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April 20th Ice Check

4/20/23 – Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories have been the name of the game this week. Monday we added 9″ of sloppy snow with more coming down today. As a result all the water that was previously on top of the ice has since been covered up/refrozen, but even with all that we’ve made a little progress since the last measurement. This morning’s test hole showed 18″ of solid ice with a top 12″ layer of compact slush and snow. That’s 4″ less ice than a week ago! There is a caveat however, ice thickness can vary from one side of a test hole to another, so although there are 18″ here, there might be 20″ not far away. Even so, I’m taking this measurement as a win and not asking too many questions. -Jessica

Official measurement taken around 9am.
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April 13th Ice Check

4/13/23 – After reaching a high of 79° yesterday the solid ice held steady at 22″, with the top slush layer dwindling to 6″. In the woods we have just under 2 feet of snow which means we lost over a foot in the span of a couple days. Looking at the forecast however, it appears we’ll soon be headed into second winter. -Jessica

Official test hole drilled around 9am on 4/13/23.
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Welcome to the Tropics

4/11/23 – This afternoon’s ice check revealed 22″ of solid ice, plus 11″ of slush.

We reached 72° for a brief few moments this afternoon which has really done a number on the structural integrity of the snow (posthole city in the woods) and added a good amount of water on top of the ice past Mouse Island. -Jessica

Mouse Island in all it’s glory.
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The Countdown has Begun

4/6/23 – Yesterday afternoon Clare started off the ice out countdown by drilling the first test hole of the 2023 season. She reported 24″ of solid ice, with 18″ of snow and slush (some frozen, some unfrozen) on top of that.

Meanwhile in the woods we still have a good 3 feet of snow. Sooner or later things are going to start melting…right? Stay tuned for further updates! -Jessica

Clare deploying Sawbill’s official ice measuring stick.
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Sign of Spring

3/31/23 – Yesterday afternoon while out for a walk my eyes caught a telltale sign of spring! The first pussy willow sighting of the season! Today I noticed a few more have come to join the party. -Jessica

So darn cute!
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Happy Belated Spring!

3/22/23 – As of today the snowpack has officially outgrown the yard stick with an average depth of 37 inches. -Jessica

Yep, that’s right. We now have over 3 feet of snow on the ground…
Snow Measuring Paddle getting brought in for relief in the late innings.
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Yurt vs. Snow, Round 2

3/15/23 – Over the past couple weeks I’ve been looking at the yurt wondering if I should do another round of snow removal. Ideally the snow will slide off by itself in warmer weather, but no such luck so far. Hearing about the Duluth mall’s partial roof collapse yesterday was all the motivation needed to get the job done…

My afternoon point of view.

In other news, we now have a snowpack of 32″ in our neck of the woods. Each Wednesday I measure the snow depth and send the total off to the Minnesota DNR. They use this measurement, along with others throughout the state, to put together a snow depth map published every Thursday afternoon (see link for the most up to date map). Also interesting to compare and contrast are the past snow depth maps which go back to 2016. -Jessica

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The Art of a Tie-Down

2/14/23 – Have you, or someone you know, been stopped flat in your planning tracks due to Sawbill Lake permits being fully booked for your prospective entry day? Fear not! Here at Sawbill we specialize in the art of tying canoes onto vehicles, so you can take destiny into your own hands and explore a different entry point in the area. Three canoes you say, but only one vehicle? We can handle it! Compact car? We’ve got you covered! No roof rack? No problem!

Long story short; if your trip has you starting somewhere other than Sawbill Lake we’ll secure the canoe(s) onto your vehicle and provide all the ropes, straps, foam pads, racks, etc. needed to get where you’re going. This comes with all rentals at no extra charge. -Jessica

We are happy to pass on our tricks and tips.
Yep, that’s right. Three canoes, one vehicle.
This one got us thinking a little outside the box.
The Prius de résistance.
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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