Just a few miles more: N.Y. thru-hiker drowns in Maine pond within days of Katahdin

Paul Anthony "Parkside" Bernhardt, 20, of Flushing, New York, in this undated photo.

Paul Anthony “Parkside” Bernhardt, 20, of Flushing, New York, in this undated photo.

It had been a long push Friday, June 15, 2012, and Jake “Achilles” Mehlman and Paul “Parkside” Bernhardt needed to cool off. The two intrepid thru-hikers, who had ventured from the deep south, had pushed 20 miles likely from the West Carry Pond Lean-to until arriving at Pierce Pond before dusk.

So the two decided to use the pond for a quick, much-deserved dip. But as Bernhardt swam farther from shore, he vanished beneath the pond’s surface and never rose, according to a Bangor Daily News report.

Maine Game Wardens, Pleasant Ridge Fire and Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance personnel worked over the weekend to recover the body of Paul Anthony Bernhardt, 20, of Flushing, New York. Bernhardt had drowned in 15 feet of water some 35 yards from the shore of Pierce Pond, the Bangor Daily News reported.

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