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Lt. Robert Bryant: 603-271-3127
April 27, 2010

Missing Hiker in Franconia Safely Located

CONCORD, N.H. -- The search for a lost hiker around Mt. Lafayette successfully concluded shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27.

Peter Murphy (age 46) of Littleton, N.H., was located by a White Mountain National Forest employee looking for him in the Gale River area of Bethlehem, N.H.  Murphy had set out Sunday (April 25, 2010) afternoon in shorts, a t-shirt and no other gear to hike the Skookumchuck Trail to the summit of Mt. Lafayette, 5 miles from the trailhead and back.  After turning around, Murphy lost his way and spent the next two days trying to find his way out of the White Mountain National Forest.  He eventually found a brook drainage and made his way several miles down to the Gale River Forest Service Road, where he was located.  Murphy was unharmed, other than scratches and being tired and cold.  Search crews were out in force trying to locate Murphy during the afternoon rain and eventual snowstorm.   

"This is an example of the important need for people to be prepared for every hike with the hikeSafe ten essentials as a minimum, and to practice the Principles of the Hiker Responsibility Code," said Lt. Todd Bogardus of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "One needs to be prepared for when things don’t go as planned. In this instance, a simply planned hike turned into a two-day ordeal that could have ended tragically."

When Murphy set out on his hike, it was sunny and 60 degrees at the trailhead; when it ended, it was snowing and temperatures had dropped to the 30’s.

After failing to report for work co-workers reported him overdue and local police searched for Murphy’s car, which was eventually located at the Skookumchuck Trailhead, just off of Route 3 in Franconia.  A search for Murphy then began earlier Tuesday, April 27.

Assisting N.H. Fish and Game with the search were White Mountain National Forest personnel, N.H. State Police, Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, New England K-9 Search and Rescue and the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team.

For further information on being safe while hiking or pursuing outdoor recreation and to learn the hiker responsibility code please visit

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