July 13, 2015

Little Bigelow Carry-Out July 8, 2015


Activated:  2 PM
Clear of the scene: 5:10 PM

FSAR was requested to respond by CVFD to assist in the rescue & evacuation of a male hiker in his 60s with a possible broken finger and a knee injury as a result of a fall on A.T on Little Bigelow Mtn.

When FSAR arrived, the patient had already begun the litter ride off the mountain. Due to the large amount of responding rescuers, we were able to switch-out littler handlers frequently. This contributed to lower rescuer fatigue and increased safety and also to a relatively quick evacuation. Assisting in the carry-out was: NorthStar Ambulance, New Portland FD, CVFD, MWS, MFS, and FSAR. In addition, the Chewonki School counselors and campers, who encountered the injured hiker soon after his fall, assisted by transporting the patient's dog back to the trailhead and then distributing waters to the rescuers on the trail.  

We used the FSAR 'wheel' to move the litter for the second half (more flat and smooth trail) of the carry-out and it worked beautifully. FSAR fielded a respectable 4 rescuers for the call.

Everyone made it back to the trailhead without injury.

Total litter carry was approximately 1.5 miles.


FSAR at Baxter SP July 3-7

FSAR At Baxter
July 3-5 2015

  • Jimmy July 3-5
  • Mit  July 3-5
  • John R. (July 3-7)

Mileage from KFD (1 way) 165
John drove all the way from central PA to do the Baxter gig!

We arrived at the Togue Pond Crew Cabin around 3 p.m. on Friday, moved in and oriented ourselves. SAR duty is a bit surreal in that most everyone is visiting the park to hike big mountains; SAR members love to hike big things but we cannot!  We are asked to hold back and be within 60 minutes of our vehicle in case there is a call and we are needed.

Over the weekend, we visited 4 campgrounds, Roaring Brook, Abol and Dacey Pond and Katahdin Stream.  We checked out the trail heads, chatted with the campground rangers, and talked with many park guests. We chatted with law enforcement rangers Rob, Mike W. and Stewart and the Togue gate personnel. We were always in the FSAR bright orange ‘uniform’ which got people’s attention!

We spent Saturday morning conducting some rope rescue evolutions at Little Niagra Falls in the south western part of the park. In this training we worked with rock pro (cams & nuts) to create anchors, did belay practice and did some rappelling with a few different types of hardware. We swapped over to a 3:1 mechanical advantage raise system. We stopped a number of times to talk with park guests and to explain why we were in the park. People were appreciative of our volunteer efforts.

Both evenings, John and Mit went canoeing, we all prepared some delicious communal meals, talked about RR gear, listened to some great mountaineering stories and did some knot training. One of us slept in a hammock, another in a backpacking tent under the pines next to the Pond and one slept in the bunkhouse. After a theft incident last year, we removed all of our gear from the tents in the morning and kept it locked up in the bunkhouse during the day.

Jimmy was always on (good humored) litter-garbage patrol and picked up a fair amount of trash wherever we went including a used diaper and a used Q-tip (ewww)!

We had beautiful sunny and partly cloudy weather. Daytime temps. were in the 70’s and nighttime temps we in the comfortable 50’s. We encountered a few light sprinkles on Sunday but not enough to knock down the road dust.

We were sent on a mission by the information center ranger who smelled smoke Sat. evening.  We toured the abutting day-use park at Togue Pond and found one family had build a (smoky) campfire in the BBQ pit to cook on. We had a nice chat with them and reported back that all was well.

We went on 4 separate short hikes to: Little Niagara Falls, Abol Falls, Katahdin Stream Falls and stone steps and to Sandy Stream Pond where we saw a larger-than-life (animatronic?) moose feeding in the water.

It has become clear to me that unless we are actively responding to a call in the park, the primary mission of SAR personnel is to be park ambassadors for the visitors. To answer questions, to talk about safety, hiking min. required equipment (flashlight, water, turn around time, good preparation) and be friendly and helpful.

Having driven all the way from PA where he is working this summer, John decided to stay 2 additional days in the crew cabin at Togue Pond. He continued SAR duty, carrying a radio all the time and doing some hiking.

Overall it was a great weekend! -Mit

FSAR radios charging in prep for weekend duty.

 Jimmy used the weekend to learn some new photography skills with his new camera. 

We ate well! 

 Evening paddle.

 Jimmy was awakened by a pair of amorous pileated woodpeckers. 

 Catching a glimpse of the Double Top from the Hunt Trail.

 3:1 and Little Niagera

 Jimmy conducts one of the most important roles we have, visitor relations which always included some safety talk. 

 One of BSP animatronic moose displays.

 Jimmy really got the hang of the long exposure flowing water shots. 

 3:1 with break prussik.

 Looking into North Basin from Sandy Stream Pond.

Little Niagera. 

Jimmy and John set rock pro.  


 There was always a good story being told by someone. 

 Double Top from Dacey bridge.

Dacey Pond with Katahdin.

July 4, 2015 Horns Pond Medical Assist/Evacuation

July 4, 2015
Horns Pond Medical Assist & Evacuation

Nature of the call: 49 y/o female with intestinal blockage, requested assistance for a carry out near the Horns Pond camping area of the Bigelow Range.

I.C. Action Plan: Hasty team to patient, call for Forest Service helicopter availability, gather responders.

FSAR Role:  FSAR was to be part of hasty team until cancelled.  FSAR direct contact with Warden Service and North Star along with various responders.

Complications? Franklin County S.O. had a hard time dispatching our team for the call out. The day shift dispatchers were not sure of the call out procedures.  Night shift dispatchers asked to be refreshed so there would be better communication on next event. Barry London was asked to make contact with FCSO.

What happened?  Command post was initiated by North Star to stage at Stratton Brook Pond trailhead. Warden Service and fire personnel responded to staging.  North Star stayed at rescue base with other responding units creating two staging areas.  Communication between staging areas were done by phone.

Patient eventually walked out under her own power and refused transport at the trailhead.

Horns Pond in front of the 'Horns' in the Bigelow range in the fall of 2011. 

From the Maine Appalachain Trail Club web site: Horns Pond is the MATC’s heaviest used site for overnight campers, attracting approximately 3,000 – 4,000 backpackers each season. Many youth groups flock to Horns Pond. This camp site can handle fifty people at a maximum, and has seen that many on the busiest weekends.