Missing Appalachian Trail Hiker Gerry “Inchworm” Largay
Geraldine “Inchworm” Largay vanished from the Appalachian Trail in Maine two years ago. She’s gone but not forgotten.
July 22nd, 2013 came and went largely unnoticed for most of us. Nobody remembers that the national average price for a gallon of gas was $3.67. Radio heads might recall Cruise was the #1 song for country folk. The most popular movie, The Conjuring, set a new record for the highest weekend debut for an original R-rated horror film.
Two facts that concerned the fewest people were 1) July 22, 2013 was World Goth Day, and 2) Geraldine Largay disappeared from the Appalachian Trail (AT).
Now, July 22nd will always remind me of the day the former nurse who earned the Trail name “Inchworm” went missing from the AT outside of Rangeley, Maine.
Gerry Largay, as she was known to her friends, was a skilled hiker doing the section of the AT from Harpers Ferry, WV to Katahdin.
Inchworm hit the Trail on April 23, 2013. Her husband of 42-years, George, supported her hike and met her at appointed times and places along the Trail for almost three months.
Geraldine Largay’s smiling face was immortalized back then … as was the news of her disappearing without a trace from the sparsely traveled AT in Maine’s Saddleback Range.
As we wrote back then,
Getting lost in the woods is easy. Finding lost people in the woods isn’t easy, but almost all are located within 24 hours and virtually all are found in 48 hours. Only a fraction of 1% of lost hikers remain missing. That small number, unfortunately, includes our sister, Inchworm, a 66-year-old hiker from Brentwood, TN.
On July 21, 2015, John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service shared this press release about the second anniversary of our sister’s ordeal:
Geraldine “Inchworm” Largay: Missing Since July 22, 2013
Two years ago tomorrow, Geraldine Largay from Brentwood, Tennessee was last seen on the early morning of July 22 at Poplar Lean-to on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Maine.
She was planning to hike that day to Spaulding Lean-to in Redington Township, approximately eight miles to the north. The following day, July 23, she had planned to continue hiking north from Spaulding Lean-to located in Mount Abram Township to meet her husband who was waiting for her at the Route 27 crossing. Geraldine never arrived at that location.
Still today, Maine game wardens, searchers from the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR), Maine State Police, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department continue to work together strategizing the search for Geraldine Largay.
Maine game wardens continue to plan future search efforts and will include areas that have not previously had ground search resources. There have been no clues found to date that can be attributed to Largay in any of the searches that have taken place.
The Largay family continues to express gratitude to all the searchers and investigators who have taken the time to search for Gerry. The family is still in contact with Maine Warden Service investigators and is updated routinely about searches and any investigative leads regarding her disappearance. [The picture on the right] is the last known photo of Geraldine taken at the Poplar Ridge Lean-to on July 22, 2013.
A reward in the amount to $25,000 remains available for anyone who can provide information to investigators that locates Geraldine Largay.
Anyone who has any information that can lead to the location of Largay or has information about other hikers or persons in the area of Poplar Lean-to or the Oberton Stream area on the Appalachian Trail on July 22, 2013, is asked to share the information with the Maine Warden Service by calling (207) 624-7076.
If this story is news to you, please click on the link below for some background information.
A number of hiking groups, individuals, news organizations and The Boston Globe have filed reports about how Gerry could not have simply faded into thin air. “People don’t just vanish,” as one authority put it two years ago.
Gone Without a Trace
- Imagine yourself hiking in the wilderness of Maine. You’re carrying a full pack, with food, water, tarp, sleeping bag and whatever you would need until you resupply.
- Nature calls and you drop your pack to do your business. If you fall off a cliff or are eaten by a bear, your pack remains behind.
- If you take a side trail and get lost — no matter how much you adhere to Leave No Trace principles — you will leave a trace behind you. Broken branches, blood, some clue of some sort.
- If you foolishly cross a swollen stream and are swept downstream, something you are carrying … and your body … will be found when the waters recede.
- If you stumble and fall into a hole … or off the Trail … or wherever … some trace would be found when hundreds of skilled and trained searchers methodically retraced your steps — and where you might have stepped.
- Something of yours would be seen by observers in helicopters, on horses, riding motorized somethings or folks quietly listening for a whimper as they crawl through the underbrush.
People don’t merely disappear. It’s impossible.
Especially for two entire years.
Fingers have been pointed by gossips who believe Gerry:
- was done in by a mysterious hiker or
- someone who picked her up and drove her away down some impassable road or
- her husband did something or
- anybody except her husband did something or
- she was captured by someone from a secret military installation or
- maybe she just decided to run away and begin a new life somewhere and left the Trail of her own free will and volition … and has remained off the grid for two years.
A few truths are certain:
- Geraldine Largay is still missing from the Appalachian Trail after two years.
- If anyone knows what happened to her, they haven’t told me or you or the Maine Warden Service.
- No one admits to giving up the search for Inchworm, no matter if it’s a “cold case” or not.
Geraldine’s story continues to be told. The television series North Woods Law aired an episode about Gerry titled “Lost and Found,” on December 11, 2013. You can see it in reruns and online.
Opinions differ about whether Inchworm will be found … near or off the Trail.
One group of searchers confidently stated in this story “She’s Not There!”
Missing AT Hiker Geraldine Largay
When you cannot find your car keys, tablet, purse or a friend on the Appalachian Trail … and you have no idea where they are … you just keep looking. Sometimes in the places you’re sure you’ve already looked and sometimes in places where “they cannot be.”
My guess is somebody knows something about Gerry they haven’t shared. If that somebody is you, please call the Maine Warden Service Public Safety Dispatch Center in Augusta at 207-624-7076.
If you were missing, we would do the same for you.
We would not quit until you were found because we do not forget our friends on the Appalachian Trail.
Friends such as Geraldine “Inchworm” Largay.