Two hikers set out to walk 15 miles on the Appalachian Trail and became trapped by deep snow and freezing temperatures.
The men from New York planned to hike a portion of the trail through Maine on Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said.
They started the hike at about 8 a.m., but ran into deep snow. They kept going, but only made it about halfway through the hike when it started to get dark, rescuers said.
Temperatures quickly dropped into single digits, and the hikers began looking for a place to get warm.
“They found shelter at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to, but did not have food, water or the proper equipment to spend the night,” rescuers said in a news release.
A lean-to is a covered, three-sided shelter.
The hikers decided to call 911 for help at about 5:45 p.m., nearly 10 hours after their hike began. Game wardens spoke to one of the men on the phone and told him to start a fire.
Three game wardens headed to the hiker’s location on Spaulding Mountain on snowmobiles. They then hiked in snowshoes an additional three-quarters of a mile to the summit of the mountain.
Again using snowshoes, the game wardens and hikers trudged back to the snowmobiles and went down the mountain. They arrived at the base at about 1 a.m.
Both hikers were uninjured.
“Poor planning, coupled with poor decisions, stranded these hikers in very dangerous conditions,” Game Warden Kyle Hladik said in a news release. “They were very fortunate we were able to get to them quickly.”
The Appalachian Trail stretches more than 2,180 miles through 14 states, according to the National Park Service.
Hiking the entire path usually takes five to seven months, and many people start their trips on the southern end of the trail in March or April, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.