Forest Rangers respond to distressed hiker

SARANAC LAKE - An 18-year-old Saranac Lake man received assistance from a pair of forest rangers April 14 after dispatchers got word of a distressed hiker on St. Regis Mountain in the town of Brighton.

Murphy Stringer was hiking with a group of friends when he began suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and hypothermia. Members of the Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department and two state Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers hiked to the mountain's summit and provided aid to Stringer.

DEC spokesman Dave Winchell said Stringer was provided with warm clothes, warm food and gelatin.

Once Stringer felt good enough to begin descending the mountain, forest rangers and fire department personnel assisted him and moved slowly down to the trailhead. The group met the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Squad at 9:20 p.m., at which point Stringer was transported to Adirondack Medical Center for evaluation.

Winchell advised hikers to take extra precautions when hiking in spring conditions. With temperatures creeping into the 50s and 60s during the day, hikers should keep in mind the higher elevations are still cold, and the temperature drops dramatically when the sun begins to set.

"We still have snow and ice at some of the higher elevations," Winchell said. "So we always remind people to dress properly with non-cotton clothing, dress in layers, carry water, food and extra clothing, and a flashlight or headlamp just in case they get stuck on the mountain or get down a little late."

According to AMC spokesman Joe Riccio, Stringer received treatment from hospital staff and was released the evening of April 14.

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