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Woman gets lost walking her dog — and spends night in New Hampshire park, officials say

A woman lost her way while walking her dog and spent the night in the New Hampshire wilderness, wildlife officials said.

The 52-year-old was last seen by her family at about 6 p.m. Oct. 22 in the area of Sherwood Forest Road in Weare, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in an Oct. 23 news release.

Her family reported her missing before 11:30 p.m. that day, and police started searching the “immediate area,” wildlife officials said.

Police dogs were also used to search the area for several hours, but no one could find her or her dog, officials said.

Police told wildlife officials about the missing woman at about 3 a.m. Oct. 23.

At about 5:30 a.m., wildlife officials began their search of the area, and an officer used an ATV to search the trails in Clough State Park. They found her on an off-road vehicle trail at about 5:55 a.m.

Clough State Park is next to Everett Lake, which is a 150-acre body of water that was created by a dam, according to New Hampshire State Parks.

The park has a 900-foot beach and is a popular spot for people to picnic or use a non-motorized boat in the water.

Pets are not allowed in this state park.

Weare is about 15 miles southwest of Concord.

What to do if you get lost while hiking

If you think you’re getting lost, experts say it’s best to stop where you are and not panic. You should go over how you got to that point and if you’re able to see any landmarks around.

“Do not move at all until you have a specific reason to take a step,” officials with the U.S. Forest Service said.

You should come up with a plan but stay put unless you are “very, very confident in the route.”

There are steps hikers can take to avoid getting lost and be better prepared for the unexpected:

  • Have more than enough food and water with you.

  • Take a compass that you know how to use, or have a GPS device on hand.

  • Don’t rely solely on your cell phone. It probably won’t work because of a lack of signal or a depleted battery.

  • Study the terrain and your route, and you should know how you’ll return.

  • Have the right clothing. Sturdy hiking boots and layers can help you be prepared for rapidly changing weather.

  • Pack a blanket, flashlight and matches.

  • Check with a local ranger for special warnings. They can tell you about “fires in the area, bear sightings, flooding, trail or road closures.”

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