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.

Lost Hikers Found
Lost Hikers Found

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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Staff Writer

What can I say? I love being out in the Backcountry. I am the crazy guy that likes hiking and camping in bad weather. One of my all time favorite hikes is the Appalachian Trail. If you have an Article, Video or story you would like to share on send me an email at

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