Hiker Herb Terns once met Hua Davis, the hiker who died in the Adirondacks earlier this month, during a climb in the Dix Mountain Wilderness last winter. He and two friends met her near the summit of Grace Peak. While they were wearing hats and gloves, they marveled at how lightly Davis was dressed in the windy, wintery conditions, wearing sneakers in the High Peaks in winter.
Davis was an experienced hiker who had climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in one winter. She was known for moving fast and packing light. But on March 5, Davis’ body was found on MacNaughton Mountain. The coroner who handled Davis’ case said she wasn’t properly dressed, wearing only a pair of sneakers for footwear. She was wearing draw-string fleece sweatpants, and her clothes were reportedly soaked through. She also did not have gear such as a space blanket or good fire-starting material.
Those who knew Davis have described her as someone who knew how to hike but not how to prepare for a hike. Terns reflected on that recently in a column on TimesUnion.com. In it, he wonders if more experienced hikers who knew Davis should have spoken up and told her how to better prepare for a hike. He also says he’s haunted that he didn’t say anything when he met her. He says after meeting her he was left “wondering about her and the sneakers but I left my concerns unsaid. It’s uncomfortable to be the ‘know-it-all’ who tells people how they should dress or that they’re taking a big chance.”