New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are warning hikers about high water levels and challenging winter conditions in the White Mountains after they searched for a missing hiker last night.
Shortly after 9 p.m. last night, Fish and Game officials were notified that a hiker was overdue on the Downes Brook Trail in Albany, New Hampshire.
Kevin Moher, 62, of Lyman, New Hampshire, had left his home shortly before 7 a.m. and planned to take a 12.5-mile loop hike.
He left his itinerary with family and instructions that if they did not hear from him by 9 p.m. to call for help. They placed that call and a Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy located his vehicle at the trailhead. The search was also assisted by a New Hampshire State Police trooper, who checked trailheads in Wonalancett in the event that Moher had hiked to the opposite side of the mountain range.
Conservation officers responded and located Moher’s footprints in the snow within 2.5 miles of the trailhead.
The Downes Brook Trail makes several difficult stream crossings and, with light fading, Moher decided to wait until morning to continue.
He was off trail and, though he was able to see rescuers pass by him twice, he was unable to signal them and the noise of the river precluded voice contact. There is no cell phone service in the area and his attempts to message his family and tell him he was okay were unsuccessful.
As the light improved on Friday morning, Kevin continued hiking and arrived at the trailhead shortly before 5 a.m.
Fish and Game officials say it is important to note that winter conditions — including deep snow and ice — are present in the mountains above 2,000 feet and are likely to persist for the next several weeks.
Hikers should anticipate difficult trail conditions and adjust their itinerary accordingly if necessary.
Water levels are high and stream crossings can be difficult. Anyone venturing out in higher elevations should be equipped with micro-spikes, snowshoes and extra layers.