Camden firefighters help another lost hiker in Camden Hills State Park


CAMDEN – Camden Firefighters, Coast Mountain Search and Rescue volunteers and a Northeastern Mobile Health Services team were back at work on Monday evening, searching for a hiker who had called the 911 after sunset and got lost in Camden Hills State Park. .

This is the second time in just over a week that Camden Fire Dept. The two hikers were alone and did not know the area. (See Firefighters, Mountain Rescue Volunteers locate, escort lost hiker on Dark Trail in Camden Hills State Park)

According to Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley, the Oct. 18 hiker, in his twenties, left around 3 p.m. after parking his car at the start of the Carriage Trail on Mountain Street (Route 52), and began to climb a trail to the top of Megunticook. It was on the way down that she got into trouble.

From Hampden, the hiker had recently moved to Maine and was eager to explore the hiking trails. It was fitted with water and unlike the situation of the previous hiker who had asked for help on October 10, this time the hiker ‘s phone was properly charged.

This proved to be much more vital for the eventual rescue of the lost hiker on October 18.

It started at the same spot, Carriage Trail, off Mountain Street, around 3pm, and after reaching the top, began its descent. But when she reached the first fork in the trail, she took a right onto the Jack Williams trail, instead of taking the second right.

This sent her on the way to Maiden’s Cliff, further west along the mountain, and away from her car parked below.

As dusk set in, the nearly full moon had not yet risen and the hiker was disoriented. Just after 6 p.m., she called the Knox Regional Communications Center in Rockland. There, dispatchers advised him to stay put, called the Camden Fire Department and began locating the hiker via his cell phone.

“She had 71% battery life,” said Chief Farley, “so she was able to do two things: locate herself on a map app and a compass app.”

The hiker began communicating directly with Farley, as 18 firefighters and Coast Mountain search and rescue volunteers gathered on Route 52.

Using her mapping app, the woman took a screenshot of her general location and texted it to Farley.

She then used her compass map, which showed her latitude and longitude, took a screenshot of it and sent it to Farley as well.

The moon began to appear over the mountain, as it stayed in its place, nearly three-quarters of the way to Maiden’s Cliff, near one of the blue markers painted on the trees to help hikers to stay on established trails.

Two teams of two firefighters: Jake Stukenberg, and Wade Smith, and Dylan Cautela and Brandon Graffam, set off on the trails around 6:30 p.m., and finally, it was Stukenberg and Smith who found the hiker and escorted her to the Maiden’s Cliff Trail to exit, also on Route 52.

“She was scared,” Farley said. “She didn’t know the trails and the signage at intersections could definitely be improved. It was cold and we were chatting with her most of the time.

He said Camden Hills State Park management is committed to improving trail signage for next season. (See attached PDF for the park trail map)

Farley stayed on the phone with her as the night set in. Firefighters finally found her around 8 p.m. and accompanied her to the trailhead as she was assessed by an ambulance team from North East Mobile Health.

She then got into her car and drove home.

Contact Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at [email protected]; 207-706-6657

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