Lt. James Kneeland
Sgt. Heidi Murphy
June 28, 2021
Franconia, NH – On June 24, 2021, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Conservation Officers were notified by two hikers of an elderly female in need of assistance at the Falling Waters Trail in Franconia. The hikers had passed the woman earlier in the evening as they were ascending the trail and saw that she was struggling. They continued up the trail but quickly made the decision to turn around and ensure she was able to descend the mountain safely. A Conservation Officer arrived at the injured woman at approximately 2:30 a.m. on June 25, 2021.
The woman was identified as Dorothy Gaudet (age 80) from Londonderry, NH. Gaudet was hiking with her friend, Arlene Levesque (age 67) also of Londonderry. It was quickly determined that Gaudet would need additional assistance down the mountain due to possible dehydration and extreme fatigue. The Conservation Officer and two hikers were able to carry Gaudet to below Cloudland Waterfall located along the Falling Waters Trail making the carry out safer for other rescuers and Gaudet. Members of the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team and Conservation Officers met Gaudet at approximately 4:30 a.m. just below Cloudland Falls. Gaudet arrived back to the trailhead at approximately 6:00 a.m.
Gaudet and Levesque left their campsite to hike up Falling Waters trail at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of June 24, 2021. They did not make it to the summit of Little Haystack and decided to turn around at approximately 3:30 p.m. They had been hiking until the Good Samaritan hikers came along at 11:45 p.m. Though Gaudet and Levesque had the equipment they needed, it was apparent they had overestimated their hiking pace and stamina. It is another good reminder to adhere to the hiker responsibility code. Respect the messages and signals nature and your body send. If you stay safe, you can always come back another day. Information about the hiker code and HikeSafe can be found at www.hikesafe.com.