Adirondack Adventures: Rangers’ Heroic Efforts in Rescuing Injured Hikers

Mountain Rescue Training in the Cairngorms

The rugged terrain of the Adirondack Mountains, known for its breathtaking beauty and challenging trails, can sometimes test even the most experienced hikers. In the week of September 10-17, 2023, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) forest rangers demonstrated their unwavering commitment to safety and rescue, responding to a series of incidents that unfolded in this picturesque wilderness.

A Night to Remember on Hamlin Mountain


On the evening of September 12, two hikers embarked on a descent from the 2,100-foot summit of Hamlin Mountain, deep within the Adirondacks. However, as darkness descended upon them, they found themselves disoriented and off the beaten path. The situation took a grim turn when a 70-year-old man from Olivebridge took a terrifying fall, sliding a harrowing 30 feet down a rocky slope and tragically colliding with one of the unyielding boulders.

rocks on stream
Photo by Adrien Olichon on

Fortunately, their call for help reached the ears of the dedicated DEC forest rangers, who sprang into action. Around 11:00 p.m., three rangers arrived on the scene, carrying with them not only medical expertise but also the reassuring glow of headlamps. They promptly attended to the injured hiker, staunching the bleeding from his face and providing essential medical care. As a beacon of hope in the inky darkness, they then guided the pair back to safety through the treacherous wilderness.

In a remarkable display of determination, the hikers managed to drive themselves to the hospital, their spirits undaunted by their harrowing ordeal.


A Week of Heroic Rescues

The incident on Hamlin Mountain was just one of several rescue missions undertaken by DEC forest rangers during this eventful week.


On another occasion, a 67-year-old hiker from Gloversville suffered a hip injury while ascending Snowy Mountain. Swift action by the rangers, who provided treatment and loaded her onto a wheeled litter, ensured that she received the care she needed promptly.


In a different incident, a 32-year-old hiker from New Jersey, with a history of seizures, faced a frightening moment when he fell and became unresponsive while hiking the Cascade Trail in the Adirondacks. A dedicated ranger arrived on the scene and, in a true display of professionalism, assisted the hiker until he had recovered sufficiently to make his way back to the trailhead.

A young hiker’s adventure took a painful turn when, on the afternoon of September 14, a 17-year-old fell while ascending Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, resulting in a broken collarbone and a fractured arm. Local fire and EMS personnel joined forces with the rangers to provide crucial care, ultimately transporting the resilient teen to an ambulance waiting at the trailhead.

Yet another incident occurred on September 15, when the same 67-year-old hiker from Gloversville faced another misfortune, this time injuring her hip while scaling Snowy Mountain. Two rangers teamed up with Indian Lake and Speculator Fire and EMS to stabilize her hip and transfer her onto a wheeled litter. The swift involvement of a Life Net helicopter ensured that she received rapid transportation to the hospital.

The DEC forest rangers’ unwavering dedication to saving lives was further evident when they rushed to the aid of a 41-year-old hiker from Pittsford, who had injured his knee while hiking the Northville Placid Trail. Within an hour, rangers had reached him and assisted him back to the trailhead, where he sought additional medical attention.


Safety and Conservation Efforts

In addition to their heroic rescue missions, the forest rangers were vigilant in enforcing safety regulations. On Mile Strip Road in the Tug Hill State Forest, two rangers conducted a stationary patrol, issuing ten tickets to ATV/UTV riders. This effort aimed to preserve the natural beauty of the region and ensure the safety of all who explore it. Mile Strip Road, part of the snowmobile trail system, is not open for ATV use.


In this remarkable week, the DEC forest rangers exhibited their commitment to preserving the Adirondacks’ natural splendor and ensuring the safety of all who venture into its breathtaking wilderness. Their heroic efforts continue to be a beacon of hope for adventurers and hikers across the region, reassuring us that even in the most challenging of circumstances, help is never too far away.

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