CO Jonathan Demler
February 22, 2022
Lincoln, NH – At 4:30 p.m. on February 20, the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department was notified of a hiker in distress on the Liberty Springs Trail in Lincoln. The hiker was not able to continue descending the trail and a companion called 911 for help. The hikers were only planning a day hike and did not have the necessary equipment to spend the night outdoors. Conservation Officers and volunteers with Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue responded to mount a rescue effort as darkness approached.
At 5:56 p.m., a Conservation Officer met the hiker, who was slowly hiking down, about one mile from the trailhead. The distressed hiker was identified as Aleeza Shaikh, 26, from Jersey City, NJ. A group of Good Samaritan hikers, also descending the trail, had come across Shaikh, who was laying in the trail at the time, and helped her to start moving again. Shaikh was able to hike the rest of the way down the trail with minor assistance, accompanied by a small rescue party. She reached the Liberty Springs parking lot without further incident at 7:00 p.m. Due to inaccurate planning and equipment of the hiker, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will be recommending that Shaikh be billed for this preventable rescue.
Hiking in the White Mountains can be extremely challenging and quickly become dangerous, even deadly, especially in winter conditions. People often underestimate the time required to complete a mountain hike in snowy and icy conditions. It is also easy to be deceived by trail distances, as hiking four miles on flat ground does not require nearly as much energy as hiking four miles in steep terrain. Conservation Officers would like remind everyone to plan for a safe hike and allow plenty of time. Always bring dedicated lights, even on a day hike. For more information on safe hiking, visit http://www.hikesafe.com/.