Rip van Winkle he wasn't, but a 13-year-old kayaker who capsized on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park might have been found sooner had he not fallen asleep in a hollow log once he reached shore.
The boy, from St. Paul, Minnesota, was reported missing Tuesday around 2:15 p.m. by his grandfather. The teen had headed out onto Lake McDonald and encountered rough, choppy conditions with waves that rangers pegged at 5-6 feet high.
At about 4:00 p.m., rangers located the capsized kayak near the middle of the lake. The search continued by land, air, and lake until about 6:15 p.m., when the crew of the DeSmet, a park tour boat, saw the boy on the eastern shore of the lake about a half-mile south of Sprague Campground.
The boy told rangers that he had been capsized by a large wave, was unable to stay with the kayak, and swam to the far shore of the lake. "He said he was so tired and cold when he got out that he crawled into a hollow log to warm up," the park reports. "He told rangers that he fell asleep in the log and slept there for about an hour."
A park medic suggested the boy be taken to an area hospital to be checked out. The boy was wearing a properly fitting personal flotation device and a “shorty” style wetsuit.
After the search, Glacier Superintendent Chas Cartwright issued a reminder that personal flotation devices save lives, as indicated in this case, and that water-related accidents are the No. 1 cause of
death in Glacier.