Game warden rescues lost hikers

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DUMMERSTON — Sally Stone, of Brattleboro, and her 12-year-old grandson became lost on the Black Mountain trail system in Dummerston late Sunday afternoon. Senior Game Warden Kelly Price was contacted for assistance in a joint rescue effort with Vermont State Police after they received a call from friends of Stone.

Stone, an avid hiker, and her grandson were hiking Black Mountain and a trail system that was new to them. The two climbed to the peak of the mountain and decided to take an alternate trail down, a trail she believed would loop back to the trailhead. After about an hour of hiking over several miles and beginning to ascend uphill again, Stone, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is now deaf from complications, became tired and disoriented. Seeking navigational guidance, Stone sent Facebook messages to friends who knew the trail system well, but she was unable to find her bearings. The concerned friends drove to the trailhead and honked their horn, which was not heard by the lost hikers.

Friends contacted Vermont State Police who then contacted local Game Warden Kelly Price. Price, with an extensive knowledge of the terrain, exchanged photos and text messages with Stone, using landmarks and global positioning system coordinates to find their approximate location. Knowing he was close, Price then blew his whistle, which was heard by the grandson. Price located the two and brought them back down the mountain safely where they were greeted by friends and neighbors.

"I credit Stone's right attitude, proper assessment of her situation and inclination to ask for help to the successful outcome of this extraction," Price said in a statement. "We want to remind folks to put away their pride and know when to seek assistance before their circumstances and our ability to rescue them becomes hindered due to reduced visibility and cold temperatures at night."

Vermont State Game Wardens encourage lost hikers to stay put, conserve your cell phone batteries (use them for seeking assistance if service is available) and most importantly, leave a travel plan and a return time with someone back at home.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department encourages the public to seek outdoor recreational opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis, but is reminding everyone to do so safely, which includes knowing your personal limitations, experience level, and being mindful of changing trail conditions and weather forecasts.

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