Missing Hiker Found in Deep Woods

By KBJR News 1

September 2, 2011 Updated Sep 2, 2011 at 6:14 PM CDT

(Northland's NewsCenter)---Searchers spent the morning looking for a hiker, missing since yesterday, in the deep woods just North of Ely.

The man was found safe by the St. Louis County Rescue Team near Angleworm Lake and Echo Trail around noon Friday.

The St. Louis County Rescue Squad was dispatched after Mitchell Surface, a 45-year-old man from Fort Wayne, failed to check in for his motel reservations or at the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness portage.

Nearly three hours later, Surface was found in good condition about a mile and a half out on the Angleworm hiking trail.

"I was a little surprised honestly, but ah, it was nice to have somebody tell you, yes, you are on the right trail out," Surface said.

Surface took off on his hike on Tuesday and planned to camp until Thursday. But he got lost after taking a wrong turn on an unmarked trail.

"Basically, I just missed the trail, and it took me a while to find the right trail back out," Surface said.

Approximately 80 volunteers make up the North and South Rescue Squads based in Cook and Duluth.

While the county provides rescue vehicles, the squad relies heavily on donations and volunteers to provide its life saving services.

"There would be a lot of people who die in the woods because they don't know how to get out," 2nd Lt. Leroy Aho of the Sheriff's Rescue Squad said.

Meanwhile, Surface says he's thankful for the concern and is glad to be out of the woods safely.

"Everything is fine, life is good," Surface said.

In a joint effort, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad volunteers about 20,000 hours each year looking for people or helping out at different organizations.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch