Forest Rangers rescue Texas hiker stranded in head in Adirondack High Peaks (DEC report)

Rangers from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation rescued nearly a dozen stranded, lost or injured hikers last week.

Those rescues included one of a Texas man stranded on Giant Mountain with a head injury. Rangers were dropped into the area by the State Police Aviation Unit and then helped the man down the mountain in the dark.

The following incidents occurred between September 14 and 19. These reports come directly from DEC.

Town of Keene, County of Essex

Wilderness rescue: At 11:14 a.m. on September 14, Essex County 911 contacted Ray Brook Dispatch of DEC to report a hiker with a knee injury atop Hopkins Mountain in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. Rangers Lewis, Morehouse, Martin and O’Connor responded. Rangers Lewis and Morehouse stabilized the hiker’s knee and transported him to the trail where he was transferred to a 6×6 UTV. The hiker was taken to the trailhead where he was greeted by his wife and then driven to hospital. Resources were clear at 4 p.m.

Wilderness rescue: At 3:08 p.m. on September 14, Essex County 911 contacted Ray Brook Dispatch of DEC reporting that a 32-year-old hiker from Texas had suffered a head injury at Giant Mountain. Lt. Dubay requested assistance from the New York State Police Aviation (NYSP) to insert Rangers into the location. Two rangers were inserted by the NYSP within a half mile of the hiker coordinates. The hiker was located at 7:45 p.m., assessed and treated for his injuries. The rangers helped the subject to descend to find his hiking partner at 12:23 a.m.

Town of Hunter, County of Greene

Wilderness research: At 7:45 p.m. on September 15, Greene County 911 contacted the DEC dispatch center for the assistance of a ranger with a 30-year-old Saugerties man lost near the Prediger Road trailhead in the Indian Head Desert. Rangers Fox and Gullen responded by joining a Hunter Police patrol and an NYSP officer at the trailhead. Rangers walked to the cell phone coordinates collected by Greene County 911. Rangers located the hiker, provided him with a flashlight, and escorted him to his vehicle. The resources left the scene at 10:15 p.m.

Town of Pinckney, County of Lewis

Wilderness rescue: At 8:30 p.m. on September 16, DEC’s Ray Brook Expedition Service notified Lt. Hoag of a pair of Fort Drum mountaineers in need of assistance at Inman Gulf in Tug Hill State Forest. Ranger Thomes responded to the scene where he met NYSP and a Lewis County Sheriff’s Deputy. The climbers were looking for a nearby waterfall and found themselves stranded, about 180 feet deep in the gulf of the shale substrate. Rangers Hanno, McCartney and Candee also responded to the scene and set up a technical rope rescue system to lower a Ranger towards the climbers. The climbers were individually raised to the top of the gulf using the rope system. Lewis County 911, NYSP, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Search and Rescue, and Martinsburg and Copenhagen Fire Departments assisted in this rescue. Resources were off the scene at 2:20 a.m.

Town of North Elba, County of Essex

Wilderness rescue: At 2 a.m. on September 17, DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from a hiker asking for help in locating and helping his partner out of the woods. The caller, who walked past the group from Illinois for cell coverage, reported the subject was dehydrated, was in cramps and could not continue. The appellant believed the group was near Marcy Dam. Ranger O’Connor located the hiker, provided an assessment, and helped her return to the trailhead at 4.30am.

Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County

Wilderness rescue: On September 18 at 10:15 a.m., Hamilton County 911 contacted Ray Brook Dispatch of DEC to report that a 34 year old hiker from Baldwinsville had injured his knee on the Castle Rock Trail in the Blue Mountain Wilderness Forest Lake. Rangers Lomnitzer and Milano reached subject at 11:12 am and helped him get back to the trailhead. At 11:30 a.m. he announced that he would see a doctor himself.

City of Naples, County of Ontario

Wilderness rescue: At 4:30 p.m. on September 18, Ranger Dormer received a call from ECO Crain reporting a 47-year-old hiker from Florida with a leg injury in the High Tor Wildlife Management Area. The hiker twisted her ankle as she walked down steep terrain at Conklin-Parish Gully. Ranger Dormer responded and, with help from local agencies, wrapped the hiker’s ankle and helped her out. She refused further medical treatment and the responders were clear at 6:30 p.m.

City of Fort Ann, Washington County

Wilderness research: On September 18 at 6:30 p.m., Washington County 911 informed DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch that a hiker was lost on Buck Mountain in the wild forest of Lake George. Wynantskill hiker lost the trail near the summit in a thunderstorm. After calling 911, the hiker used an app to help him navigate the trail. Without a flashlight and a cell phone battery, he waited for help. Ranger Donegan located the lost hiker at 8:15 p.m. and gave him water and a light. They made their way to the trailhead and were clear by 9pm.

Town of Steuben, County of Oneida

Protection of State lands: On September 18 at 10:30 p.m., Ranger McCartney located a juvenile drinking party in a popular scenic vantage point of Penn Mountain State Forest. There were about 20 people and a big fire in the parking lot. Ranger McCartney issued three tickets, extinguished the fire and dispersed the group at 11:44 p.m.

Town of Bolton, County Warren

Wilderness rescue: At 5:22 p.m. on September 19, Warren County 911 contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch to report two lost hikers on Tongue Mountain in the wild forest of Lake George. The hikers had no food or water and had walked to the shore of Lake George. Ranger Donegan responded by boat from Green Island and returned the couple to the boat launch. From there they were given a courtesy walk to the trailhead. Resources were clear at 8:10 p.m.

City of Providence, County of Saratoga

Wilderness research: At 9:24 p.m. on September 19, Saratoga County 911 contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch to report a hiker lost in the woods on the county trail system. Ranger Nally responded with sheriff’s deputies and located the hikers in a swampy area. The couple were driven back to their vehicle at 11:30 p.m.

Town of Shandaken, County Ulster

Wilderness research: At 10:10 p.m. on September 19, Ulster County contacted DEC’s Central Dispatch to report a late 69-year-old hiker from Pine Plains on Wittenberg Mountain in the Slide Wilderness Area. Rangers Martin and Franceschina responded with State Police, Shandaken Police, Ulster Emergency Management, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Phenicia FD and Shandaken Ambulance. The missing hiker was last seen by his family at the intersection of the Wittenberg and Terrace Mountain trails. Ranger Russell located the hiker, unharmed, about a mile from the trailhead. The hiker said he took the trail all the way to Terrace Mountain and after realizing his mistake returned to the red trail to rest from the fatigue. Ranger Martin helped him out of the woods and resources were cleared at 1:40 a.m.


Make sure you prepare well and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit the Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information web pages for more information.

If a person needs a ranger, whether for search and rescue, to report a forest fire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833- NYS-RANGERS (833-697-7264). If someone needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a ranger for information on a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for each ranger listed by region.


About Geraldine Higgins

Check Also

With over 900 courses to choose from, there’s something for everyone

Want to learn how to run your own business, take photos professionally, speak a new …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.