Camden firefighters escort hiker down dark trail

Mon, 11/12/2012 - 10:30am

    CAMDEN — A hiker enjoying a Sunday afternoon walk in the woods got caught by the quickly darkening sky, and without a flashlight and unsure of the right path to follow, he sat down to dial for help on his cellphone.

    That appeal was answered quickly at approximately 6:45 p.m. by Camden firefighters and Camden First Aid, members of which gathered at the bottom of the mountain to stage a potential outdoor rescue.

    The hiker, who was not identified, had been walking down the Round the Mountain Trail, a path that winds along the slopes of Ragged and Bald mountains in Camden and Rockport. According to Camden firefighter Cheyne Hansen, the man, who is in his 20s and was alone, was adequately dressed for fall weather and was walking on the Coastal Mountains Land Trust portion of the trail.

    "He was well-equipped to be hiking, but it got dark and he did not have a flashlight," said Hansen.

    The sun set at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 11, and the man was descending the side of the mountain that faces eastward. He called 911, which routes to Knox Regional Communications Center in Rockland. There, a dispatcher instructed the man to stop walking and wait for help to arrive. Because the man's cellphone batteries were running low, he was told to be in communication with RCC every 15 minutes until firefighters found him.

    Hansen and Camden firefighter Scott Entwistle, meanwhile, started up the trail with lights and shouted for the man, eventually coming to where he was resting.

    They all returned to the parking lot without trouble, and the man was uninjured.

    Hansen advised hikers to charge cellphones before setting out on a hike and take a flashlight.

    "And make sure someone knows where you will be going," he said.

    Hansen said 10 firefighters responded to the call, as well as three responders from Camden First Aid Association.