Search continues for missing Appalachian Trail hiker

Published On: Jul 29 2013 06:03:00 AM HST
AUGUSTA, Maine -

The Maine Warden Service says the search has resumed Monday for a missing hiker on the Appalachian Trail.

Officials said they are looking for any information from hikers who may have seen Geraldine Largay.

About 30 people, including members of the Maine Warden Service, Mahoosuc Search and Rescue, U.S. Border Patrol and the Maine Forest Service will be part of Monday's search.

They plan to search 8 miles on the Appalachian Trail that begins about one-half mile south of the Caribou Valley Road and extends south to Route 27, near Rangeley. The search area encompasses roughly 81 square miles.

Because of the weather, officials said it will be unlikely that aircraft will be used in the search.

The Warden Service said so far K-9 teams have searched 56.2 miles, ground searchers have covered 300 miles, horse teams have searched 26.9 miles and aircraft have covered 338 miles.

Weather conditions are cloudy this morning with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. It is unlikely aircraft will be utilized Monday, according to the Warden Service.

Investigators said late last week they want to speak with the hikers who go by the following trail names: Cowboy, Marathon, Postman, Breeze, Paranoid, Crunchmaster, Harpo/Groucho, Ice Pack/SOBO '13, Luke 11:9, Sandman, BBTGR and .com/Queen. Game wardens said Largay uses the trail name Inchworm.

Investigators want to verify if Largay, 66, was seen between the Poplar Ridge lean-to and the Spaulding Mountain lean-to on the Appalachian Trail. Game wardens also want to verify that she stayed overnight at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to Monday night into Tuesday morning.

The Warden Service also asks that bear baiters in the area be on the lookout for Largay.

They are pretty sure Largay, of Brentwood, Tenn., somehow veered off the trail.

"The Appalachian Mountain Trail has a pretty good communication system. Everyone talks to one another, and everybody knows that she's missing and no one has seen her," said Lt. Kevin Adam with the Maine Warden Service.

Largay's husband, George, last saw his wife Sunday morning near Rangeley when he met her to drop off supplies. He had planned on meeting her along Route 27 near Carrabassett Valley Tuesday evening.

"And that was the day the skies opened up. So the fact she didn't make it did not surprise me. I stayed in the parking lot overnight in the Highlander and slept there, as I did Wednesday night," said George Largay.

Geraldine Largay began her hike in West Virginia in April. Her plans are to hike through to Mount Katahdin. Her husband said she's fit and prepared.

"She's a veteran hiker. She respects the weather. She has hiked a thousand miles to get here," said George Largay.

Josh Garmon is a through hiker traveling the same direction as Largay. He said the heavy rains on Tuesday made an already difficult hike even tougher.
"It's mostly descending; that can be wet, steep, a lot of rocks and roots," said Garmon.

"There are ATV trails and logging roads that cross the (Appalachian Trail) so there are decision points that you can get messed up on," said Adam.
More family members are on their way to Maine from Tennessee to join Geraldine's husband as they wait for any word.

Largay is confident his wife has the strength and the wits to survive this.

"Gerry and I are spiritual people and I'm convinced God's going to take care of her. He's got more work for her to do," said Largay.

Geraldine Largay stands 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a black pullover shirt, tan pants, a blue hat and a black-and-green backpack in Sandy River Plantation.

Anyone with information can contact state police dispatch in Augusta at 1-800-452-4664.


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