CO Jonathan Demler
May 15, 2023

Franconia, NH – At approximately 8:20 p.m. on May 13, 2023, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was notified of an injured hiker 1.1 miles up the Old Bridle Path in Franconia. Dennis Smith, 31, from St. Augustine, FL, was hiking with a companion when he suffered a lower-leg injury and could no longer continue to descend to finish the Falling Waters–Old Bridle Path Loop. Several Good Samaritan hikers stopped to assist Smith and ultimately aided in his carry-out rescue effort.

Rescuers reached Smith at 9:49 p.m. and loaded him into a litter to be carried down to the trailhead. The rescue party consisted of volunteers from the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, the Good Samaritan hikers, and Conservation Officers with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The rescue party reached the trailhead with Smith at midnight without any further incident. Smith and his companion were prepared for the hike and followed a realistic plan until the injury.

Conservation Officers would like to remind everyone planning to enjoy the outdoors this spring to think ahead and make safe decisions. The White Mountains are rugged and unforgiving. Plan ahead and understand the HikeSafe Code. Hiking safe is your responsibility. Please visit for more information.