|The 8.9-mile "Franconia loop" in New Hampshire's White Mountains follows the exposed ridge from Little Haystack Mountain to Lincoln, in the distance. Many get in trouble on this loop. JERRY AND MARCY MONKMAN|
Coming in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Appalachia journal:
Trouble on the “Franconia Loop”: Accidents Editor Sandy Stott writes about hikers who pushed themselves too hard on the touted and ever-popular 8.9-mile “Franconia loop” route. It combines Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, the upper part of the Greenleaf Trail, and Old Bridle Path. The loop includes the tops of Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette mountains, and it remains above treeline for at least 2.7 miles. Stott notes: “With its eponymous waters and steep ledges, Falling Waters Trail is a hard climb or descent that is rarely free of slippery spots. And the aforementioned loop, easily reached from Route 93, is one of the more demanding day hikes in the Whites. Such easy access may be why these trails see more than their share of mishaps and rescues.”
On July 12, 2014, New Hampshire Fish & Game received a late morning call about a hiker, Andrew K., age 53, who had fallen a mile and a quarter up Falling Waters Trail and sustained injuries that kept him from walking. By 12:30 p.m., rescuers from NHFG, the U.S. Forest Service, and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue had reached the scene, where a friend and some hikers who had come along were attending Andrew. Rescuers carried him out on a litter.
“Contacted a few days later by Conservation Officer Jonathon Demler for a follow-up,” Stott writes, “Andrew expressed deep gratitude for his rescue. Demler’s report also noted that Andrew apologized repeatedly during the carryout for needing this sort of attention. Although such thanks are, according to rescuers, not uncommon, Demler’s report underlines them, thereby providing a small window into the good feeling such thanks generate. Too often embarrassment at needing help shows itself in stoniness or disregard for the freely given work of rescuers.”
Rescuers back again the same night: In fact, rescuers returned to the Franconia Ridge that night. “A little before 9 p.m. on July 12, NHFG got word of a hiker who was “unable to move” not far from the summit of Mount Lafayette. Al D., age 28, and his cousin had set out earlier that day on the same Franconia loop route I mentioned in the previous story. But on the summit of Lafayette, Al and his cousin had missed the turn for Greenleaf Trail. Instead, they had walked more than a mile along Garfield Ridge Trail before sensing their error and turning back up, climbing Lafayette again.” Al was spent. He couldn’t go farther. To read the full story of this and other rescues on the Franconia loop and elsewhere in the White Mountains, read the full Accidents report, available in the Summer/Fall 2015 Appalachia.
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