Kekekabic Trail Rescue

     The missing hikers on the Kekekabic Trail have been found.  They are in good health even though they spent three extra nights lost in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  Apparently the women refused to talk to reporters after their rescue but were interviewed by law enforcement officials.

     The pair of women evidently lost their way on Monday somewhere between Howard and Bingshick  Lakes.  The Kekekabic Trail has been affected by both the Cavity Lake Fire in 2006 and the Ham Lake Fire of 2007.  The trail is rugged and with recent burns it is more difficult to follow than an average State Park trail. 

     The search for the women began on Tuesday after the women failed to appear at their pick up site on Monday.  Friends and family of the women were concerned about the women’s safety in spite of their faith in the women’s wilderness skills. Overhead searches were unsucessul until today when the women were spotted on a high point waving their arms.  The women told the Sheriff they were worried about fire danger so they kept their fires small preventing them from being seen.  The fire danger on the Gunflint Trail is low and over a half of an inch of rain fell on the Kekekabic Trail on Tuesday.

     The Kekekabic Trail is a wilderness trail that connects the end of the Fernberg Road outside of Ely, MN with the Gunflint Trail outside of Grand Marais, MN.  It is over 40 miles in length and runs through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest.  Mike and I hiked the trail from West to East prior to the fires.  It’s a wonderful, remote hiking trail that winds its way over ridges, across swamps and through some tough wilderness territory.  Very few people take advantage of the hiking trails in the BWCAW, canoe country.  It is reported less than 50 groups thru hike the trail each year.

     The wilderness is not for everyone.  The Kekekabic Trail sounds even more alluring and challenging after hearing the story of these women.  Will it appeal to more people now?  Will these people have the proper wilderness skills to survive and make it through the hike without having to be rescued?  Thankfully there is a happy ending to the tale of these two women but will the next experienced hikers be so lucky?  Only time will tell.