CO Jonathan Demler
January 7, 2021
Waterville Valley, NH – On January 6 at approximately 5:30 p.m. the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department was notified regarding lost hikers on the Welch and Dickey Trial in Waterville Valley. Conservation Officers with the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department responded to assist the hikers, identified as Kelly Shunje, 29, of Manhattan, KS and Gladys Saruchera, 28, of West Haven, CT after determining that the pair would require a rescue effort. The hikers had departed the trailhead at 2:00 p.m. and were unprepared for the approaching darkness. They would not be able to safely overnight with the limited gear they had brought with them in the winter temperatures. The pair were also inexperienced winter hikers and believed that they were in a location where they might slide down a rock face and sustain serious injuries.
Conservation Officers reached the hikers just after 9:00 p.m. near the summit of Dickey Mountain and provided them with warm clothing, traction devices to wear over their boots, lights, and water. The hikers were able to descend the trail without further incident under their own power, and the rescue party reached the trailhead safely at 10:45 p.m. It will be recommended that the hikers be billed to recoup the cost of the rescue as they were not prepared for the conditions.
New Hampshire Fish & Game Department Conservation Officers would like to remind anyone enjoying the outdoors this winter to plan ahead and make safe decisions. Hiking in the White Mountains in the winter is far more dangerous than other times of the year. Hikers should carry the essential equipment and be prepared for the intended hike as well as other issues that may arise. Please visit www.hikesafe.com for more information on safe hiking and preparedness.