A hiker whose remains were discovered last year survived at least 26 days after getting lost in western Maine, kept a journal of her ordeal and resigned herself to the idea that it could be years before her remains were found, according to investigatory documents.

Geraldine Largay, who was from Brentwood, Tennessee, hiked to higher ground in a failed attempt to get a cellphone signal, and text messages sent to her husband went undelivered, the documents show. She was walking from West Virginia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, a section of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail.

“When you find my body, please call my husband George … and my daughter Kerry,” Largay, who was 66, wrote in a page that was torn out of her journal. “It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead where you found me — no matter how many years from now.”

The Maine warden service released more than 1,500 pages of documents on Wednesday in response to Freedom of Access Act requests by several media organizations.

Largay got lost after leaving the trail on 22 July 2013, to relieve herself, wardens said. Her texts to her husband warning that she had become lost were never delivered.

After she missed a rendezvous with her husband, he reported her missing on 24 July, setting off a search by the Maine warden service and other agencies. Documents indicate they interviewed dozens of witnesses and conducted several searches over two years.

The last entry in Largay’s journal was on 18 August 2013. The medical examiner determined she died of starvation and exposure.

Her husband, George Largay, told wardens that his wife was fulfilling a long-held ambition to walk a section of the Appalachian Trail. She had started with a travelling companion, but the other hiker left the trail because of a family emergency.

It was more than two years after she went missing that her remains were found 3,000 feet from the trail by a contractor conducting a forestry survey on property owned by the US Navy in Redington.

The property where Largay’s body was recovered in October 2015 is part of a US Navy survival skills training facility. The Navy uses the area for its survival program.

Largay’s tent was collapsed, and her body was inside.

The items found with her included toothpaste, baby powder, a first aid kit, cord twine, a pencil and pen and a paper trail map. The battery on her cellphone was dead, but investigators were able to retrieve the data.


Source: Hiker who went missing on Appalachian Trail survived 26 days before dying | US news | The Guardian