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Ice Report and New Crew Welcome

5/12/23 – Last night Sawbill welcomed a new crew member to the end of the trail! After several fishing trips to the fire lakes, Caid decided to join us for the summer in search of walleye. Upon his arrival from Oklahoma, we loaded a B19 on the roof of Hammer’s fancy new Subaru and headed east to find some open water and sunset views. We found what we were looking for on Moore lake just south of the grade.

Season’s first sunset paddle! Junior, Eli, and Caid soak in the scenery. Not pictured: Hammer and Matthew

With the first taste of canoeing behind us, the anticipation of ice out on Sawbill only grew. As of this morning May 12th, the western shoreline is open as far as the eye can see but ice sheets remain on the eastern side. Today is mostly sunny with a high of 72 and a decent breeze, so conditions are ideal to melt some ice. – Matthew

View from the landing at 9 am
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May 8th Ice report

The view from Sawbill landing today May 9th

5/9/23 – Yesterdays measurement was 19″ total with only the bottom 5 being solid ice. The top 14″ is very rotted/slushy “ice”. With warm weather in the forecast and more open water by the minute, paddling season is just around the corner.

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May 5th Ice Check

Today was my turn to check the thickness of the ice. Getting out far enough for a good measurement is a little more nerve-wracking now that the ice has officially split from shore, naturally an aluminum canoe is used to bridge the gap. The ice continues to hold at 25″ but today the 17″ or 18″ of solid ice from yesterday seems much more rotten and waterlogged, still about 7″ of slush on the surface. -Owen Jr

Crossing unstable ice near shore
Drilling the test hole
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May 4th Ice Check / Moose Sighting

5/4/23 – Today new crewmember Eli took his turn drilling through and measuring the ice. He reported the total held at 25″ made up of a 18″ solid ice base topped with about 7″ of slush and rotten ice. As Eli was measuring the ice Jessica spotted two moose coming out of the woods onto the lake near the north end of the campground, the two appeared to be a mother and yearling. -Owen Jr

New Sawbill crew Eli
Moose don’t fear the ice breaking
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May 2nd Ice Check

5/2/23 – Over the past couple of days the spring crew has started arriving. Per tradition we sent them out to check on the lake. They reported 25″ from the bottom of the ice to the top of the slush. 11″ of which were ice and 14″ compact slush. -Jessica

The official measurement.
Matthew and Junior getting the job done.
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April 24th Ice Check

4/25/23 – Yesterday morning the stars aligned for prime lake skiing conditions. On his way to take advantage of the first, and maybe last, spring lake ski of the season Dan measured 23″ of ice (varying in quality) and 8″ compacted snow. He reported some open water along shore, mostly in the narrows. -Jessica

Test hole drilled between the canoe landing and Mouse Island.
Suspect looking ice at one of the narrows.
Lynx tracks. Dan wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the prime conditions.
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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.