Hikers call 911 after getting lost on Wapack Trail
PETERBOROUGH – Law enforcement and New Hampshire Fish and Game officers helped four local hikers out of a nighttime predicament on the Wapack Trail in Peterborough on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Conservation Officer William Boudreau said Ceilidh Mckillop, 21, of Milford; Marion Chadwick, 24, of Mont Vernon; Desirae Gramatikas, 22, of Wilton; and Michael McCarthy Jr., 36, of Hudson, began hiking the trail on Temple Mountain at about 5:30 p.m. and became lost as darkness set in about 30 minutes into their hike.
Boudreau said the hikers called 911 for help at 7:22 p.m.
"It sounded like they were going in the wrong direction from their vehicle," Boudreau said, adding that Fish and Game worked with the hikers over the phone to get them headed in the right direction on the correct trail.
Boudreau said Fish and Game had them call 911 again, which then locked in to their location. Coordinates were entered into a topographical map program on a laptop. He said they were able to rely on their familiarity with the trail to talk to the hikers, turn them around and lead them out.
The hikers were met at the top of Temple Mountain and were taken back to their car by a department pickup truck at about 9:30 p.m.
"Each had a cellphone, and one flashlight among the group," Boudreau said. "We told them to turn off three cellphones and use the light on one as a light source."
He added that it’s a good idea to have a cellphone while hiking, but that hikers shouldn’t rely on having service or a GPS signal.
"We’re not always able to get an accurate location or GPS points to come and get you," Boudreau said. "Sometimes we can get in the ballpark of where they are, but it’s still a huge area and that doesn’t help us out, especially in the more rural areas."
The Wapack Trail runs generally north to south, and if the hikers had had a compass, they could have had an easier time finding their way, according to Fish and Game. Boudreau said hikers should be prepared to be lost or out longer than they planned for, and to bring extra water, food, a map and a compass.
The Peterborough Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search.
Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.