We woke early this morning thinking our biggest obstacle was going to be our trek up Snow Mountain, a 6 mile, 2000 foot climb up the landmark mountain at Snow Mountain Ranch. However, the Beintum girls woke up, and quickly shared that they could not find their shoes. Rich and Kristin said, “Where did you put your shoes? Did you look under the car and the camper? How did you lose your shoes?!” They discovered their shoes were missing, but not in pairs. Unfortunately, these were the gym shoes needed for the difficult hike we were about to take. The girls quickly defended themselves, stating, “We didn’t lose them. They were right here. I know it!” Megan said, “I was sad because I couldn’t go on the hike without my shoes.”
As the Beintums shared their problem, we immediately knew where they had gone. Many years ago, we spent 3 weeks kayaking around Isle Royale National Park, an island in the middle of Lake Superior, when a fox stole our shoes, something we couldn’t live without on the island. We were able to bait the fox and find that he was stealing our shoes, hiding them away from our tent, and then coming back to carry them the rest of the way to his den. I’m not sure why he thought they would be such a great addition to his den, and since this experience 15 years ago, we have never heard of anything similar. I’m pretty sure those we told didn’t really believe us.
While Chuck was out running before our hike this morning, he saw a fox, which made us immediately suspect a similar situation. We started scouring the campground for any evidence, and quickly discovered one of the missing shoes. As we continued searching, we found someone else’s shoe. Next, we found Megan’s shoe, making a pair for her.
We didn’t even realize that Allie’s Keens were missing until she stumbled upon hers, and she said “I was surprised the fox would want them considering how smelly they were.”
Finally, we found Jillian’s, who said “while it was funny, I felt sad since the fox stole my favorite shoe.”
Everyone was loaded up, ready to go, but Chuck was nowhere to be seen. The campground was basically empty, so we yelled for him to come back. He called back, “I am standing one foot from the fox!”
While they were becoming fast friends, the fox was frightened away by the herd of running children. The Beintum ladies and all the Hoffs continued on our way to the base of Snow Mountain while Rich stayed back searching for the last missing shoe before the fox came back to take the shoe away to his den for good.
An hour later, the hikers received word that Rich found the missing shoe. Unfortunately, both of Allie’s shoes did not fair well. The first was chewed through, and the one Rich found was clearly marked by the fox. The hikers were thoroughly disgusted.
The girls were relieved that it wasn’t their fault… and that the fox did not win today!