Three days overdue in the northeastern Minnesota wilderness Thursday, the two women had lost their map and their way, and their food cache was down to a few handfuls of trail mix and chocolate chips.
But Duluth co-workers Maria Jacenko and Grace Knezevich said they were still warm and dry, still had a compass and are convinced they would eventually have walked out of the woods on their own if a helicopter search crew had not spotted them, waving from a ridge.
“I knew we’d make it out one way or another because we were headed east and would have hit the Gunflint [Trail],” Knezevich said
Jacenko, 42, and Knezevich, 23, met reporters Friday at the Benedictine Health Center, a senior citizens’ care facility where they work. They discussed what went wrong on their hike of the 40-mile Kekekabic Trail, how they went missing and how they survived. Pinned to their shirts were yellow ribbons like the ones their co-workers wore during the three days they were missing, a group gesture of faith that the women would be found.
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