May we always remember “Inchworm” — Geraldine Largay — smiling and happy on the final trail of her life.
“They say” nothing is more psychologically devastating than the death of a spouse or child. It’s weird how we can mourn the death of people we’ve never met … or even heard of before something happened to them. Such is the case of Appalachian Trail hiker, Geraldine Largay, who went missing from the Trail in Maine on a rainy day in July, 2013.
As news spread, searchers gathered and scoured all along the Trail. Some worriers worried she slipped down a slippery ledge or was washed away in a swollen stream or was kidnapped by strangers or murdered by some marauder.
A big part of the mystery of Geraldine “Inchworm” Largay’s disappearance was better understood on October 15, 2015, when a surveyor stumbled upon her remains.
As one of many writers who cover the Appalachian Trail for websites or news organizations, I have personally followed the tale from its inception. On many occasions, I have had personal contact with the officials who led the organized efforts to locate Inchworm. In addition, I have had direct contact with unofficial but concerned hikers who organized searches before Geraldine was located. Recently, I have read insinuations from pseudo-investigative writers who believe that I, among others, have been deceived or that I/we are part of a plot to cover up some twisted perversion of the facts that have become known over the years. That is libelous nonsense.
Should you desire to read the State of Maine’s Medical Examiner’s report on the death of Geraldine Largay, please click on the link below. Here, however, are a few facts:
- No foul play was suspected regarding her death.
- The cause of death was “inanition” — exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment.
- Evidence showed she died in her sleeping bag, inside the tent. However, her remains were subsequently strewn around the immediate area by animals.
- Each bone found at the scene was examined and showed no signs of “perimortem” trauma [at or near the time of death]. Trauma to the bones was the result of scavenging animals.
Geraldine went off trail in a storm. We don’t know why. She pitched her tent in a small clearing on a knoll. She passed away in her sleeping bag, inside the tent.
No matter how we surmise her demise, one thing is certain. We miss Inchworm. We grew to love her. We shared her plight. For many of us, she will be remembered each time we walk in the woods.
We will not forget Inchworm nor the hundreds of kind individuals who tried to rescue her before it was too late.