This story is exactly why I only like so much nature. I'll marvel at, it as long as I don't have to navigate it, sleep in it or worry about surviving it. A local Freehold family was recently stranded in the cold mountains of Maine until they were rescued by rangers.
The Latona family was visiting their son/brother, Conner at college when they decided to take a spring family mountain hike. After about a two-and-a-half hour ascent up to the 3,000 foot Tumbledown Mountain peak, the family stopped to enjoy the beautiful scenery and take a video. Eighteen year old Conner was having a great time with his parents and two older sisters, not knowing what was coming next.
The weather was brisk but not too cold and in the 50s when they started out. That forecast was deceiving because as they elevated they ran into snow and ice. This is when they decided to trail back down since they did not have proper snow gear to rely on. The family thought they would hike for two hours and be back on campus for a late lunch so they did not pack gear necessary for a nighttime temperature drop.
As they started hiking back, they felt leery of the signs. They did not seem right but the family trusted them and ultimately, they were directed the wrong way. They felt they needed to go right but the signs were saying to go left and they listened to the signs instead of their instincts. The marker led them in the wrong direction as the sun was going down. Thankfully, they had cell reception so they called 911 when they realized that they were lost and night was falling.
At this point the cold was setting in and they were not prepared for it. Feet were going numb and they family huddled to stay warm as they hoped to be rescued. Hours past and finally they heard their rescue team arriving.
The team brought extra clothes, food and brought them back to safety. The rangers said that it is not uncommon for folks to think they are taking a spring hike in the mountains and then they realize that nature still has winter on the brain and they are ill-equipped to deal with the weather up there. Hikers sometimes make the mistake of wearing breathable fabrics like cotton that don't provide insulation and that's where they can run into trouble.
The Latona family wanted to tell their story so others make sure to do their research before going on a hike. Different terrain requires different gear and what the weather is at sea level is not the same conditions you will experience up there. The family reported the incorrect trail sign to the parks department. We are glad they are back home safe and sound!
Thank you to CBS2 for the original report.
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