Lt. James Kneeland
December 27, 2022
Franconia, NH – Just after 9:00 p.m. on December 24, 2022, NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers were notified of an overdue hiker who had been hiking the 8.6-mile Bridle Path/Falling Waters Loop. The 28-year-old lone male hiker had departed at around 11:00 a.m. A family member in China had tracked the progress of the hiker throughout the day, and at 6:15 p.m., the family member reported that the hiker’s phone was going dead and it appeared as though the hiker was off trail south of Mount Lincoln.
The hiker was described by family as inexperienced and it was unknown what he was carrying for equipment. With temperatures near 0°F, a search for the hiker commenced. By 2:00 a.m. on December 25, a team of Conservation Officers had reached Franconia Ridge. Shortly afterward, the team located what they believed to be the tracks of the hiker. The tracks continued off trail and ended up in a drainage that flows from between Little Haystack Mountain and Mount Lincoln. At 6:45 a.m., Conservation Officers located the body of the missing hiker about a half a mile from the Falling Waters Trail in Franconia. Rescuers arrived back at the trailhead at 2:30 p.m.
The hiker was later identified as 28-year-old Guopeng “Tony” Li currently of Salem, New Hampshire. Guopeng Li is originally from Hebei Province China.
Conservation Officers would like to remind outdoor enthusiasts that winter conditions have arrived in New Hampshire and that they should prepare accordingly for these conditions. Hikers are asked to adhere to the Hiker Responsibility Code. To see the Code and a list of recommended equipment visit hikeSafe.com. All people who enjoy the outdoors should consider the purchase of a Hike Safe card. Funds generated from the Hike Safe card go directly to funding the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s search and rescue responsibility. Cards can be purchased at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/safe/index.html.