The Maine Warden Service rescued two New York hikers on the Appalachian Trail Tuesday night who they say were unprepared for winter hiking in Maine.

Wardens said 36-year-old Jacob Haisley of Red Hook, NY, and 70-year-old Wayne Gage of Schenectady, NY were planning on hiking a 15-mile stretch of the trail that included Mount Abraham, Spaulding Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain.

The men began their hike at around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, and were quickly slowed by the deep snow, and only made it halfway through their planned trek by nightfall. They found shelter at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to but they did not have food, water or the proper equipment to spend the night, according to Warden Service spokesman Mark Latti.

As temperatures dropped into the single digits and the men grew colder, they decided they could not hike out and called 911 at around 5:45 p.m.

Game Wardens spoke to Mr. Haisley on the phone and advised him to stay at the lean-to and start a fire. Three wardens ascended much of Spaulding Mountain by snowmobile, then snowshoed over ¾ of a mile to near the summit where the hikers were stranded, Latti said.


Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

The photo shows the rescued hikers at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to late Tuesday night.

After a quick examination, it was determined the men were able to hike out and the game wardens and stranded hikers snowshoed back to the snowmobiles. They group rode down the mountain, arriving at the base at around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday.

“Poor planning, coupled with poor decisions, stranded these hikers in very dangerous conditions,” said Game Warden Kyle Hladik. “They were very fortunate we were able to get to them quickly.”

The Warden Service said neither hiker required medical attention.

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