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Craig’s Story

Craig's story (as told to his wife Becky):I left for my journey at about 3:00 am on Saturday, 01/19/2013.  I ran into my friend Tom in his yard walking.  So I stopped and showed him my sled and the new improvements I've done.  He told me to stop at the ice house on Loons Landing where he and his buddies were fishing.  I then drove to Connors Point and back and stopped at the ice house and Tom still wasn't back so I went for a ride up the Nemaji River.  I remember going by Trailer Court, behind the Calumet Oil site then back on river. It was still dark early Saturday morning. 

Daylight was approaching when I ran out of gas. I said "Oh Shit" and sat there for a while and decided to start walking the same way I was going to find signs of life, houses or anything.
I walked all day up river starting fires to keep warm. It became nighttime again, so I found a tree that had fallen over the river, and lit underneath the tree on fire  to where it was warm. I crawled underneath it and started another fire to keep warm.  I fell asleep and rolled in the fire -- my clothes and hair were burned. I then rolled in a puddle of water from the fire and then was wet.  I took off my boots tried to warm my feet. Then I put my boots back on and started walking again.  Daylight was approaching on Sunday morning  so I stopped and thought I saw a house up the ravine.  I climbed up and when I got there, there was nothing. I climbed down and walked some more. I thought I saw lights from a bar and climbed up ravine again. No lights were there I walked along the ledge of the cliffs following the river and found nothing.  I then climbed down and walked all day Sunday. I heard the search planes, and I lit pine needles to make smoke but they were so high. It was becoming dark and ran into my sled again which meant I walked a full circle.  I sat on my sled for a few hours and then walked until I ran into a mud-like cave from when the floods were there and cuddled up to keep out of the wind because I was so cold and tired. I started to doze on and off but realized if I fell asleep I would die.  So I started walking down to where I remember passing a bridge on early Saturday morning.  I walked all night freezing. I finally came upon the bridge at daylight. I climbed up, fell to my knees, put my face in my coat and waited. A snowplow drove past me - then she came back and parked. I waved her over to me saying I need help.  She said help is on the way. A sheriff lady came and put me in the back seat of her car. She gave me blankets and started rubbing my arms and shoulders until the ambulance came. This was Monday, 01/21/2013 at 8:50 am. I had been gone for over 48 hours.

Becky's Story: I woke up Saturday morning and Craig was not home yet.  I knew something was wrong but had to go to a funeral for a friend. When I got back at eleven Saturday morning I called 911 told them about Craig. They had a officer call me and I then gave him the information. He said he would alert other departments.  I went on my own in the car to look for him. I went up to Itasca and saw there were races on the ice. I stopped and asked people if they saw this man in the picture. No one had seen him, and I asked the race official if he would announce over the speaker that Craig was missing and look out for him if on the trails.  They did, which I appreciated. I went down to Connors Point and saw sled tracks but wasn't sure if they were his because he didn't say which way he was going. I asked gas stations and bars but no one had seen him.  I called Tom and he said he had seen Craig that morning. We then walked trails looking for him. It was cold, and I went home around midnight Saturday night. I was pacing, wondering why no one called me from the 911 call. I then got pictures and went down to our neighborhood fire and rescue station at 6am Sunday morning. I asked them why no one had contacted me about Craig going missing.  They weren't informed that he was missing, so they got Craig's information and pictures from me and called me at home within a half hour with plans on what they were going to do. They got a plane to search trails and others to walk along the river.   Then I heard the Coast Guard was called into Loon Landing and that Craig may have gone into the water. They were searching all day until 4 pm. I got a call that the search had ended for the day, but they had found a small fire that had been lit with sled track marks at the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.  That's where they were going to begin on Monday morning.  Tom called me and said I know he is where they saw the fire that had been started at the end of the search on Sunday.  On Monday morning, we were getting ready to go there when Ross Magnusson from the SPD showed up at my house and said they found him.