FRANCONIA — On Thursday shortly after 8:30 p.m., New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officers were notified of two hikers who were off trail in Franconia Notch.
Coordinates of the hikers’ location showed they were about a quarter of a mile off the Bridle Path.
In talking with the pair, it was learned they could not continue because of the steep terrain and the fading light. Not equipped with a map, compass or a light source, they felt they could not safely continue up or down.
Two conservation officers responded to the Old Bridle Path and hiked up to the intersection of the Greenleaf Trail. The officers were able to descend the steep terrain to the stranded hikers, reaching them just after midnight.
After giving them food and water, they were equipped with a headlamp and warm clothing. The group was able to slowly descend the steep slides on the eastern side of Franconia Notch and arrived near Profile Lake at 7:15 a.m.
It was learned that the two hikers had been descending the Greenleaf Trail when they felt they would not make it out by dark. Lacking a light, they consulted a mapping app on their cellphone and learned that they were only about 8 tenths of a mile from the interstate if they just went straight through the woods, off trail.
They didn’t take into account the terrain they would encounter and that in those 8 tenths of a mile, the topography descends 2,500 feet.
Fish and Game said it will be recommended that the two hikers, identified as 27-year-old Nisrine Orgad of Weymouth, Mass., and 41-year-old Henry Santos of Peabody, Mass., be charged for the cost of the rescue.
They lacked the majority of the “Ten Essentials” and compounded that by making bad decisions. For a list of the “Ten Essentials,” go to hikesafe.com.
Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to buy a Hike Safe card at wildnh.com/safe. The card helps support Fish and Game search-and-rescue activities and exempts the holder from liability for repaying search and rescue costs.