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Thread: Mount Major Search & Rescue

  1. #1
    Senior Member Waumbek's Avatar
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    Mount Major Search & Rescue

    Friday, July 29, 2005
    Cell phone aids hiker on Mount Major
    By GEOFF CUNNINGHAM Jr. Staff Writer, Laconia Citizen
    ALTON — A cell phone was instrumental in the rescue of a 71-year-old Virginia man who became lost on Mount Major on Thursday.
    Alton Fire Chief Alan Johnson said John Duncan, 71, of Falls Church, Va. was uninjured and in good health when he was found shortly before 5:30 p.m.
    The chief said Duncan missed the connection of the red and green trails and found himself lost in the woods on the side of the mountain. He had fallen back from three other hikers with whom he was climbing when he realized he might need help.
    Johnson said Duncan used his cell phone to call 911 at approximately 3 p.m. After he explained his situation to dispatchers at the Belknap County Sherriff's Department, local emergency responders from Alton and Gilford were toned out to the parking area to look for him. Fish and Game officers also responded.
    Authorities kept in contact with Duncan by calling him on his cell phone and repeatedly asking him what he could see. Johnson said emergency crews realized he was on the east side of the mountain because he said he could see Lake Winnipesaukee.
    Crews from Alton and Gilford went up different trails and a crew eventually found him approximately 90 minutes after they had established contact with him. Johnson said he was found relatively high on a mountain that is known as a popular recreation area.
    "He was in good health. We gave him some water and drove him off the mountain in our forestry truck," said Johnson.
    The chief said Duncan's fellow hikers realized he was lost and went back to get him. He said they later came back to the parking lot.

  2. #2
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    I'm glad it was a success but I find it very interesting if not confusing. First, there are no trails on Major blazed in red or green, and the only route a forestry truck could possibly use is blazed in yellow (from which you can't see the Lake at this time of year). This yellow trail leaves a well marked junction with a blue blazed trail. But news reports are often very wrong.

    There are three main routes to the summit of Major and a lot of work has been done recently to have them clearly blazed and signed at any junctions and trail direction arrows at any non-trail off-shoots. The summit has clear direction signs and the blazing is clear in each direction. Anyway, it's is still amazing how people somehow don't know where to go.

    Recently I was several miles west of the summit of Major and was just rejoining a trail, after bushwacking, to return to Major. As I stepped onto the trail I met a couple who thought they were heading to the parking lot which was several miles back and on the east side of the summit! Keep in mind that the parking lot is usually very full and lots of people are on the trails (as was the case this day) yet this couple walked right through a junction that has clearly visible signs including a large one that would be right in your face that says, "Turn Right Here to Return to Parking Lot" with an arrow. They continued on past that in the wrong direction and saw no one until they met me. I would think that the fact of seeing no one would trigger a question in their mind. But apparently not. If I had not stepped onto the trail when I did they admitted they would have continued on. I can only imagine how long they would have gone.

    But that's only one of many stories I could tell...
    I'm just outwalkin....

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