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Letter: Canoeist thankful for help after theft of gear

I have been canoeing the Mississippi River in sections since 1988. On June 21 I was preparing to do the Headwaters section of the river when all my gear was stolen from Coffee Pot Landing, putting me in a potentially life threatening situation.

I arrived at my campsite to find that I had no tent, sleeping bag, dry clothes or provisions. There was no cell phone service and no way to call for help. What kind of person would steal a man’s provisions and camping gear from a wilderness campsite, leaving him with nothing to survive? Although this gear was invaluable to me, it would be worth very little to the thief.

I have traveled on the Mississippi River for over 25 years and 1,400 miles and have never had any of my gear messed with in the slightest way. To say I was devastated would be putting it mildly.

Despite all of this, I still found the people of northern Minnesota to be friendly and helpful. I would like to expressly thank the women working at Itasca State Park, the staff of the DoubleTree Hotel in Bemidji, and especially Deputy Sorensen of the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office for their help and kindness. Deputy Sorensen went out of his way to help me recover as much of my gear as possible where it had been discarded along forest roads.

I don’t know that I will ever be back to finish this section of the river, but I wanted to thank the people who tried to help me.

Mark C. Morton

Taylorville, Ill.