BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

October 23 2017

Entry Point 38 - Sawbill Lake

Sawbill Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 25 miles. Access is a boat landing at Sawbill Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1802 feet
Latitude: 47.8699
Longitude: -90.8858
Sawbill Lake - 38

FIRST BWCA TRIP

by 31INCHEYE
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 01, 2009
Entry Point: Sawbill Lake
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4

Trip Introduction:
MYSELF, MY WIFE, MY 17 YR OLD TWIN BOYS HEAD OUT OF SAWBILL FOR OUR VERY FIRST BWCA TRIP..WINDS OUT OF THE NORTH WITH A SLIGHT DRIZZLE OF RAIN..WOW WHAT A SIGHT LOOKING NORTH DOWN SAWBILL LAKE.

Day 1 of 4


Wednesday, July 01, 2009 AFTER ARRIVING SAWBILL OUTFITTERS AT 8AM WE LOAD THE CANOES AND DEPART THE LANDING BY 9AM.( IF MY SONS HAD THEYRE WAY WE WOULD HAVE NEVER LEFT SAWBILL OUTFITTERS BECAUSE OF THE VERY NICE AND CUTE YOUNG GAL WORKING THE OFFICE AREA) WITH A SLIGHT WIND COMMING OUT OF THE NORTH, WE KNEW WE WERE NOT GOING TO GET A FREE RIDE TO THE NORTH END OF SAWBILL. SO A PADDLING WE DID PAST THE MANY BEAUTIFULL ISLANDS THAT POP OUT OF SAWBILL LAKE. SINCE THIS WAS OUR FIRST TRIP, WE WERE GOING TO TRY AND MAKE CAMP AT ONE OF THE CAMPSITES ON THE NORTH END OF SAWBILL AND DO SMALLER CANOE TRIPS FROM THERE. WE LOCATE THE CAMPSITE ON THE NORTHWEST SIDE OF THE LAKE WITH A SMALL ISLAND DIRRECTLY IN FRONT OF IT. MY WIFE AND I LEFT THE BOYS THERE AND CONTINUED FURTHER NORTH TO CHECK OUT ANOTHER CAMPSITE. WE DIDNT LIKE THAT SITE AS WELL SO WE RETURNED TO WHERE THE BOYS WERE AND SET UP CAMP. AFTER ALL THE WORK WAS DONE WE DID A LITTLE HIKING AROUND CAMP, SEARCHED FOR FIRE WOOD, AND JUST SAT BY THE LAKE AND MARVELED AT ITS BEAUTY. AFTER A NICE LITTLE FIRE THAT NIGHT WE TURNED IN PRETTY EARLY BECAUSE WE LEFT THE MINNEAPOLIS AREA AT 3AM THAT MORNING..NONAME STEAKS ON A STICK FOR THE FIRST NIGHT, GIVE THAT A TRY, YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID..

 



Day 2 of 4


Thursday, July 02, 2009 AFTER A NICE COOL NIGHT SLEEPING, 6AM CAME AND I FOUND MYSELF STARTING THE COFFEE POT AND SITTING BY THE LAKE IN TOTAL PEACE AND QUIET. THE WIFE AND KIDS WERE STILL SLEEPING SO IT WAS JUST MYSELF AND THE MANY LOONS ENJOYING THE MORNING. OUR PLAN FOR THIS DAY WAS JUST TO CANOE AROUND THE NORTH END OF SAWBILL AND CHECK OUT ALL THE CAMPSITES WE COULD FIND VACANT. WE WANTED TO RATE THEM FROM GOOD TO BAD. MY WIFE BROUGHT ALONG OUR LUNCH FOR THAT DAY AND WE LET OUR SONS PICK WHERE WE WOULD EAT. THEY PICKED A BEAUTIFULL ROCKY OUT CROPPING WITH SEVERAL TREES ON AN ISLAND. SO WE PULLED THE CANOES UP AND ENJOYED A WONDERFULL LUNCH OF PRINGLES, CHICKEN SALAD IN POCKET BREAD, FRUIT AND NUT TRAIL MIX. I NEVER THOUGHT CHICKEN IN A POUCH WOULD EVER TASTE AS GOOD AS IT DID, AND THE POCKET BREAD MADE IT SO EASY AND MESS FREE. MY WIFE TOOK SUGGESTIONS OFF THIS WEB SITE ABOUT FOOD PLANNING, SHE DID A WONDERFULL JOB. AFTER LUNCH WE SPENT A COUPLE HOURS LOOKING FOR FIRE WOOD FOR THAT NIGHT AND RETURNED TO THE CAMPSITE TO RELAX BEFORE DINNER.

