The 26-year-old hikers were wearing cotton socks and sweatpants and didn't have snowshoes when they set out for Bigelow Mountain.
Clouds hover over Avery Peak on Jan. 2, 2023, as seen from a viewpoint atop Little Bigelow Mountain. Credit: Courtesy of Aislinn Sarnacki

Two hikers from Kennebec County were rescued last week after staying the night in freezing conditions on Bigelow Mountain in Franklin County.

The 26-year-old hikers set out on April 4 to the Horns Pond lean-to but did not have adequate equipment for the snowy conditions, according to the Sun Journal.

The hikers were wearing cotton socks and cotton sweatpants, which hold moisture, and did not have snowshoes despite there still being as much as 7 feet of snow at higher elevations. They hikers summoned help when they awoke to find their boots were frozen, according to the central Maine paper.

Game wardens and members of the Eustis Fire Department reached the hikers by snowmobile, provided them with snowshoes, and escorted them back to their vehicle on Route 27.

The hikers did not need medical attention.

Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said Thursday morning that wardens have encountered more unprepared hikers in recent years, an issue which peaked during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latti said wardens rescued a number of people in April and May of that year who traveled from southern Maine, where temperatures were warmer than in the western mountains that remained icy and snowy.

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Braeden Waddell

Braeden Waddell is a reporter covering Belfast and Waldo County. He grew up in Waldoboro and joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023 after working as an associate producer for National Public Radio. He graduated...