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May 05. 2014 7:34PM

Spring hikers issued warning after series of trail rescues

A 56-year-old woman was assisted off a trail at Mount Monadnock Sunday night after she became weak and unstable.

Fish and Game conservation officers were called to the park in Jaffrey about 10 p.m. after three hikers from Winchester needed help.

Carol Hardie, 56, her son, Paul Baird, 34, and his wife Crystal, 28, all of Winchester, called 911 to report that Hardie had become unstable due to an unknown medical condition. The three had summited the White Arrow Trail; during their descent Hardie began experiencing problems.

The trio rested along the trail, hoping her illness would pass. It did not and soon they were overcome with darkness. They did not have flashlights or warm clothes, and there were snow flurries on the mountain with temperatures in the high 30s.

Conservation officers reached the group at 11:45 p.m. and escorted them off the mountain. Hardie was able to slowly hike down with assistance and was transported to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough for what is believed to be a non-life-threatening illness.

It was not the only rescue of the weekend.

On Monday, 75-year-old David Humphrey of Falmouth, Maine, was rescued from the summit of Bond Cliff in New Hampshire’s White Mountains after enduring a cold, wet night stranded on the trail.

Conservation officers reached Humphrey Monday morning and helped him hike down below the inclement weather ceiling. The National Guard helicopter crew was able to hover overhead and lower a cable with a seat to lift Humphrey and the two officers into the helicopter.

They were flown to the Lincoln Woods Trailhead on the Kancamagus Highway, arriving about 1 p.m. Humphrey suffered some symptoms of hypothermia; his wife picked him up at the trailhead.

The incident is the third this week in which hikers have ventured onto high elevation trails, where significant snow and ice conditions prevail, and gotten into trouble, Fish and Game Captain John Wimsatt said in a news release.

“There is still upward of two feet of snow on the ridges and summits,” Wimsatt said. “And as temperatures warm, the runoff from small streams can be unpredictable and dangerous.”

Fish and Game Conservation Officers are advising spring hikers anxious to hit the mountain trails to be patient and cautious before venturing into high elevations.

“People are taking on arduous hikes in difficult conditions without the appropriate gear and preparation,” Wimsatt said.


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