 



Day 3 of 4


Friday, July 03, 2009 AFTER PANCAKE BREAKFAST ITS OFF TO THE KELSO RIVER AND KELSO LAKE. TRAVELING SOUTH DOWN SAWBILL, WE FIND THE PORTAGE TO THE KELSO RIVER. MY SON NICK FORGOT TO PUT ON HIS SHIRT AT THE PORTAGE AND ONCE ON THE OTHER SIDE WAS COVERED WITH OUR BLOOD SUCKING BUZZING STATE BIRDS, THE SKEETO. ONCE ON THE RIVER THE BUGS LEFT US FOR THE NEXT VICTIMS AT THE PORTAGE. WHAT A NICE EASY PADDLE UP THE KELSO, THE TWIST AND TURNS ALONG THE BOG AND ROCK OVER HANGS WERE STUNNING TO THE EYES. WE REACH KELSO LAKE AND STOPPED AT THE CAMPSITE ON THE FURTHEST NORTHEAST SIDE OF THE LAKE FOR LUNCH. THIS CAMPSITE WAS NICE BUT PRETTY SMALL. AFTER LUNCH WE SET OUT TO CONTINUE NORTH UP THE KELSO RIVER AGAIN IN SEARCH OF THE DOLMAN. AFTER NAVIGATING UP THE KELSO RIVER THERE IT WAS, ALL BY ITSELF, THE DOLMAN. IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK IT WOULD BE VERY EASY TO PADDLE RIGHT ON BY AS I'M SURE SEVERAL THOUSAND HAVE IN THE PAST. MY SONS THOUGHT THE DOLMAN WAS PRETTY COOL, WONDERING HOW COULD THAT HUGE ROCK SIT ON TOP OF 3 LITTLE ONES WITHOUT CRUSHING THEM. AND HOW DID IT GET THERE? ONE OF NATURES MYSTERIES AT ITS BEST..WE WERE GOING TO CONTINUE NORTH PAST DOLMAN ON THE KELSO RIVER. BY NOW ONE OF MY BOYS HAD A SORE BACK AND THE WIFE HAD PLENTY OF SUN FOR THIS DAY SO WE HEADED SOUTH BACK TO SAWBILL. THE WIND GAVE US A FREE RIDE DOWN KELSO LAKE AND RIVER BEFORE WE GOT TO SAWBILL WHERE WE HAD TO PADDLE NORTH AGAIN INTO THE WIND TOWARDS OUR CAMPSITE. AFTER RETURNING, THE BOYS AND MY WIFE TOOK A NAP AND I LOADED MY FISHING GEAR AND WENT OUT TO TRY TO CATCH SOME FISH FOR DINNER. I PADDLE TO THE NORTH END OF SAWBILL AND NOTICED ON MY DEPTH FINDER THE FISH STACKED UP IN ONE LITTLE SPOT DIRECTLY OFF A ROCK CLIFF. I DROP MY MARABOU WHITE AND PINK JIG DOWN TO THE BOTTOM AT 13 FEET AND WHAM. WALLEYES, SMALLIES AND NORTHERNS ALL IN THE SAME SPOT APROX THE SIZE OF 2 VEHICLES. WHY THEY WERE IN THAT PARTICULAR SPOT IS ANYONE'S GUESS BUT I'M SURE GLAD I FOUND THEM. BROUGHT BACK ENOUGH FISH FOR DINNER, DOESN'T GET ANY FRESHER THAN THAT. SHORE LUNCH IN THE BWCA, MAN WHAT A TREAT. NICE FIRE AFTER DINNER AND OFF TO ANOTHER NICE COOL NIGHT OF SLEEPING. LOONS VERY VOCAL THIS NIGHT WITH THOUSANDS OF STARS OVERHEAD.

 



Day 4 of 4


Saturday, July 04, 2009 THE COOLEST MORNING, I WOULD SAY APROX 45 DEGREES OR SO. THE LAKE COVERED WITH A BEAUTIFUL FLOWING HAZE OF STEAM. THE LOONS SEEM TO AGAIN BE VERY LOUD AND ACTIVE THIS MORNING, LOVE THERE CALLS. THE HOT COFFEE TASTE EXTRA NICE THIS MORNING, NOT IN ANY HURRY TO FISH, SEEMS PERFECT TO JUST SIT AND LOOK OUT OVER THE WATER. AFTER BREAKFAST WE SLOWLY START TO PACK UP CAMP FOR THE TRIP BACK SOUTH DOWN SAWBILL. AS WE LEFT CAMP THE WIND BLOWING FROM THE NORTH GAVE US A NICE EASY RIDE DOWN THE LAKE. HALF WAY TO SAWBILL OUTFITTERS THE WIND SHIFTS FROM THE WEST NORTHWEST AND WE START SEEING MORE CANOES. THE PEACE AND QUIET IS GONE, BACK TO CIVILIZATION, WHAT A DRAG. TILL NEXT YEAR, AND THERE WILL BE A NEXT YEAR IN THE BWCA..THANKS SAWBILL OUTFITTERS, WHAT A CLASS BUSINESS IN A CLASS PLACE.

 


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