Published DateCONWAY — Fine summer weather brought the crowds to the White Mountains this weekend, and with them came a string searches for lost and injured hikers that required every tool in the arsenal.
"Everything from flashlights to ATVs to boats to helicopters were used to accomplish missions that happened within a 48-hour timeframe," Fish and Game conservation officer Matt Holmes said.
The rescues began shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Friday, according to the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game, when a family of four from Florida called from Mount Washington's Jewell Trail. The batteries had died on their only flashlight.
Officer Matt Holmes responded, hiking in from the Cog Railway. He located the family shortly after midnight, and with his help the family was able to make their way back to their vehicle. They arrived in the parking lot just before 1 a.m.
The next afternoon conservation officer Chris Egan responded to First Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg to search for a missing Massachusetts teenager. The young man's family reported the man missing around 6 p.m. He had planned to hike from the beach along a snowmobile trail back to a rental cabin, but when he did not arrive at the cabin the teen's family became concerned. They conducted their own unsuccessful search, then they called for help. Egan joined Pittsburg police officer Adam Cheney in searching for the teen, who was ultimately located around 6:40 p.m. on the shore of First Connecticut Lake.
Less than an hour later, at 7:30 p.m., Fish and Game was notified of an injured female hiker at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Hermit Lake shelter. The Connecticut woman had been hiking Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine Trail when she began having knee problems.
"In pain and unable to walk, a plan was formulated to extract the injured woman using an ATV," Fish and Game said in a written statement. Conservation officer Lt. Douglas Gralenski drove an ATV from Route 16 in Pinkham Notch up along the John Sherburne Ski Trail and provided the woman a ride down. They got to the road shortly before 10 p.m.
While that rescue was still taking place, conservation officers learned of two additional injured hikers in the same area. "Follow up revealed the additional patients were able to make it to the Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center without Fish and Game assistance," the department statement said.
Then on Sunday at approximately 10:20 a.m., conservation officers were called for a 54-year-old Philadelphia man who had fallen while hiking on Mount Adams' Lowe's Path. The man, a doctor, suffered a serious arm injury. Other members of the hiking party rendered first aid and called for help. Given the extent of the man's injuries and remoteness of his location, Fish and Game contacted the New Hampshire Army National Guard to request a helicopter.
The helicopter was to Mount Adams by 1 p.m. Members of Appalachian Mountain Club provided assistance, bringing gear to the scene and providing radio support, and the National Guard team extracted the man and took him to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.