NORTH ANDOVER — The odds have got to be one in many millions.
William Giguere lost his wedding ring while hiking on Mount Hancock in New Hampshire on Nov. 21. A mere two days later, Thomas Gately of Framingham, who learned of Giguere's plight on Facebook, found the ring using a metal detector near the summit of the mountain.
Gately also had luck on his side, according to Giguere, who moved to North Andover only a few months ago. He found the ring, which was covered by snow, only a few seconds after he turned on his detector, according to Giguere.
"I had the day off," on Nov. 21, Giguere said. So he went hiking in New Hampshire.
His "bucket list," he explained, includes climbing all 48 Granite State mountains that are more than 4,000 feet high.
Giguere, a software engineer, has already ascended 14 of the 48 peaks. At 4,420 feet, Hancock is No. 21 on the NH48 list. The place of honor, of course, belongs to iconic Mount Washington, with an elevation of 6,288 feet and some of the highest recorded wind speeds on the planet.
Giguere decided to hike the Hancock Loop Trail, which is 10 miles and actually takes in two mountains.
"I had a great hike," Giguere said. When he returned to his car and took off his gloves, however, he discovered his wedding ring was missing.
"My heart sank," he said. He and his wife, Katie, celebrated their three-year anniversary in August.
Social media saved the day for Katie and Bill Giguere. He and other hikers communicate with each other on a Facebook page.
"I knew it was a long shot," he said, but he put a message on the page telling hikers about his lost ring anyway.
"I got some supportive comments," he said.
Gately posted that he and his friend Brendan Cheever were planning to hike the Hancock Loop Trail the following Saturday, Nov. 3. When he asked for a location where the ring might have been lost, Giguere recalled he had changed his gloves near the summit.
Gately and Cheever hiked the trail and when they neared the top Gately turned on his detector.
Within a few seconds, click!
He found the ring.
"It was less than 10 seconds," Giguere said.
He found out about Gately's discovery through Facebook.
"I couldn't believe it,"he said. "I was so happy!"
Until Gately found the ring, Giguere thought his fortunes had taken a huge turn for the worse. While driving into Boston the day after his hike, another driver struck the rear end of his car. He wasn't hurt, but it was upsetting nevertheless.
"It's amazing," Katie said of the return of the ring.
The next time Giguere heads for the mountains for a hike, he said he will most likely leave the ring in a safe place.
Bill and Katie Giguere share their home on Glenwood Street with Ronnie, a Border collie-Labrador retriever mix. He loves hiking, according to his owners.
Katie, a nurse practitioner, loves running and hiking. Her husband, she said, has more passion about climbing the NH48.
While the Gigueres are new to North Andover, each has a family connection with the town. Bill's aunt, Laura Habacker, is athletics director for the schools. And Katie's sister, Sara Durkin, is the director of the North Andover High School chorus.