View Full Version : The hikers friend

08-07-2004, 09:57 AM
My wife and I were hiking Lyon Mt. last week. When we got to the trailhead a ranger pulled up asking us if we were the ones who called about the injured hiker. We knew nothing about it but apprently one of the groups we passed on the way down had a member who had broken his ankle and couldn't make it off the mountain.
While the ranger was on the radio with the dispatcher, my wife and I discussed whether we shoud go up with him because we imagined he would have a tough time getting an adult man down by himself. As we discussed it, a group of volunteer rescue squad members from Lyon Mt. Village pulled up to assist. From listening to the group talk this was not the first time they had to rescue someone of the steep, rocky trail up Lyon.
This reminded me of a few years ago when my wife and I hiked to the top of Good Luck Mt. to find a pair of campers who took off running through the woods when we got the summit. They ran away because they had built a campfire that had obviously gotten out of control. There weren't flames shooting out but there was a huge patch of ground and several trees that were smouldering and burning underground.
Luckily we were joined by another hiker who took off down the mountain to call the rangers. My wife and I poured what water we had on the fire and threw dirt on it. We stayed up there for a while putting out the flare ups that popped up. It became apparent that we were going to need more serious equipment than we had. We got back down to the trailhead not to find the rangers but members of the local fire department hoisting tanks on their back to carry up the mountain. It was a hot, dry day and I didn't envy them at all. I remember asking the chief if they didn't have an ATV to drive up but she informed me that they were a small town (Canada Lakes) fire department and didn't have that kind of equipment.
Like everyone else I read about the helicopter rescues orchestrated by the DEC in the High Peaks and assumed they handle all emergencies in the Adirondacks. I'm quickly learning that isn't true. I probably should have remembered this from when I was a kid growing up in the Catskills. Several members of my family were on the local rescue squad and were called at least twice a year to rescue hikers who had fallen off the Kaaterskill Falls. These rescues were always time-consuming and often very dangerous for the rescuers going in to pull the people out. Often the hikers were from places with paid fire fighters to whom the concept of "volunteer" was foriegn.
I apologize for the length of the post. I really just wanted to raise awareness of the good people who are willing to give their time, and sometimes risk to themselves, to help a stranger who they will probably never meet again. Hopefully no one here ever requires there services but it's comforting to know they're there to bail you out should you ever need it.

08-08-2004, 07:15 AM
Two years ago my son and I were hiking/camping in the Seward Range during the winter and hauled huge packs from the bridge into Blueberry leanto. There was lots of mud and it turned into a death march. When we got back out to the summer trailhead a ranger was there (with a large 4WD vehicle) posting a sign about the bridge repair. She asked us if we'd like a ride out to the winter trailhead and it took awhile to move all of the rescue gear around so that our gear would fit and we had a nice talk as we went on our way. I definitely consider the rangers as the hikers friend not someone to avoid.

08-09-2004, 05:55 AM
I have hiked the Adirondacks alone for years. Well, I was almost always with my dog, but that's for another thread. Anyway, over the years I have chanced upon hundreds if not thousands of other hikers on the trail. Sometimes I have hiked part or all day with folks I met along the way. We would exchange basic information--name, occupation, hometown, but rarely phone numbers, email addresses etc. Friends for a day. These too are Hiker's Friends.

08-09-2004, 09:22 AM
Just after the new High peaks regs came into effect I had my food robbed at Lake Colden by the usual suspect. While cleaning up the mess a Ranger rowed up offered me breakfast and then excused me from the "no stay in one place" for more than 3 nights rule.

I see so few Rangers in actuality, what few encounters I've had have been positive. Never really expected anything else unless I was doing something I shouldn't be doing.