Hiker who went missing on Appalachian Trail left poignant farewell message to family in diary of her final days

Geraldine Largay was discovered dead over two years after going missing from the famous walking trail

Gabriel Samuels
Thursday 26 May 2016 12:15 BST
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Largay's body remained missing for over two years on the Appalachian Trail
Largay's body remained missing for over two years on the Appalachian Trail (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

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The journal of a hiker detailing her extraordinary final days before she died after going missing on the Appalachian Trail has been found.

Geraldine Largay, 66, from Tennessee tried in vain to contact her family with SOS messages and survived at least 26 days before succumbing to starvation.

The day after her disappearance she texted her husband: “In some trouble...Got off trail to go to br [bathroom]. Now lost. Can you call AMC”, but the message never arrived.

The journal reveal details of Largay’s protracted ordeal, including her attempts to hike to higher ground to get phone signal.

One of her final messages read: “When you find my body, please call my husband George...and my daughter Kerry” after losing the trail between West Virginia and Mount Katahdin in Maine.

The farewell message continued: “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.”

Her husband reported her missing in late July 2013 after she missed a rendezvous with him and her body remained undiscovered for over two years.

At one point a search crew with dogs came within 100 yards of her campsite but failed to find her remains, according to the Portland Press Herald.

George Largay told detectives his wife was fulfilling a lifelong ambition to hike the famous Appalachian Trail, which stretches 2,200 miles through the eastern United States.

Geraldine’s remains were eventually found in a collapsed tent by a contractor performing a forestry survey. The final entry in her log was penned on 18 August 2013.

Items found near her body included her mobile phone with a dead battery, a first aid kit and the journal she kept through her final days.

Largay had been travelling with a companion before her disappearance, but the other hiker had left the trail due to a family emergency.

The journal was released by the Maine warden service in response to a Freedom of Access Act request by several media organisations.

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