BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

September 21 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

Memories of BWCA

by bradcrc
Trip Report

Entry Date: May 12, 1989
Entry Point: Sawbill Lake
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 8

Trip Introduction:
While cleaning my office, I found a hand-written journal from my first BWCA trip as a teenager in 1989. I thought it'd be fun to post it here. It's obviously written by a kid, but I decided to resist the strong urge to "clean it up" and instead post it just as written. I seem to have left out a lot of really good stuff, and the photos appear to be in no particular order, but I included them on the pages they were taped. I definitely enjoyed the trip much more than it sounds like from reading this, this is the trip that got me hooked on BWCA. Without it, I wouldn't be on this site today.

Day 1 of 7


Pre Trip

After finding out Pat was sick so I could go on the trip, I went to my job at Brinks, where they were less than thrilled about my needing six days off with 2 days notice, but some of my teachers seemed to feel the same way about missing more school. It's nice to feel so needed.

I went to a meeting where they discussed equipment and things, but I was kind of lost because I missed the other meetings.

 



Day 2 of 7


Wednesday, May 10, 1989

I had to run around to make final purchases of stuff I couldn't find. The group got everything together quickly, so that we could leave ahead of schedule.

The first stop was a rest area south of Duluth. Stretching out felt good after sitting for the long ride. After reaching Duluth and getting gas, we went to eat at Mac and Don's where I managed to spill pop on the counter. We reached Finland Park in the evening. It was very cold, everyone was a little disappointed that there was snow on the ground but were to (sic) excited about the trip to let it bother them. Geno said that he thought someone should be whistling the Andy Griffith song as he walked through the woods with his fishin pole over his shoulder Andy Griffith style. Quote for the day: "Gene lost his Rapala"

 



Day 3 of 7


Thursday, May 11, 1989

Brrrr! 31 degrees during the night. I was fortunate enough to be on breakfast crew so I could get up in the ice, wash in the water, which was very near "Absolute Zero" as Wobig put it, and help cook breakfast. Our first camp food was blackened eggs and bacon.

Put tent away wet and washed the dishes. A gas station (which was for sale like everything else seemed to be up there) gave directions to Carlton Peak via a road with a less than smooth surface. We ate lunch on top of Carlton peak then went climbing. The climbs were hard but I enjoyed them. I never thought I would like rock climbing. Sawbill had a store, but I could only afford a can of pop and a thermometer that permanently says 80 degrees. We took pH readings of the lake, then Butler, Finch, Shlameel, and me went to the next lake to "play on the ice" and get ready for the next day. Quote for the day: "Big Hole... Water."

 



Day 4 of 7


Friday, May 12, 1989

Entry into BWCA

(Page missing from journal.)

 



Day 5 of 7


Saturday, May 13, 1989

We took more portages to get to Phoebe Lake. Great lunch, jelly and sausage. We fished all day, and I caught one, yipee! It was a sucker, but I was still happy about it.

I jumped in the lake again, and it felt good. Gene bashed a poor little squirrel over the head with a stick and killed the thing. I lost my rappala and caught no more fish. Then I walked on rocks in the middle of the lake. Cleaned and ate fish, they were good. Quote for the day: "We lost one Gene"

 



Day 6 of 7


Sunday, May 14, 1989

Breakfast was pancakes, they were gross nobody liked them, but they still managed to disappear.

We went to a lake to fish. I watched because I lost my lure and was sick of fishing. Butler, Wobiger and TK caught about 10 northerns. Cmiel lost his rapala. I took a canoe in to help him get it, but when I got there everyone was gone. We made all the portages in one trip. I saw a huge northern in Alton lake, the only fish in the entire lake. Found tackle, glasses, rope, and map at camp. We had flat brownies and popcorn.

 



Day 7 of 7


Monday, May 15, 1989

Morning consisted of an oatmeal breakfast topped by talk of the bear scare from the previous night. Taking down camp was interesting because tempers were beginning to grow short due to the tiredness of everyone in the group. All of the canoes and equipment were packed quickly because of the incentive hot showers provided. By the time I got to the showers they were freezing, but felt good anyway. Our trip was concluded by tours of Split-Rock lighthouse, a big cliff, Gooseberry falls and a 500 mile hike to WeeKeeWachie or HoochieKoochie or whatever the Indians used to call Lake Superior.

 


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