BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

May 26 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

Surrogate Granpa - taking an 8 and 11 yr old for their first BW trip.

by OneMatch
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 18, 2013
Entry Point: Sawbill Lake
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 4

Trip Introduction:
I like to think of myself as "young" for my age - limber and energetic. Then I hung out with an 8 and 11 year old. Meet Alex and Rick, Old Scout's grandkids.

Report


After a fun One Match Band gig at the Two Harbors Heritage Days festival, I met Old Scout with his two grandsons, 8 year old Nick and 10 (soon to be 11) year old Alex. We first headed up to Duluth (from the Twin Cities) to stop for some time at the Railroad Museum there. What a great place it is! Highly recommend it:

Lunch at Grandma's, a stop at Silver Bay Zup's and we finally make it in to site #12 at the Sawbill USFS Campgrounds.

The boys were ready to let off some steam so we went hiking the lake side trail. They loved every footstep and were having the best time. Once, little Nick started to make a hole and I mentioned that we like to leave the area nice for others. Alex then reminded Nick that "Jerry is like Grandpa, whatever he says, we mind him!"

That night Scott (Old Scout) cooked a big birthday brownie in his reflector oven:

and topped the finished product with some patriotic m&ms

The next day saw us do some paddling around Sawbill and a little fishing from the Sawbill fishing dock:

And that night Bill Hansen of Sawbill hosted the 2nd Annual Songwriter's Campfire Jam for the staff and campground guests who were willing to brave the mosquitoes:

That night we had a good rain, but the next day things cleared enough for us to get our permit and put in for the boys first trip to the BW. We hadn't been out for more than a half hour when a very mean black cloud spewed lightning. I had 8yr old Nick in my canoe and all I could think of was his safety, so I hunkered down and in the middle of the torrent I got him to the point just before the BW entry, set up a tarp and got him under it and safe. The storm didn't last long, but we had lost sight of Old Scout and Alex. Personally, I was very concerned. But I kept telling myself that they were wearing PFDs and there were no white caps or windy waters. Only torrential rain. We later found them paddling towards our desired site on the north end of the bay that portages into the Kelso River. A nice little sight with a small swimming beach.

That night was the mother of all storms. Constant thunder and torrential rains. The lake was rising even as we pulled out two days later to find out that Sawbill had received 4 1/3 inches of rain.

The next day everything cleared and Alex helped me make sweet potato hashbrowns with onion, bell pepper and seasoning, topped with fresh eggs over easy. What a tasty way to start!

The boys never tired of swimming at "the beach":

After the swim, we loaded up my SR 17 and took off in search of the Kelso dolman. It was a beautiful day and we found it for a great group photo op:

On the way back, we visited these 4 lovelies who had attended the campfire jam and welcomed us for a visit. They offered us a shot of afternoon whiskey, but since I was the designated paddler in the stern, I reluctantly declined. I didn't get all of their names but they called themselves the "Kelso Sirens". It was great to see a group of women in the BW having such a good time.

That night we finished off the hot chocolate after a dinner of spaghetti.

That night found the temps dipping into the upper 40s. The day was beautiful and the wind behind our back as we paddled to the take out.

The boys were real troopers. Never whined or complained. Were very creative in entertaining themselves and it was fun to be a surrogate grandpa. Thanks, Old Scout for the wonderful opportunity to introduce a couple of next generation paddlers to the place we love.

 


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