“A Race Against Time” as Rescuers Save Stranded Hiker from Maine AT

A hiker was rescued from the Appalachian Trail in western Maine’s Bigelow Mountains over the weekend after the man became stranded near the summit of Little Bigelow Mountain (AT northbound mile 2022). 

A team of volunteers from Franklin Search and Rescue (FSAR) of Kingfield, Maine and wardens from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife struggled through soft snow, high winds, and freezing temperatures to reach the hiker. An FSAR press release described the operation as a “race against time reach and warm the stranded hiker before life-threatening hypothermia set in.”

Responders wasted no time in providing assistance, building a fire, feeding the hiker, and getting him into a warm, dry set of clothes. With the hiker’s strength restored, rescuers equipped him with spare snowshoes for the return journey.

“Weary rescuers from the Warden Service and FSAR safely guided the stranded hiker out of the Bigelow range in what was a nearly 8 hour mission to find, rewarm and evacuate the distressed hiker.” Photo: Franklin Search and Rescue

The entire group, including the rescued hiker, safely descended to the trailhead by 7 a.m. ET Sunday morning, having begun the operation around 11 p.m. the previous night. The rescue involved driving approximately 298 miles and over 24 combined hours of dedicated assistance from FSAR volunteers and wardens.

Springtime in Maine can often be deceiving,” according to FSAR, with warm daytime temperatures sometimes lulling hikers into a false sense of security before freezing nighttime lows set in. Snow can linger at high elevations until early summer. “Always consider your gear, your outdoor adventure plan and your level of preparation before heading into Maine’s wilderness, and always have some means of communicating even in areas with spotty or no cell service,” FSAR urges.

For those interested in joining volunteer search and rescue efforts, opportunities are available through the Maine Association for Search And Rescue (MASAR) website or by attending FSAR’s monthly training sessions held every second Wednesday of the month at the Kingfield Fire Department.

Featured image: “Rescuers had to fight through freezing temperatures, brisk winds and deep snow to locate the distressed hiker.” Photo via Franklin Search and Rescue

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