Hiker found in hotel donates $3,000, avoids bill from Fish and GameBy TODD FEATHERS
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 11. 2018 9:41PM
A Massachusetts hiker whose failure to notify his wife that he was spending the night in a hotel and prompted an extensive search and rescue operation in the White Mountains has donated $3,000 to the Department of Fish and Game to help pay for the operation.
Col. Kevin Jordan, who oversees the department’s law enforcement division, said the actual cost of the search was much higher. Just operating the National Guard helicopter that responded costs $6,000 per hour.
But after a long conversation with the hiker, Christophe Chamley, of Cambridge, Mass., Jordan decided to accept his donation and not submit a formal bill.
“I could have still billed him, I just felt based on his remorsefulness, his respect, his understanding of the situation, and his promptness in get a $3,000 check off before he had to at that point showed all good signs and we had accomplished what we set out to do,” he said.
Chamley, a Boston University economics professor and experienced hiker familiar with the White Mountains, set off on April 22 to summit Mount Adams and Mount Jefferson. He intended to return that evening, but the hike grew too difficult so he abandoned it and checked into a room at the Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Chamley did attempt to send his wife a message using the WhatsApp smartphone application, but it failed to send.
His wife contacted authorities to notify them that he had not returned. The search included a helicopter, snow cats and about 25 people, many with specialized training.
Unaware of the search, Chamley had gone to sleep, not waking up until about 11 a.m. Monday.
That morning, Chamley’s family informed the Department of Fish and Game that he had checked into the hotel and the search was called off.
He did not respond to a phone message on Wednesday, but following the search Chamley told the Union Leader the experience had given him a newfound respect for the searchers.
“Everybody at Fish and Game had a superb, extraordinary and professional care,” he said. “They were, of course, a little upset, but after that they were very caring.”