In 1978, Steven Kubacki was a twenty-three-year-old student attending Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Around campus, he was regarded as a bright young adult who tended to be a bit more free-spirited than his peers at the conservative school.
And in his free time, Steven was an avid outdoorsman. Earlier in his collegiate studies, he had traveled abroad and hiked mountains in Europe. Steven also enjoyed cross-country skiing around Lake Michigan.
So, in February of that year, he decided to go on a solo cross-country skiing trip in the same southeastern border region of Lake Michigan. But, what was supposed to be a one to two-day trip max abruptly turned into a mysterious fifteen-month disappearance.
Steven’s trip began near a town named Saugatuck on February 20. Then, the very next day, a few snowmobilers found an abandoned backpack and skis. The sight was unsettling, so the group reported their finding to authorities and suggested that a person had possibly gone missing.
And upon inspection of the backpack’s contents, authorities concluded that the items had belonged to Steven.
This prompted a search and rescue mission to unfold, in which investigators discovered a two-hundred-yard footprint trail in the snow.
The trail led past the edge of Lake Michigan before suddenly ending. At that point, investigators were pushed to believe that Steve had likely fallen through the ice and died.
However, on the evening of May 5, 1979, Steven reportedly “woke up” in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, over a year after he had seemingly died and about seven hundred miles east of where he had disappeared.
He also claimed to have awoken wearing clothes he had never seen before and with a backpack stuffed with maps. According to the backpack’s contents, Steven had apparently traveled to San Francisco, Sacramento, Reno, Utah, and Chicago.