ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A Mount Desert Island resident who a park ranger described as “tough as nails” injured her ankle while hiking and then crawled for seven hours before being rescued by searchers Wednesday evening.
Ranger Richard Rechholtz said Thursday morning that the woman was hiking alone on Mansell Mountain on the western side of MDI around noon Wednesday when she fell and hurt her ankle. Rechholtz said the woman is 57 year old and lives in the Tremont village of Bass Harbor, but he declined to release her name.
The woman was on a rocky section of trail when she fell to the ground and hurt herself, he said. She was properly dressed for the weather and was wearing crampons over her hiking shoes for better traction, Rechholtz said. She had told her friends and family where she was going hiking and what time she expected to be back.
“She did things right,” Rechholtz said. “She’s tough.”
It was a friend who found the woman’s car, parked at the pump station at the southern end of Long Pond, at 5:30 p.m. and notified police that the woman was missing. Police patched her call through to the Acadia park rangers, who mobilized a search, according to Rechholtz.
Six members of the emergency response group Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue joined 11 Acadia park rangers to search the trails around Mansell Mountain. Because they knew the woman was familiar with the park’s trails, searchers did not think the hiker had been delayed and sidetracked by darkness, the ranger said.
After the searchers fanned out, they found the woman around 7:30 p.m. on Cold Brook Trail, about a mile from where she had injured herself but not far from her parked car, Rechholtz said. She was not hypothermic when she was rescued.
“What she ended up doing was crawling,” he said. “She crawled for like seven hours. She couldn’t walk. She couldn’t put any weight on [her ankle].”
Rechholtz credited the MDI Search and Rescue group with helping to find the woman fairly quickly. If the woman had been higher up Mansell Mountain, it likely would have taken much longer to carry her out, he said.
“We were lucky,” Rechholtz said. “If we don’t have the people to pull off a rescue, it ain’t going to happen.”
Rescuers carried the woman out to her car in a litter and, by about 8:15 p.m., had loaded her into a Southwest Harbor-Tremont ambulance to be taken to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, the ranger said. He said Thursday morning that he did not know whether she was still at the hospital or had been released.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.