Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rangers Still Busy Despite Cold Temps

trap dike in winterForest rangers were called to a pair of rescues in the High Peaks Wilderness President’s Day weekend and one last week.

The first of the two rescues Sunday took place on the Algonquin Trail above MacIntyre Falls, where 31-year-old New York City resident Ren Herring had suffered a lower leg injury during a fall.

The rescue call came at 3 p.m. that day. Forest rangers snowmobiled and hiked their way to Herring. He was then transported out of the woods to Adirondak Loj, where he was stabilized and transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid by a local ambulance. He arrived at about 7:30 p.m.

At about the same time that incident was ending, another one was starting nearby. A state Department of Environmental Conservation dispatcher received a call at 7:10 that night regarding two men who were overdue from a two-day camping trip to Avalanche Camps that included climbing the Trap Dike on Mount Colden.

The two 29-year-old men were Adam Nicholson of Arlington, Virginia, and James Frank of Washington, D.C. The men eventually hiked out on their own Sunday night, but not before a short search took place.

Four forest rangers responded to the call, including two who snowmobiled to Avalanche Camps. Eventually forest rangers found fresh footprints believed to be those of the hikers that helped the rangers locate the men at 9:45 p.m. near their vehicle parked at the Adirondak Loj.

The men told forest rangers that cold weather conditions had hindered their trip and delayed them significantly from packing up at Avalanche Camps and hiking out. One of the men went to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid to determine whether he had frostbite on his hands. The DEC statement on the incident didn’t indicate which man.

On Sunday, temperatures in nearby Lake Placid ranged between negative 14 degrees and eight degrees Fahrenheit, according to Weather Underground.

The other recent High Peaks rescue took place Tuesday, February 10, after 41-year-old Chris Henderson, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, activated his locator beacon. DEC dispatchers received the report of the missing men at 5:50 p.m. Henderson was travelling with Jamie Bock, a 40-year-old male from Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and Sean Westby, a 45-year-old male from Melberne, Pennsylvania.

Coordinates placed them at the intersection of Hopkins Trail and the Van Hoevenberg Trail, a little more than a mile from the summit of Mount Marcy and more than six miles from the Van Hoevenberg Trailhead.

As a forest ranger was responding to the call, the coordinates for the men changed to indicate they were on the Van Hoevenberg Trail and heading to Marcy Dam. The ranger arrived at Adirondak Loj and headed up the trail to Marcy Dam. He located the men, in good condition, past the Algonquin junction on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, less than two miles from the trailhead.

The men told a forest ranger they had started from the Garden trailhead in Keene Valley and got turned around on the Hopkins Trail on the way up Marcy. They activated the beacon and then decided to follow signs and ski out on the Van Hoevenberg trail. After being located, rangers escorted the party out to the Adirondak Loj trailhead and provided them with a ride to Keene Valley, where they were spending the night. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

 Photo by Phil Brown: Trap Dike in winter. 

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Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues. Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine. From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake. Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at

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