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Ely traveler’s 80-mile trek is believed to be a first

Canoe outfitter and guide Jason Zabokrtsky walked into Ely on Friday evening to complete an 80-mile trip that, apparently, no one else has ever made.

Zabokrtsky walked (and swam some) from Atikokan, Ontario, across Quetico Provincial Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and then into Ely. He is believed to be the first person to make the trip solo, on foot during the open water season.

In an update posted to the Ely Outfitting Co. and Boundary Waters Guide Service Facebook page, well-wishers posted photos of Jason walking into town, and he thanked his friends for their support.

“Thanks everyone for the warm welcome home and great hugs. I really appreciate the kindness, and all of the good wishes and prayers sent my way along the journey. Jason.”

He left on the trip Oct. 11 and finished right on schedule.

As a Boundary Waters wilderness canoe trip guide and owner of Ely Outfitting Co., Zabokrtsky has traveled the region extensively by canoe and dog team. He traveled primarily on foot and off-trail for this trip and, when he needed to cross a stream or lake, donned a dry suit and swam with his backpack stowed in a dry bag and floating beside him.

A satellite phone allowed Zabokrtsky to file occasional updates from the trail.

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