It was one of those perfect days for a hike in New Hampshire.
“The hike up was gorgeous,” Boston resident Gary Cohen recalled.
The experienced hiker carries a First Aid kit and a GPS tracker for friends to keep tabs on his every move.
“I’ve never had a problem hiking,” he said. “I’ve never even twisted an ankle.”
But this time, he suddenly lost his footing while on the way down from the summit of Mount Monadnock on Thursday.
“I was maybe 15 minutes into my descent when I slipped,” he said.
Cohen had fallen about 20 feet and his head slammed into a rock.
“As we were coming down we heard some cries for help,” said hiker Maully Shah. “There was blood all over the rocks, he was bleeding from his head, and clearly in a lot of pain.”
Shah, a doctor from Philadelphia, was one of the several Good Samaritans who found him wedged between two rocks and tended to the 63-year-old until rescuers arrived.
“We took some t-shirts and made a makeshift rather flexible C-Spine collar and put it around his neck,” said Shah.
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It was clear Cohen wouldn’t be able to make it down on his own.
Rangers arrived with a stretcher, and mountain rescuers along with fellow hikers methodically brought Cohen down the steep and winding trail.
“These people were compassionate, they were humorful, no one made me feel embarrassed or guilty about falling,” said Cohen.
It took hours but eventually they brought Cohen to a landing where a helicopter could fly him to a hospital.
“This was teamwork at its best,” said Shah.
Cohen is grateful to the search and rescue team and all the volunteers who pitched in, especially to the doctor who took charge.
“Philadelphia and lots of families who go to that hospital are lucky to have her as a doctor,” Cohen said of Shah.
Cohen has several staples in his head and bruising across his body, but no broken bones. He says he’ll head right back to Monadnock once he makes a full recovery.