Hi Susan,
That sounds like a very frustrating adventure. The dh, two boys and I were doing a back country canoe trip a few years ago, we'd be out for five days with several portages and lots of paddling. The first day out we got to the campsite (not another person for miles) only to discover that an important part of the small camp stove was missing. Hubby remembers hearing something metallic fall when he was unloading the car, three hour paddle back. He and #1 son hop into canoe just as the sun starts to set and #2 and I wait. And wait. It's full dark and I'm getting nervous. I go to the shore of the lake with my tiny backpacking flashlight and make believe I'm a lighthouse. LOL They arrive shortly after, with the missing part. The rest of the trip was wonderful.