Monday, May 18, 2015

Daddy-Daughter Hike #4, NH Fire Tower Quest #2 - A Scary Experience on Warner Hill

I noticed on the NH Fire Tower Quest Program pamphlet, 1 of the 16 active fire towers in New Hampshire was in Derry on top of Warner Hill. I'm not familiar with the hill or the Derry area, but it isn't a far drive from our house so I thought it might be a good one for Lylah and I  to check off quickly. I couldn't find much info on the tower or if there was actually a hike or not, so we decided to wing it. 

I found the inlet to the hill which was simply an old access road that climbed steeply up the hill. I backed the truck up to a gated portion near the top. I noticed immediately that the area was rather sketchy, but decided to see if we could find the tower anyway. We continued the rest of the way up the hill and saw the fire tower and radio tower off to the left once the hill plateaued. There was also a lot of garbage everywhere and I noticed the surroundings of the tower hadn't been maintained well (high grass, brush, etc.) even though the site was considered active. 

We started climbing the tower which seemed structurally sound. We got to third platform up when something went terribly wrong. Out of no where, we were swarmed by aggressive wasps that came at us from under the stairs. My three year old daughter got stung 4 times and I got stung 2 times. In an absolute panic, I tried to swat them away and get her down the tower. In doing so, we both fell down a few flights and got pretty bruised up. Not knowing if she was allergic (being the first time she was stung), it was a very scary situation. I got her back to the truck and headed toward civilization as quickly as I could to ensure I could monitor her condition with as much safety as possible.

The next day (8-4-14), I called the NH Division of Forest and Lands to report the incident and ensure someone was going to go up there to take care of the wasp nest that swarmed us so that no one else, especially children, would get hurt or worse. The person that took my call guaranteed me that the message would go to the correct person and someone would call me back. I left my number, but no one ever called me back. To me, this situation was very serious. It was pretty traumatizing to my daughter, and probably one of the scariest moments I've had as a parent. The fact that the NH Division of Forest and Lands never even called me back to let me know the message got to the correct person was extremely disappointing to me and I felt demonstrated a lack of responsibility.

As a warning to all that may want to visit the Warner Hill Fire Tower in Derry, please note that it seems this tower is not well maintained or frequented by the maintainers. Be extremely careful when climbing the tower because when you get swarmed a few flights up, getting down is very difficult and the situation can become dangerous quickly, as it did for us.


1 comment:

  1. Crazy!!! As a parent to a 3 year old myself, I empathize with your fear! Glad everything turned out OK and hopefully it doesn't ruin your little girl's view of the outdoors