Last week, two hikers from Duluth were lost on the Kekekabic Trail. The "Kek" is a wilderness giant that connects the Ely area with the Gunflint Trail through the heart of the BWCA. It's a rough and rugged trail, hard to find anytime but especially difficult after the blowdown and fires that have rearranged the whole region.
The two hikers that had been missing this weekend were found yesterday just north of Bingshik Lake. This spring I hiked in to Bingshik Lake (picture below) on the Kekekabic Trail. It was just a day hike, but I was still struck by how rugged and unforgiving the terrain is. The trailbed itself was basically fine, but the "woods" were a jumble of blown-down and burned-down tree trunks (picture above).
I am not at all surprised that they got off the trail. I was there before the grass grew in; with full grass cover, it could have made the trail impossible to find or follow.
This first (or last) section of the Kek receives, I imagine, better maintenance than the rest of the trail. What a challenge those two hikers had! I am so glad they were found and are okay. The Kek is deserving of all the press it gets for being over-the-top challenging.