The body of a Canadian hiker who drowned in a raging Feldspar Brook while hiking in the High Peaks on Saturday has been recovered. State Police say that 34-year-old Julie Belanger of Montreal, Quebec, and a female hiking companion had been hiking Skylight and Grey mountains. A localized deluge of rain accompanied a line of violent storms that passed through the Adirondacks on Saturday and quickly raised the levels of local rivers and streams.
Belanger fell off a log and into the swift water of Feldspar Brook, a tributary of the Opalescent River in the Town of North Elba, and was swept away by the current of the flooded waters.
The incident was not reported to DEC Forest Rangers until Sunday morning, State Police said. A DEC Interior Caretaker located Belanger’s body early Sunday afternoon. State Police Aviation and New York State Forest Rangers hoisted Belanger’s body around 7 pm and flew her body to the Lake Placid Airport where she was pronounced dead by Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw.
Police said Belanger’s body was then removed to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake where an autopsy was performed this morning by Dr. C Francis Varga. Dr. Varga determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation due to fresh water drowning. Coroner Whitelaw ruled the manner of death to be accidental.
A Flood Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for the AuSale and Boquet Rivers and their tributaries. Fledspar Brook flows into the Opalescent River above the Flowed Lands.