October 10, 2008

Missing Hikers Found in Minn. Wilderness

Two women missing in the wilderness of northern Minnesota were found Thursday afternoon by state police in a helicopter search.

Maria Jacenko, 42, and Grace Knezevich, 23, both appeared to be in good condition, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. They had moved to higher ground to be more visible from the air.

The women, who work together in Duluth, were supposed to return Monday from a four-day hike on the Kekekabic Trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The area near the Canadian border includes some of the most difficult terrain in the Superior National Forest.

Cooke County Sheriff Mark Falk said the women got off their trail Monday. They were about 4 miles from the trail when they were found. They were taken to a lodge for a meal and medical checkup.

Jon Benson, wilderness manager for Superior National Forest's Gunflint and Tofte, Minn., stations, said losing the trail is easy.

"And once you get off the trail, finding your way back is going to be extremely difficult," he said. "It's in some of the most remote areas of the Boundary Waters."