I received an e-mail last night from and then followed it up with an interesting phone call with my friend Pat. Pat’s brother Dave spent an unplanned evening somewhere along the Abol Trail last night. Three people went up for a day hike and Dave and his friend never made it down until the next morning. Dave didn’t have a flashlight in his day pack. Direct quote = ” No flash light , nope , don’t need one of those foolish things !”
Dave’s cell phone died after making a bunch of call from Baxter Peak, so he was unable to call out later, when he need to.
I heard they were going up , and had advised Pat to tell Dave not to descend on the Abol, but to take the Hunt Trail ( AT) down instead. The Abol is still wet, and a park ranger confirmed this when he told Dave, “You go down the Abol trail, you’ve got bragging rights!”
Pat’s friend, who accompanied the two, did bring her flashlight, and used it to get off the mountain , but she spent an long, lonely , unsettled night waiting for them in the car in the day parking lot. Dave and his buddy spent an even more unsettling night after Dave managed to start a fire with some toilet paper he had with him. The night was exceedingly dark, so Dave was forced to crawl on the ground and feel around for some twigs and branches in order to fuel the fire. They basically stood around the fire all night waiting for the day to bring light. Thankfully, it was a relatively warm night, and there were no mosquitoes to devour them, nor rain to bring on hypothermia.
The member of the trio who successfully made it down with the aid of her flashlight was a former resident of Colorado, where she had previously summited 14,000 footers and was shocked at how difficult it was to climb the 5,267 foot Mt. Katahdin. She told Pat, “O, my god! I had no idea. It was much worse than anything I had done, even in Colorado!”
The State of Maine has some guidance to avoid such blunders. From BAXTER STATE PARK RULES AND REGULATIONS 2006: : “Hikers must wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and must carry a working flashlight… The Baxter State Park Authority may request reimbursement of search and rescue costs in cases of reckless hikers”.
Good thing that Dave and his friend made it down unassisted. Could have been expensive, as well as embarrassing.