Some unprepared paddlers got in a fair bit of trouble on the upper St. Croix recently. Their problems ranged from canoe camping basics to the legal variety.
Two men set out for a weekend of paddling from Thayers Landing near Danbury, Wisconsin to Highway 70 at Grantsburg. Their problems started when their canoe decided to go on without them, the Burnett County Sentinel reported:
“They made it to their campsite but as they were looking for firewood, they had forgotten to tie up the canoe and it floated down the river,” [Marilyn] Chesnick [of Wild River Outfitters] said. “All of their gear, all of their food, everything — it was gone.”
To add insult to injury, one of the men had a medical issue.
Luckily, the men had not swamped the canoe, were dry and did not have to worry about hypothermia. While chilly, Saturday dawned cloudy but no rain was imminent.
“The guys called 911 Saturday morning and Pine County (Minn.) dispatch answered the call,” Chesnick remarked. “The guys said they were on shore and were safe, they were about a half an hour south of Thayer’s Landing but lost — they were told to ‘Stay put,’ and the information was forwarded to Burnett County.”
Emergency responders from Burnett County, Danbury and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began searching for the men, but Grantsburg fisherman Chuck Becvar found their canoe and the men first.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they discovered one of the men had an outstanding warrant, and took him into custody. The other man decided to paddle on without him, but ran into wind on Sunday, and fisherman Becvar came to his rescue for the second time.
Becvar found the man struggling against the wind, and ended up giving him a ride to the Highway 70 landing.