next couple days, but in the meantime thank you for your patience! -Jessica
6/2/19 – Winter clung to its grip on the north country this year. Green up was slow to come and small piles of snow still linger on the north side of the outfitting building. This slow close to winter feels appropriate this year as we also mourn the loss of several members of the Sawbill extended family. We feel Mary Alice’s absence daily – even though she moved to Grand Marais in 2008 reminders of her impact on Sawbill and Sawbillians alike are tucked around every corner here.
We are also sad to report the death of Sawbill’s first crew member, Tom Kubiak. Tom arrived at Sawbill in 1956 as a young teenager. He was primarily a guide, but in true Sawbill fashion he did a little bit of everything to help get Sawbill off the ground as a fledgling business, living in the bunkhouse at Sawbill Lodge until the Outfitter buildings were built. Tom paved the way for his two younger brothers who also came to work for Frank and Mary Alice. After Sawbill, Tom joined the Air Force for 24 distinguished years. After his retirement, he resumed camping at Sawbill, introducing his 2 sons and many other Kubiaks to the area. Tom passed away shortly before Mary Alice and, like his brother Bill says, we can’t help but think she’s up there bossing him around once again!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the passing of two other longtime Sawbill visitors and family friends, Tom Glenny and Dave Schuldt. Both of these men exemplified the kind of character we come to associate with BWCA travelers – kindness, resourcefulness, and generosity. Their presence in our lives will be missed greatly. We take some comfort in the continuing relationships with the families of these fine men.
Leaves are emerging, baby moose are being spotted in the Wilderness, and the extended Sawbill family is returning for another season – customers and crew alike. The north woods are ushering us out of one era into the fresh beginnings of another. How fortunate we are.
5/1/2019 – Calling all old crew members! We need your help. A favorite aspect to customers and crew members alike is looking through the old crew photos posted in the southern hallway of the store. It is so fun to see old members, t-shirts, dogs, and consider how things have changed (or stayed the same)! However, we’re currently missing a few photos from past years or the ones we have are poor quality. We have no photos from before 1978 and we are missing the year 1979. Additionally, we have pretty poor quality photos from 1999, 2009, and 2015. If you are an old member from one of these years and have a crew photo laying around, we’d love to hang it on the wall! Feel free to mail it to us or take a scan of it and email it. Thanks so much!