ANDOVER – An experienced Connecticut hiker who spent more than five hours lost in the backcountry woods of Andover on Wednesday was rescued Wednesday night by Maine wardens.

Betsy Walker, 21, of Preston, Conn., was safe when found at 7:30 p.m. less than a mile off the Grafton Loop Trail in Andover West Surplus, Warden Sgt. Rick Mills said by phone.

“She did the right thing; she called in and actually had enough gear with her so that she could have stuck it out for another three to four days,” Mills said. “She had no compass though and no GPS, but she tried to get back on the trail. If she had kept going, she would have ended up on what we call Stony Brook Road, which meets up with the East B Hill Road.”

Walker and her father, whose name Mills said he didn’t have, began hiking the Grafton Loop Trail’s east side on Monday, parking off Route 26 in Newry. They intended to hike four to five days, connect with the Appalachian Trail on Baldpate Mountain and hike west to Route 26 to a waiting car.

They camped on Puzzle Mountain on Monday, Long Mountain on Tuesday, and were headed for East Baldpate lean-to on the Appalachian Trail on Wednesday when Walker walked off the trail at about 2 p.m., Mills said.

“What I think happened was that the trail is painted in blue and the paper company and public lands got in there to harvest wood and marked the trees with the same blue paint. They may have marked the wood long before the trail was put in,” Mills said.

Walker, who was ahead of her father, veered off the trail while her father continued on to the lean-to, then called her on his cell phone when she wasn’t there, Mills said.

That’s when she told him she was lost and had already contacted the warden service and state police. Using cell phone triangulation completed by state police dispatchers in Gray, two wardens went into the woods and found Walker, Mills said.

Walker was expected to either stay in a motel or campground while her father spent the night in the lean-to, then the pair would hook up on Thursday.

Assisting Wardens Brock Clukey, Mills, Norm Lewis and safety officer Mike Sawyer were Newry firefighters, fire Chief Gary Wight and Mark Wight, who printed maps of the loop trail for wardens.


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