State police rescue Pennsylvania couple hiking on 'white rocks trail'
BENNINGTON >> On Wednesday, Dec. 3, at approximately 8 p.m., Vermont State Police received a call for assistance from a couple of stranded hikers who strayed off of the "white rocks trail" on Bald Mountain.
Andrew Wood, 41, of Pennsylvania, his wife Theresa Wood, and their dog, started their hike on the white rocks trail from the North Branch Street Extension in Bennington. The couple negligently veered off the trail on the top of the mountain, and traveled north. When they realized they could not find their way back, they called for assistance — several hours after dusk.
Global Positioning Satellite signal indicated they were roughly two miles east of Reservoir Road in Shaftsbury. State Trooper Tom Strange of the search and rescue team, joined trooper Chris Burnett in hiking west from Reservoir Road until the couple and their dog were located.
After joining police, the Woods hiked to the trailhead on Harbour Road in Woodford, and then brought to their vehicle. The total time of assistance spent by troopers and the Bennington Police Department was about nine hours.
Though all National Forest trails are open year-round and more popular trailheads are plowed, there are precautions winter hikers should take.
The National Forest Service's public affairs officer, Daniel McKinley, said that snowy conditions and shorter days can make a hike even more treacherous.
"In the winter, the trailhead can be hard to follow, so being aware of trail conditions is important," he said. "Always leave enough time to get to and from your destination during daylight hours, with maybe even a little buffer time."
McKinley said it is imperative that people be familiar with the trail if they choose to hike in winter, and plan their route accordingly.
Find the National Forest Service online at http://www.fs.fed.us/ for more information.
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