Two Hikers Rescued in Separate Incidents in New Hampshire

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Kevin Trimmer via Getty Images)

It was a busy weekend for New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Law Enforcement Division, which faced not one but two challenging rescues in the state’s towering White Mountains. The trouble began shortly before 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, when NHFG received a call informing them of an injured hiker on the Champney Falls Trail near Albany.

To make matters worse, the hiker was a minor whose injury was so severe it prevented him from leaving the area, even with the help of his friends.

He and his fellow hikers had successfully summited the 3-mile, moderately challenging trail. On the way down, however, he traveled only a few steps before losing his footing and dislocating his knee. More than three miles from the trailhead, he and his friends knew they needed help.

Deep in the New Hampshire wilderness, the distressed teens struggled to contact emergency services, their cell phone service spotty at best. Thankfully, they eventually made contact with Fish and Game, who directed the young hikers on how to correct their friend’s dislocated knee. While they waited for rescuers, the teens wrapped the injury, allowing the hiker to walk with assistance.

As night fell, Fish and Game met the group on the trail and helped the injured teen to the trailhead and his waiting parents, who drove him to the nearby hospital for treatment.

Second of Two Hikers Rescued From New Hampshire White Mountains

While New Hampshire Fish and Game were talking the teens through the on-trail treatment of their fallen friend, they received another call at around 3 p.m. This time, the caller explained they were 42-year-old Christine Mellnick.

While hiking the 3.8-mile Wentworth Trail on Mount Israel, Mellnick slipped and fell in the thick leaf coverage coating the path, injuring her ankle. Unable to walk, Mellnick contacted the rescue crew for help, who immediately set out for her location.

Upon their arrival, NHFG was met with a difficult task – how were they going to assist the hiker down the near-two miles to the trailhead without suffering a slip-and-fall accident in the sea of oak and beach leaves themselves? After a bit of brainstorming, they arrived at an unusual solution: a backpack leaf blower.

Using the leaf blower, the crew cleared more than a mile of the trail of its crunchy covering. In doing so, they reduced the slip hazard and were able to safely navigate the rocky terrain. Shortly after 7 p.m., the crew arrived back at the trailhead, the injured hiker in tow, carried between NHFG members in a rescue litter harness.

Both hikers and their loved ones were extremely grateful for the efforts of New Hampshire Fish and Game rescuers. In turn, Fish and Game directed their thanks to the volunteers who made the challenging rescues possible. Without the help of volunteer rescue groups, missions such as these might not be possible, they explained on their Facebook page.