While he was hunkered down in his sleeping bag waiting to be rescued from just below the Franconia Ridge a man from Maine says he was no longer worried about himself, but about the Fish and Game officers headed his way in the dark, poor visibility and high winds.
“You feel kind of horrible putting other people in that situation,” said Evan Embrey, 24, of Buxton, Maine.
Embrey told NHPR he was hiking on the ridge between Mt. Lafayette and Little Haystack Mountain when winds picked up,
“It was pushing me over, so it had to be gusts of 50 or 60 mile per hour,” he said.
He decided to leave the ridge and headed down the side of the mountain, figuring he would reach one of several trails.
“I tried to start bushwhacking but the snow was basically up to my waist,” he said.
He had broken a snowshoe and decided it was time to call for help.
He was carrying an emergency beacon that sends a signal to a satellite but decided since he had a good signal on his cell phone he would call his family instead.
His family notified Fish and Game which dispatched Conservation Officers Heidi Murphy and Brad Morse, according to a news release from Fish and Game.
Embrey said Fish and Game called him and suggested he get in his sleeping bag and wait.
“At first I was pretty nervous with the winds and the clouds coming in. I’ve heard all the stories about the White Mountains, how fast conditions can change for the worst,” he said.
But once he knew Murphy and Morse were on the way he felt better, dug a hole in the snow, climbed into his sleeping bag, ate energy bars and drank water while waiting for them.
“Time was going by very slowly,” he said.
When Murphy and Morse got close they called his phone and asked him to blow his whistle and wave a flashlight.
They brought him a pair of snowshoes and around midnight were off the mountain, having taken the Falling Waters Trail together, Embrey said.
Fish and Game said Embrey was well-prepared for his trip, which included plans to spend the night. He also filed a trip itinerary that made finding him easier. But, they noted, it is important particularly for winter hikers to have a companion.