Appalachian Trail Hiker: Lost & Found

Winter in New Jersey's portion of the Appalachian Trail ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Winter in New Jersey's portion of the Appalachian Trail ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

We have bad news and we have good news.

First for the bad news.

A 39-year-old woman from Warren County, NJ, called authorities around 5:30 PM from her cell phone on Sunday, December 29, 2013, to say she had gotten lost while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said the hiker thought she was in Worthington State Forest, east of Delaware Water Gap on the border with Pennsylvania.

Now, the good news!

Park Ranger Michelle Schonzeit, a search and rescue coordinator for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, said the woman was found just after 8:30 this morning in the Buttermilk Falls section of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, when she hiked to a nearby road.

The unnamed hiker -- who was hiking alone -- became disoriented after taking a variety of trails, without a map. She was, however, well prepared otherwise, with warm clothing, water, food and fire-starting gear.

Kudos to the Search Teams

We are grateful for the valiant efforts of those involved in the search:

  • The New Jersey State Police
  • New Jersey State Park Police
  • National Park Service
  • Delaware Water Gap Search and Rescue Team and
  • New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

If you were lost in the woods on what was described as a "cold, miserable evening," would you survive?

This hiker, hopefully, learned to carry:

  • a map
  • a fully charged cell phone
  • warm clothes
  • extra food & water
  • gear to start a fire
  • a large garbage bag for emergency shelter
  • a whistle to help searchers find her
  • a flashlight and
  • enough hope or prayers to refrain from panicking.

If you hike, hike prepared. Let others know where you're going and when you expect to return.

We don't want to write your obituary.

Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, and News

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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