Outdoor World Remembers Geraldine Largay

EUSTIS, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Geraldine Largay went missing from the Appalachian Trail on July 22, 2013. Official do not know what happened to the 66 year old grandmother.

Largay was attempting to hike the northern thousand miles of the trail. She had a companion who left to deal with family matters in New Hampshire.

Largay was supported by her husband George who would meet her periodically along the trail. He expected to pick her up on Route 27 in Stratton. She never arrived.

Wardens believe she was last seen about halfway in between. She camped the first night on Poplar Ridge, but they don't believe she made it to the Spaulding Mountain.

There are many likely scenarios. Largay may have wandered off the trail and been immobilized or she may have suffered a medical event.

Less likely scenarios include being abducted or running off to start a new life.

"This is unprecedented," said Brian King of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

In Maine, about 28 hikers go missing on the trail each year according to numbers compiled by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Two percent, or about one every two years, are lost for more than two days.

Statistics about murders on the trail may be incomplete. The Conservancy believes there have been nine in seven instances over the past forty years.

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club measures "user days." A "user day" is a hiker who hikes on the trail for a day. Last year, there were 92,000 user days in Maine.

Nationally, there were 2.3 million user days. About 80% of the hikers were men. The Conservancy estimates about 2500 are attempting to hike the entire 2180 mile Appalachian Trail and expect about twenty-five percent to be successful. They estimate that forty percent were "post college" age and thirty percent are recent retirees.

In general, the number of through hikers increases every year. The success rate is growing slightly as more information about the trail and how to hike it gets to the public.


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