Mashpee Board of Selectmen chairman Wayne E. Taylor is a firm believer in “trail magic” after receiving aid from fellow hikers when he became ill on Mount Washington in New Hampshire’s White Mountains on Sunday, July 20.
Mr. Taylor was participating in the hike as a part of the Seek the Peak fundraiser for the Mount Washington Observatory when, at about 5,590 feet, two miles from the summit, he began to feel dizzy and woozy.
Without cellphone service, Mr. Taylor and his companions could not call for help. However, a nurse practitioner and two EMTs from other hiking groups crossed their path at the right time and offered assistance.
“I was very fortunate,” Mr. Taylor said. “If those people weren’t there, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me.”
One member of the group climbed to the summit to alert staff while the others stayed with Mr. Taylor. He began to feel better after his companions shared their food and water with him, but dehydration and leg cramps prevented him from continuing on the hike.
After a three-hour period, one of the EMTs assisted the selectman on a one-mile mile descent to Mount Washington Auto Road. From there, a New Hampshire Fish and Game Department staff member drove him the rest of the way down the mountain. An ambulance crew checked his health, Mr. Taylor said, and he declined further treatment. He even felt well enough to attend an after-party dinner for the fundraiser with his hiking companions.
Although he wishes that he was able to complete the hike for those who donated to his fundraising effort, Mr. Taylor said that the experience made him grateful for the people in his life, including the strangers who helped him that day.
“It gets me emotional because you think about how many people who are in your life when something like that happens, and how many people care about you,” he said.
He added that he would like to try the hike again, but next time he will prepare better by eating and drinking properly before the ascent.