Missing boy and girl found safe in Grafton Notch
Two children who simply out-hiked their parents on the Bear River's Step Falls Trail early Tuesday afternoon scrambled state and local rescuers when their panicked parents called for help, Newry Fire Chief Bruce Pierce said.
Before Newry firefighters, Maine State Police troopers and wardens and a Med-Care Ambulance crew could arrive to begin looking for the missing children, the parents located 15-year-old Drew and 9-year-old Emily farther up the trail, Pierce said.
Pierce didn't get their last names, but said he believes they were from either Massachusetts or New Jersey.
“The father said they were hiking up Step Falls along the stream and Mom and Dad stopped, but the kids walked on ahead,” Pierce said.
The falls — a series of cascades with a total drop of 200 feet — are on Wight Brook, which drains the south-eastern slope of Baldpate Mountain. The falls, which were The Nature Conservancy's first preserve in Maine, are located in the southern end of the rugged Grafton Notch State Park.
After calling for the youths and not hearing them respond, the parents “got nervous” when they reached a point on the trail beyond which they didn't think their children had gone, but they had, Pierce said.
Because there is no cell phone service in the area, a third person drove to an area with coverage and alerted authorities.
With troopers and wardens already en route to 176 Bear River Road (Route 26), Newry firefighters and Med-Care were sent at 1:10 p.m. to help look for the children, who by then had been missing for about 90 minutes.
“Jason Powers and I went up there and we arrived at 1:25 p.m., and the folks had found their kids,” Pierce said. “When we got to the parking lot, they were there.”
Neither youth had a compass.
Pierce said he was glad they were found safe and uninjured.
"Those are the calls we like to get," he said.