Published June 26, 2010, 12:00 AM

Missing hikers located after night in woods

Although a search had been mounted by 35 experts with two bloodhounds, it was a man and woman out fishing Friday morning who found three hikers missing overnight in the Lake Vermilion area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Although a search had been mounted by 35 experts with two bloodhounds, it was a man and woman out fishing Friday morning who found three hikers missing overnight in the Lake Vermilion area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The two anglers fishing on Oriniack Lake came across the missing hikers by chance about 10 a.m., according to St. Louis County Undersheriff David Phillips.

The three men, who were camping on Trout Lake, apparently took an overgrown path through the woods between 2 and 3 p.m. Thursday from Trout Lake in the direction of Oriniack Lake, and didn’t return. A fourth camper, who had remained at the campsite, became concerned and called for help about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Zachary Nathaniel Strahan, 29, of Minneapolis and twin brothers Richard Alan Olsen, 26, of Minneapolis and William James Olsen, 26, of New Brighton, Minn., were spotted about one mile west of the campsite “as the crow flies,” Phillips said.

“They weren’t dressed for an overnight deal,” he said. “With the bad weather in the region, there was some real concern for their welfare.”

Phillips said the one thing they had going for them was their friend, Jeff Olson, who stayed behind with two others in their group and used his cell phone to call 911.

The men were wearing jeans, T-shirts and light footwear and did not have cell phones or a compass. They did have matches and were able to start a fire near the shore of Oriniack Lake, where they spent the night, said Tom Crossmon, St. Louis County Search and Rescue Squad captain.

No one was injured.

“It was a long night for them,” Crossmon said. “Everybody was tired, dirty and wet.”

The men were in great spirits, however, when rescue squads greeted them near the campground.

“They offered to make us lunch, and those left behind talked about keeping the others on leashes,” Crossmon said. “They were excited to continue their trip.”

Area rescue squads used Moccasin Point Resort on Lake Vermilion as a staging area, Phillips said. A Lake County unit assisted, as did the U.S. Forest Service.

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