Lt. Douglas Gralenski: 603-271-3361
Col. Martin Garabedian: 603-271-3128
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
March 31, 2009

Missing Massachusetts Hiker Found Safe in White Mountains

CONCORD, N.H. -- An overdue hiker who was missing for two days in New Hampshire's White Mountains, John Windship, age 45, of Boxford, Mass., was found today (Tuesday, March 31, 2009) at approximately 3 p.m. on the Dry River Trail by a team of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers who are currently assisting him out to the Dry River Trailhead, located on Route 302 in Hart's Location.

"It will still be a few hours before they reach the trailhead, but it appears that he will be able to get out with minimal assistance," said Fish and Game Lt. Douglas Gralenski.

Windship had signed in at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in New Hampshire on Saturday morning (March 28).  He had planned to hike up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to the summit of Mount Washington, then along the Crawford Path, winter camping for one overnight, then proceed down the Crawford Path, to arrive at Crawford Notch on Sunday. 

Windship was hiking alone; his trek was part of a training regimen in preparation for an upcoming trip to Mt. Rainier in Washington State. He was carrying good winter equipment, except that he had no snowshoes.

During Windship's hike, visibility became poor and weather conditions rough in the Presidential Range, with winds of 30-40 mph and heavy rains on Saturday into Sunday that changed to freezing rain on Sunday.  On Monday night, 5 inches of fresh snow fell at high elevations.

Windship's wife reported him missing late this morning (Tuesday, March 31), and a search commenced by N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers and a N.H. Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter.

The hikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code (below) applies to all those enjoying New Hampshire's outdoors.  It says, you are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:

  • With knowledge and gear. Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.
  • To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you'll return and your emergency plans.
  • To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.
  • To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.
  • For emergencies. Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don't assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.
  • To share the hiker code with others.

For further information on being safe while hiking, visit

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