A hiker from Florida who was unaware of the conditions he’d face in the White Mountains, and had no map, lights, warm clothes or extra food and water, had to be rescued from New Hampshire’s Falling Waters Trail last night.
New Hampshire Fish and Game officials received a report at 8:40 p.m. last night of a hiker needing assistance on Little Haystack Mountain in Franconia. Coordinates provided by the 911 all placed the hiker off trail in the headwaters of Dry Brook.
On the 911 call, the hiker said that he had lost the Falling Waters Trail as he descended from Little Haystack Mountain. He eventually came upon Dry Brook and hiked up so that he could get cell service. In the process he became wet and lost his hiking boots. With temperatures expected in the low thirties, a team of two conservation officers was dispatched to the area to locate the hiker.
The team of conservation officers reached the hiker at 1 a.m. and was able to provide dry clothing, footwear, food, a light and motivation.
Rescuers were hampered by thick vegetation and deep snow. Shortly before 2 a.m., the group started out towards the trailhead, where they all arrived at 4:10 a.m. The hiker declined the need for medical attention.
The hiker was identified as 22-year-old Jevin Marquinez of Jacksonville, Florida. Officials said Marquinez was ill-prepared for the hike he undertook in that he had not adequately researched the hike he had intended on. He did not know he would encounter snow and ice on his hike.
He also wore primarily cotton clothing, which officials say is one of the worst fabrics to wear in cold wet conditions.
Marquinez carried only two of the ten essentials as recommended by the HikeSafe program, a knife and a whistle. He lacked a map, compass, warm clothing, extra food and water, light source, matches, first aid kit, and rain gear.
Officials caution hikers that deep snow persists throughout the White Mountains. Microspikes are still a necessity as the trails packed over the winter are last to thaw causing icy traveling.
Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to purchase a Hike Safe card at wildnh.com/safe. The card helps support Fish and Game search and rescue activities. For safe hiking tips and a list of essential gear, visit hikesafe.com.