Conservation Officer Lt. James Kneeland
August 15, 2022
Lincoln, NH – On Friday August 12, 2022 shortly before 8:30 a.m., rescuers responded to a NH 911 report of an injured hiker on the Falling Waters Trail in the area of Cloudland Falls, 1.4 miles from the trailhead. The report was that a 24-year-old male had suffered a fifty-foot sliding fall from the top of Cloudland Falls to the rocks at the base of the falls. During the fall, the hiker suffered a significant lower leg injury that would prevent him from hiking out without assistance. Shortly after the fall, Good Samaritan hikers with medical training happened upon the scene and provided care until the arrival of rescuers. Conservation Officers and volunteers from the Pemi Valley Search and Rescue Team arrived on scene by 9:45 a.m., and a carry out to the trailhead commenced. At 11:05 a.m., the rescue party arrived at the trailhead and LinWood Ambulance transported the injured hiker to Littleton Regional Hospital for treatment.
The injured hiker was identified as Porter McManus of Durham, New Hampshire. McManus had planned a day hike of the Falling Waters/Bridle Path Loop and was well prepared for his hike with equipment. While at the top of Cloudland Falls, McManus attempted a photograph of the scenic falls when he slipped on a wet rock and fell to the bottom. It is remarkable that he did not suffer a more significant injury.
At 1:35 p.m., another report of an injured hiker was received through NH 911 to NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers. A 24-year-old female had suffered a lower-leg injury in a fall while at Kinsman Pond Shelter in Lincoln. Kinsman Pond Shelter is a remote shelter approximately 3.6 miles from the nearest trailhead over rugged trails. A call was placed to the NH Army National Guard to determine if a helicopter lift from the shelter would be feasible in order to save a lengthy carryout of the injured hiker. By 2:45 p.m., a flight crew had been assembled and was en route to the area. Luckily the cloud cover stayed at about 4,000 feet in elevation and by 3:20 p.m. a medic had been lowered to assess the situation. At 4:00 p.m. the medic, injured hiker, and hiking companion were hoisted into the Blackhawk helicopter and shortly thereafter arrived at Cannon Mountain Ski Area parking lot. The injured hiker was transferred from the Blackhawk to a waiting ambulance from Littleton Fire Rescue, which transported the injured hiker to Littleton Regional Hospital for treatment of her injury.
The injured hiker was identified as Alexis Belling of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Belling and two companions had hiked to the Kinsman Pond Shelter with the intention of spending the night and then returning to their vehicle the following day. As they were setting up their tent, Belling slid on wet rock causing an injury to her lower leg. The injury prevented her from bearing weight or continuing without assistance. The hiking party was well prepared for a multi-day hike.
Due to periods of rain and high humidity, trails in New Hampshire’s White Mountains are slippery, so proper footwear is a necessity. For safe hiking tips and a list of essential gear, visit hikesafe.com. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to purchase a Hike Safe card at wildnh.com/safe. The card helps support Fish and Game search and rescue activities.