Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hikers Find Unresponsive Man; Swollen River Leads To Night In Woods; More Rescues

forest ranger logoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.

Essex County

Town of St. Armand
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 26 at 6:43 pm, Lake Placid Police Department transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a 43-year-old male hiker from Arlington, Mass., on Haystack Mountain in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area. The hiker reported feeling the effects of dehydration due to lack of water on the strenuous hike. Coordinates obtained from the hiker’s cell phone placed him 1.75 miles from the Route 86 trailhead. Forest Ranger Peter Evans responded to bring the hiker water, food, and electrolytes. Forest Ranger Evans supplied the hiker with food and water, and at 6:48 pm, they started the hike out, arriving at the trailhead at 9:17 pm. The man declined additional medical care.

Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 31 at 6:41 pm, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two hikers who came upon a man they described as unresponsive, as well as moaning and breathing heavily. With the coordinates provided by 911, Dispatch placed the hikers’ location approximately a quarter-mile up the Johns Brook Trail from the Garden parking lot. Forest Rangers James Giglinto, Scott Sabo, Peter Evans, and David Russell responded along with the Keene Valley Fire Department and EMS. Forest Rangers and volunteers hiked to the man’s location, where they were met by the Johns Brook Caretaker. Once medical aid was administered, Forest Rangers and volunteers carried the 45-year-old man from Rome back to the parking lot, where he was then transported to a local hospital by Keene Valley EMS.

Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 2 at 5:47 pm, a call came in to DEC ‘s Ray Brook Dispatch from the husband of a hiker on Street and Nye Mountain Trail with a hiking group. Earlier in the day, they crossed Indian Pass Brook, which has no bridge, on their way to the High Peaks Wilderness area. However, upon returning to that same crossing the river had swollen dramatically from all-day heavy rains. Now stranded with rapids separating them from the trailhead, the two females and one male hiker from Minnesota called to see what they should do. Forest Rangers requested that the party remain where they were and they would quickly respond to help. Forest Rangers Kevin Burns and James Giglinto entered the backcountry crossing of Indian Pass Brook, which is more than a mile from the trailhead by foot. At 7:42 pm, Forest Rangers arrived at Indian Pass Brook and after weighing all options, it was decided the hikers should remain in the woods overnight. Forest Rangers managed to get overnight supplies to the hikers using a throw bag and walked them through starting a fire to get warm and comfortable. Forest Rangers returned the next morning to evaluate the conditions and at 7:13 am, Ranger Giglinto advised Dispatch that he had found the hikers on the Old Nye Ski trail and that they were all safely out of the woods.

Franklin County

Town of Waverly
Wilderness Rescue: On Aug. 31 at 1:11 pm, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured 37-year-old female hiker from Fresh Meadows on Azure Mountain. The hiker was descending the trail in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest Area and took a wrong step, causing the injury. Through additional interviews with Dispatch, it was determined that the ankle injury was serious. Cell phone coordinates obtained through 911 placed the woman just over a half-mile from the trailhead. Forest Rangers Scott Sabo, Peter Evans, Peter Morehouse, Nathaniel Shea, and Assistant Forest Ranger Gregory Bowler responded to assist. At 3:51 pm, Forest Rangers were on scene and heading to meet with the group. After stabilizing the injury, the hiker was carried out to a Saint Regis Falls ambulance waiting at the trailhead and brought to a local hospital for treatment.

Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.

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9 Responses

  1. Balian the Cat says:

    All ends of the spectrum this week – the Indian Pass situation seems like a reasonable use of Rangers and resources…and then there’s the ubiquitous “what do you mean I should bring water on a hike?” scenario.

  2. Ryan Finnigan says:

    Much love to all the Rangers and emergency personnel!

  3. scott van Laer says:

    We love our Job but we are at a turning point with staffing. While we have engaged in good faith talks with senior management at the DEC to add more ranger items our contention, which is supported with a tremendous amount of facts and supportive comparisons, is now just completely dismissed by the DEC as a fraud, fantasy and myth. Facts; 1 million more acres of land to patrol, state land use up by 60 percent, S@R incidents have doubled yet 10 fewer rangers working in the Adirondacks then the 1980’s. This is not sustainable and the solution is simple.

  4. tim says:

    Dehydration in the Adirondacks?! There’s water everywhere! I’ve been reading about more and more rescues involving dehydration. Park PR has done too good a job of terrifying people about giardia.
    Of course, we should always bring plenty of water or a water filter. But in an emergency, just drink it and start an antibiotic when you return home if you’re really worried. It takes days for giardia to kick in.

    • Ott says:

      There must be some places in the High Peaks without water – I keep to the western wetlands myself.
      I drank Adk lake and river water without ill effects for at least 20 years before I started heeding the warnings. Cranberry Lake locals told me they always drank it, but I started taking precautions anyway. I now add 7 or 8 drops of iodine per quart. Really cannot taste it unless I think about it. I would certainly drink untreated water before chancing dehydration.
      This would be a good time for someone having experience with Giardia to tell us about it.

      Bill Ott
      Lakewood, Ohio

    • Boreas says:

      We ran out of water once the second time I climbed Seward Range. We ended up filtering water out of a 1″ deep mud puddle in one of the cols. While there is a lot of water in the Park, not all of it crosses trails. Some ridges can be pretty dry. And you can’t always assume a blue line on a map shows water in all seasons – sometimes it is just a marsh or bog. Adding to that, depending on heat, humidity, and activity sometimes you can run through much more water than you planned. Hopefully, revised trail guides are better at pointing out last water on dry ridge hikes, etc..

    • Suji says:

      My family get our water in a gravity feed from Phelps Brook, as we have done since my grandfather built our camp in 1906, and we’ve never worried about “beaver fever.” A relative who is in charge of water testing at Bender Labs has tested the water many times and it is absolutely pure–no bacteria or contaminants whatsoever. (Occasionally when there’s been a big storm we find a little sand in the bathtubs.) When I was a kid I would drink from the Giant’s Washbowl — I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing that any more!

  5. Ott says:

    After posting yesterday’s drivel, this morning I thought – “Wow, I could just google “giardia in the Adirondacks”. Thus I did so, and guess what I came up with? An Adirondack Article from July of 2013.

    Click and read:

    https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2013/07/drinking-the-water-is-giardia-a-real-threat.html#comments

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