The Maine Warden Service rescued two ill-equipped hikers on the Appalachian Trail last night who were unprepared for hiking in Maine in the winter.
Jacob Haisley, age 36 of Red Hook, New York, and Wayne Gage, age 70 of Schenectady, New York were planning on hiking a 15-mile portion of the Appalachian trail that included Mount Abraham, Spaulding Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain Jan. 25.
“Poor planning, coupled with poor decisions, stranded these hikers in very dangerous conditions,” said Game Warden Kyle Hladik. “They were very fortunate we were able to get to them quickly.”
They began their hike at about 8:00 a.m., and were quickly slowed by the deep snow, and only made it halfway through their hike once darkness came. They found shelter at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to, but did not have food, water or the proper equipment to spend the night. Temperatures dropped into the single digits, and as they got colder, they decided they could not hike out and called 911 at approximately 5:45 p.m.
Game Wardens were able speak to Haisley on the phone, and advised him to stay at the lean-to and start a fire. Three game wardens ascended much of Spaulding Mountain by snowmobile, then snowshoed over ¾ of a mile to near the summit of Spaulding Mountain where the hikers were stranded. After a quick examination, it was determined they could hike out, and the game wardens and stranded hikers snowshoed back to the snowmobiles, and descended the mountain by snowmobile, arriving at the base at approximately 1:00 a.m. this morning. Neither hiker required medical attention.
Photo: From MDIFW, is one of the rescued hikers at the Spaulding Mountain Lean