State of New Hampshire
FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT
Law Enforcement Division
December 20, 2009
Winter Hiker Brought Out to Safety
CONCORD, N.H. -- Search Teams worked throughout Saturday night (December 19, 2009) to bring a 45 year old Nashua, NH, hiker out of the White Mountain National Forest after he became delayed and off trail during a planned day hike.
NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers were notified by the family of Kevin McDonald (45 yrs old) of Nashua, NH who became concerned after he became 5 hours overdue from a planned one day trek off of the Kancamangus Highway (Rt. 112) in Livermore, NH. McDonald and his dog had planned to hike a 9 ½ mile loop consisting of the Sawyer River Trail and the Hancock Notch Trail located near the height of land off of the Kancamangus Highway between Lincoln and Conway, NH.
With temperatures in the single digits, the pending arrival of bad weather and McDonald's unknown condition, Conservations Officers searched for McDonald throughout the evening. Conservation Officers Mark Ober Jr. and Bradley Morse located McDonald uninjured and holed up slightly off trail 3 miles into the wilderness from the Hancock Notch trailhead. McDonald had become delayed and his progress slowed because of the need to break the unused trail in the deep snow and the need to spend additional time trying to navigate on the not well maintained trail, losing it several times. After realizing he would not make it out easily during the night hours on his own he made the prudent decision to make camp to wait out the evening. After being located McDonald was then escorted out to the trailhead by the Conservation Officers.
Lt. Todd Bogardus of NH Fish and Game stated that although McDonald had planned an aggressive itinerary in the backcountry on trails that are less utilized and maintained, he did properly preplan and was equipped with skills and gear to spend the evening should the need occur during his trek. McDonald was able to make a fire to keep himself and his dog comfortable in the frigid temperatures. Winter hikers should be reminded that backcountry travel can take longer in the winter and conditions can be unpredictable or change during your trip. Therefore proper planning along with possessing winter skills and gear are essential to survive what can turn into an emergency situation.
For more information on proper preparation and essential gear for winter backcountry treks, hikers are advised to visit www.hikeSafe.com and to follow the hikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code.
For further information contact:
Lt. Todd Bogardus
NH Fish and Game Department