Lieutenant Mark Ober
July 30, 2021
Thompson & Meserve’s Purchase, NH – An overdue hiker was located Thursday afternoon on the Sphinx Trail at approximately 4:00 p.m. by other hikers who had come upon her. Officials say that Nancy Bannon, 59, of New Gloucester, ME, had been forced to spend Wednesday night out after getting lost off trail between Six Husbands Trail and the Sphinx Trail.
Bannon was on a multiday hike with her son with plans to stay at the AMC hut system. On Wednesday morning after leaving the Madison Spring Hut, Bannon inadvertently took a wrong turn and ended up on the Buttress Trail instead of her intended route of the Gulfside Trail.
Thinking she was on the Gulfside Trail, Bannon maintained communications via cell phone with her son by telling him she was on the Gulfside Trail. However, her cell phone died during this time and communication was lost.
Her son spent a majority of the day attempting to find her on Gulfside Trail, not knowing she was actually on the Buttress Trail. It wasn’t until late in the evening that the AMC hut crew determined that Bannon most likely had taken the Buttress Trail. An AMC crew was sent out and searched into the night, locating Bannon’s cell phone on the trail, but were not able to locate Bannon.
The following morning a more thorough search was conducted by additional AMC staff, and volunteers from Androscoggin Valley Search & Rescue (AVSAR). Multiple trails were scoured in the Great Gulf Wilderness with no sign of Bannon. After the volunteer teams concluded their search assignments, Fish and Game Conservation Officers were beginning an evening search of off trail areas near the Buttress Trail when some hikers, who had been descending the Sphinx Trail, called in reporting they had located Bannon.
After getting lost, Bannon had spent most of the night and all day working through thick brush and vegetation off trail attempting to locate a hiking trail. She had finally reached a location on the Sphynx Trail where these hikers were able to see her. They provided her with water, and one of the hikers volunteered to stay with Bannon while the others hiked down the Great Gulf Trail until they were able to make a call for help. Bannon was tired, but otherwise uninjured and in good spirits.
Conservation Officers and Bannon’s son hiked into the Great Gulf and assisted her out to an awaiting ATV which took her out the last 1.5 miles. Bannon contained all the necessary gear recommended by the HikeSafe program, including lights, map, multiple layers, food, and water.
Without the assistance and selfless actions by the hikers who located Bannon and realized she needed help and stayed with her, there is a distinct possibility Bannon would have spent another cold night out exposed to the elements deep in the Great Gulf Wilderness.
No other information available at this time.