Machias man found safe after 13 hours in woods

Posted April 11, 2009, at 4:50 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — An 80-year-old local man who got lost Friday while marking a trail on Porcupine Mountain was found safe early Saturday morning after game wardens launched a search.

Richard McLaughlin was “fit as a fiddle” when searchers found him near Libby Brook, according to Sgt. David Craven of the Maine Warden Service.

“He smelled like a wreath,” Craven said in a press release. “Other than that, he was cold but fine.”

McLaughlin left his home sometime before 11:30 a.m. with plans to mark a hiking trail, Craven said. McLaughlin, reached Sunday by telephone, said he got disoriented in the woods and couldn’t locate the trail he was marking. Instead, he heard the running water of Libby Brook and headed toward it.

“His plans were to stay put along Libby Brook overnight and then follow it to a roadway this morning,” Craven said.

McLaughlin made a shelter with fir boughs to protect him from the weather, and even stuffed boughs under his sweat shirt.

“It got kind of cold, so I hunkered down,” he said. “I knew someone would come eventually.”

Late Friday evening, Machias police got a call from McLaughlin’s brother, who noticed McLaughlin had not come home. The police called game wardens, who found the man’s car parked near the University of Maine at Machias, where the Porcupine Mountain trailhead is located.

A search-and-rescue team trekked through the woods for about three hours, calling McLaughlin’s name. At about 1 a.m., Craven said, wardens found him. He did not require any medical attention.

“It was a long day for just a walk in the woods,” McLaughlin joked on the phone Sunday. “That’s not something I do very often.”

According to the Maine Warden Service, those involved in the search included Wardens Joe McBrine, Wayde Carter and Paul Farrington; Leslie Howe and teams from the Maine Search and Rescue Dogs; and Richard Scribner and Andrea Ednie from UMM’s outdoor recreation program.

erussell@bangordailynews.net

990-8167

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