New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers responded to multiple calls for help from hikers in need of rescue over the busy Columbus Day weekend. Following are details of several incidents:
Family of Four Assisted Down Percy Peak Trail in Nash Stream State Forest
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on October 9, 2015, a call came in from 911 to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department that a family that was hiking the Percy Loop Trail in Stratford, New Hampshire’s Nash Stream State Forest needed assistance after darkness overcame the group. Andrew Tippit, age 36, of Rochdale, Massachusetts, and his family left the trailhead at 3 p.m. in Nash Stream State Forest, hoping to complete the Percy Loop. They were aware of the rainy weather, however they did not plan on being out after dark. After the sun went down, they used their cell phones to light the trail for a little ways before calling for help due to the darkness. Conservation Officers were notified and headlamps were relayed into the family’s location, just down from the peak of North Percy. The family of four was then assisted down the mountain and back to their vehicle.
The family did not have a “Hikesafe Card” nor did they possess New Hampshire hunting or fishing licenses. When they were told that they would be receiving a bill for the services rendered, Tippit’s wife stated, “When I was on the phone asking for help, if you said we were going to be billed, I would’ve said, I’ll pay anything.” The family was very thankful for the conservation officers time and remorseful of their poor planning.
Rescue on Mount Washington – Lake in the Clouds
On Sunday, October 11, 2015, a call came into Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) at 6:45 p.m.regarding a hiker who had twisted his ankle while descending Mount Washington on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and could not hike any more. The hiker, identified as Tong Wu, age 26, of Lowell, Massachusetts, had hiked up the mountain earlier with his friend Haofan Gao, age 25, also of Lowell, intending to take the Cog Railway down the mountain. The Cog Railway had sold out of tickets and there wasn’t any space available, so the two descended, getting to the AMC hut Lake in the Clouds, which is closed for the winter season. They took shelter in an emergency shelter located there. Compounding the problem was that they were not prepared; they lacked food and water, proper clothing, and lights. Two New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officers hiked down from the top of Mount Washington, reaching the injured hiker about midnight. The officers splinted Wu’s ankle and assisted him up the mountain, arriving at approximately 3:30 a.m. on October 12, 2015. They were then transported by vehicle down the auto road and taken to their vehicle, which was on the other side of the mountain.
Rescue on Mount Washington – Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail
At 11:38 a.m. on October 11, 2015, a call came in to 911 regarding a hiker who had suddenly fallen ill 2.5 miles up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail while ascending Mount Washington. The hiker, identified as Daniele Walczak, age 22, of Orono, Maine, had taken sick quickly and could not continue. After some time sitting on the edge of the trail, she was able to hike slowly down the trail with the assistance of her boyfriend. She continued to get progressively better and was met by Conservation Officers, who were able to help her hike down. She reached the trailhead at 2:55 p.m. and she was transported by private vehicle to a medical facility. Walczak and her boyfriend were well-prepared for this hike. They had planned on hiking the day before, but had checked the weather for Mount Washington and saw it was going to snow and have maximum temperature of 28 degrees and wind gusts up to 99 mph. They opted to hike on Sunday, which was the prudent decision.
Massachusetts Hiker Carried Off Mount Monadnock After Medical Complication
On October 11, 2015, at 4:00 PM, Nadimpalli Mahadev, age 58, of Leominster, Massachusetts, suffered a medical complication while descending the White Cross Trail on Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, New Hampshire, with his wife, Aparna. 911 was contacted and rescue personel from New Hampshire Fish and Game; fire and ambulance personnel from Jaffrey, Peterborough and Fitzwilliam; and State Park staff responded to the scene. Aided by volunteers, they carried Mahadev down the mountain by litter. He was transported by ambulance to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Canadian Hiker Rescued on Greenleaf Trail – Franconia, NH
A Canadian woman hiker who had separated from her group and taken a wrong trail was rescued in New Hampshire’s White Mountains just after midnight on October 12, 2015. Genevieve D’Aoust, age 44, of Pincourt, Quebec, set out with a group of hikers at 8:30 a.m. on October 11. They arrived at the summit of Mount Lafayette before 2 p.m. D’Aoust’s feet were sore, so she separated from her group and started down the mountain by herself on the Garfield Ridge Trail. She took a wrong turn and got lost. At 9:15 p.m., she called 911 to request rescue help. NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers, upon learning that she was poorly prepared (she had no map, compass or light source, and very little gear), immediately initiated a search for her. They had to guess what trail she might have ended up on, among a number of possibilities. Following a hunch, officers started up the Greenleaf Trail and located D’Aoust at 12:50 a.m., in good condition although very cold. D’Aoust and her rescuers reached the trailhead at about 1:30 a.m. “One of the first rules of outdoor safety is to not separate from your group,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Col. Kevin Jordan. “And be prepared for the unexpected – take a light, even if you are not planning to be out after dark, as well as other essential gear.”