PITTSBURG — Two women, exhausted and thirsty from walking through snowy North Country woods for about three hours Saturday night were “otherwise unharmed,” New Hampshire Fish and Game officials said, after their snowmobiles became bogged down in deep snow.
When Joanne Cilley, 51, of Pittsburg, and Tatiana Diamond, 47, of Millbury, Mass., emerged from the woods just after midnight, they told New Hampshire Fish and game officials they had planned only to go for a fairly short “loop” ride at about 6:30 p.m.
But they ran into trouble in New Hampshire’s northernmost town when they decided to leave Primary Trail 147, and take the trail over Cowen Hill toward Indian Stream, Fish and Game officer Chris Egan said in his written report.
“Although this trail was not maintained, they were able to follow other snowmobile tracks for approximately 2 miles, before Diamond’s machine became stuck in the deep snow on the side of the trail.
“Cilley’s machine then became stuck while attempting to turn around to reverse direction, after realizing the snow was becoming too deep to navigate.“The two expended energy in attempt to free at least one of the snowmobiles, without success, and then began walking back on their own tracks, which had been covered in places by drifting snow,” Egan wrote.
The two were also hampered by lack of cell phone reception in the North Woods, but were eventually able to contact a 911 dispatcher via a Canada-based cell service, according to Egan, who said he reached them in person on Cowen Hill just after midnight.
Pittsburg has some 300 square miles of forestland, about 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and hundreds of miles more of non-maintained trails and frozen lakes, Egan said in his report, adding that both riders were properly dressed for the elements and were both wearing helmets.
“This situation serves to highlight the importance of never riding alone, especially at night, and letting someone know your itinerary regarding where you plan to ride and when you plan to return,” he wrote.