True Crime

The Disappearance of Geraldine Largay

With peak hiking season just around the corner, many people seek the adventures of the outdoors. Maine is an excellent place for that, with an abundance of parks and trails, and it is the end and beginning of the daunting Appalachian Trail. 

  The Appalachian Trail is a trail that is approximately 2,190 miles, spanning 14 states; this journey often takes 5-7 months of hiking to complete and is never recommended for beginners. About six people a year go missing off this trail, and Appalachia is home to many haunting tales of cryptids {Cryptids are animals that cryptozoologists believe may exist somewhere in the wild but are not recognized by science. Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience that primarily looks at anecdotal stories and other claims rejected by the scientific community—examples of cryptids; Bigfoot, Mothman, and Loch Ness Monster}. Cases of missing people range from a 6-year-old boy who went missing in 1969 to a recent case in 2020 of a man named Eddie Noonkester, who was found dead. 

In July 2016, 66-year-old Geraldine Largay took on the challenge of hiking the trail from Tennessee to Maine. During her hike, Largay strayed away from the trail to relieve herself and promptly was not heard from in two years. At the time of her disappearance, their only evidence was a photo near a log lean-to whose three walls were covered by a corrugated tin roof and a fire pit nearby. Then, in the early morning, she went missing. 

An entry in her notebook dated August 6, 2016, two weeks after she went missing, states, “When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry” and then added, “It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me — no matter how many years from now.”

Largay veered off the trail to use the bathroom and got lost. She had planned to meet up with her husband at a designated spot later that day, but when she failed to show up, he reported her missing.

The following search and rescue effort was one of the most extensive. Hundreds of volunteers and professionals combed the area around the trail, searching for any sign of Largay. However, despite their efforts, she was only found two years later, in October 2015.

Largay’s remains were discovered in a tent about two miles off the Appalachian Trail, along with a journal in which she had recorded her thoughts and experiences during her final days. The journal revealed that Largay had survived for at least 26 days after getting lost but had ultimately died from exposure and lack of food and water.

The discovery of Largay’s remains and journal raised questions about the response of search and rescue teams and the safety of hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Some criticized the search effort, arguing that it needed to be more thorough or that rescuers had focused too much on the immediate area around the trail. Others pointed to the need for cell phone service and other communication tools on the Appalachian Trail, making it difficult for hikers to call for help in an emergency and getting lost but ultimately dying from exposure and lack of food and water.  

Largay’s case also highlighted the importance of safety measures for hikers on the Appalachian Trail and other long-distance trails. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy recommends that hikers carry a map, compass, other navigation tools, and enough food and water to sustain themselves in an emergency. They also recommend that hikers share their itinerary with someone back home and check in regularly to ensure their safety.


List of cryptids – Wikipedia. 

Sabin. (2021, November 30). How Many People Disappear In The Appalachian Mountains? SabinoCanyon. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from

Wcsh-Tv, Portland, & Maine. (2015, October 17). Remains of hiker, missing two years, found in Maine. USA Today. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from

Bidgood, J., & Pérez-peña, R. (2016, May 26). Geraldine Largay’s wrong turn: Death on the Appalachian Trail. The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from

Guardian News and Media. (2016, May 26). Hiker who went missing on appalachian trail survived 26 days before dying. The Guardian. Retrieved May 7, 2023, from

Categories: True Crime

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