View Full Version : Hiker dies after winds blow dead tree onto him in southwest Frederick County, MD

03-15-2015, 22:46
Watch out for deadfall when the winds are high.... My condolences to his family.


Hiker dies after winds blow dead tree onto him in southwest Frederick County, MD

WEVERTON A hiker on the Appalachian Trail died Sunday morning after winds blew a dead tree onto the man, who was near a trail shelter in southwest Frederick County, Md., a National Park Service park ranger said.

The identity of the man was being withheld until his family could be notified, but Park Ranger Sean Isham said the man was not from Maryland.

The man was standing outside the Ed Garvey shelter when the wind blew a tree onto him, Isham said. The tree, which became dislodged from its root ball, did not hit the shelter, he said.

Other hikers reported the incident by calling 911 via cellphone around 9 a.m. Sunday, according to Isham and Frederick County Emergency Services.

Isham said that part of the trail is difficult to access.

The Ed Garvey Shelter is about a 4-mile hike south of Gathland State Park's parking lot, and is between the park and Weverton, said Susie Nicol, an EMT with Brunswick Volunteer Fire Co.

The trail weaves along the Washington County/Frederick County line. The incident on the trail occurred within Brunswick fire's response area, though firefighters and rescue crews from Frederick County and Rohrersville in Washington County responded to the call, emergency services officials said.

Isham said whenever there are high winds, like on Sunday, hikers need to be aware of standing dead trees in their area.

The National Weather Service had a wind advisory in effect for Washington County from about 8:20 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, but did not have a wind advisory in effect for Frederick County, Md., meteorologist Heather Sheffield said.

Source Article (http://m.heraldmailmedia.com/news/breaking/hiker-dies-after-winds-blow-dead-tree-onto-him-in/article_32bf0346-cb4f-11e4-9ac5-73e3d651d2de.html?mode=jqm)

03-15-2015, 23:41
Watch out for deadfall when the winds are high.... My condolences to his family.

Good lesson, here, except I'd say to ALWAYS look for dead trees or "widowmakers" (hanging broken branchs/trees) before setting up camp. I was at a tentsite in NH once where almost every site had a couple of dead birches hanging over them. I think there were two safe sites there. Doesn't take much wind at all to dislodge something that could fall on your tent.

Feral Bill
03-16-2015, 00:18
Looks like plain bad luck. Sobering.

03-16-2015, 11:04
I feel sorry for the family for their sudden loss. I wish them the best as they work through this tragedy in their life.

I once watched a tree fall a few hundred feet away from my campsite when just a light breeze hit it. You never camp where a dead tree can fall, even if its a shelter. I've been in areas where every tree was dead (remains of a forest fire) and had to hike an extra 4 miles to get out of it before I could camp. You do what you have to do to stay safe. What really sucks about this is that he was merely standing there when it happened.

O-H-10 Lil Ohio
03-16-2015, 16:27
So Sad, I have been leary of staying under trees at campsites since I went to hike the hundred mile wilderness last year. My hiking partner John for Bar Harbor asked me to wake him up if I got up first in the morning ,which I did, I woke up at 6 10 in the morning ,climbed out of my tent and walked over to John's while it was raining to wake him up. Just then a 12-foot branch fell on my tent ,it was around a foot in diameter, it landed right where my head was in the tent . We both knew that moment I was one lucky guy. I will not let that event deter me from hiking just makes me look harder for a safer place to sleep.

03-16-2015, 17:15
Definitely sad, sometimes its the wrong place at the wrong time.

I almost got severely clocked once on Snowbird mountain. It was May, no wind just hiking along and a large dead branch dropped down out of the canopy. It came down and the heavy end hit the ground first and then the upper section gave me a pretty good glancing blow, luckily I had a mountain smith pack with aluminum stays and a large top pocket that took the worst of it. I was sore but kept going. If the butt hadn't have hit first, I would have been knocked out at the least.

A few years later I remember tenting at a new campsite with dispersed tent pads just north of the CT/Mass line. It was in big stand of oaks that obviously had been munched on by gypsy months a few years earlier, about 1/3 of the crowns were dead and there wasn't one tent ring in the clear. It was just pitch a tent and hope it didn't get windy that night.

Lone Wolf
03-16-2015, 17:58

03-16-2015, 23:20
Some further details here: http://www.wboc.com/story/28534702/philly-musician-killed-on-appalachian-trail-loved-hiking