MASS. HIKER OK AFTER MTN. OVERNIGHT

by Christian Mower on December 2, 2013

A NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME OFFICER SAYS A 31-YEAR-OLD HIKER FROM MASSACHUSETTS WAS IN GOOD CONDITION LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON AFTER SPENDING THE NIGHT ON MOUNT WASHINGTON.

CONSERVATION OFFICER LT. WAYNE SAUNDERS SAYS MICHAEL NILES OF BRADFORD WAS REPORTED OVERDUE ABOUT 8:30 P.M. FRIDAY AND WINTER RESCUE TEAMS MADE UP OF CONSERVATION OFFICERS, ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY SEARCH AND RESCUE AND MOUNTAIN RESCUE SERVICE DEPLOYED SATURDAY MORNING ON TRAILS NILES PLANNED TO TAKE.

NILES HAD PHOTOGRAPHED HIMSELF NEAR LAKE OF THE CLOUDS EARLY FRIDAY AFTERNOON BUT DID NOT MEET HIS WIFE AT THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB IN PINKHAM NOTCH AS EXPECTED LATER IN THE AFTERNOON.

A NEW HAMPSHIRE AIR NATIONAL GUARD HELICOPTER ALSO JOINED THE SEARCH FROM THE AIR. SEARCHERS FOLLOWED TRACKS INTO THE DRY RIVER DRAINAGE AND FOUND AN OLD SHELTER WHERE THEY BELIEVE NILES SPENT THE NIGHT.

SHORTLY AFTER 4:30 P.M. SATURDAY NILES WALKED INTO THE AMC CENTER AT CRAWFORD NOTCH. SAUNDERS SAYS HE WAS COLD, TIRED AND SORE BUT DID NOT NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION.

NILES TOLD SAUNDERS HE LOST HIS BEARINGS IN A WHITEOUT, THEN FOUND A TRAIL AND HIKED BELOW TREELINE BUT COULD NOT BUILD A FIRE. FROM SIGNS AND A MAP, HE KNEW HE WAS IN THE DRY RIVER DRAINAGE. HE DID STOP AT THE HUT FOR SEVERAL HOURS AND THEN STARTED HIKING AT SUNRISE SATURDAY, EVENTUALLY MAKING IT OUT TO ROUTE 302, WHERE HE HITCHED A RIDE TO THE AMC CENTER AND WAS REUNITED WITH HIS FAMILY.