A hiker who died whilst trying to complete the Appalachian Trail a month after she went missing had kept a journal of her final days and had sent undelivered texts asking for help. An official report has revealed the circumstances surrounding the death of 66-year-old Geraldine Largay who died 26 days after losing her way on the trail on 22 July 2013 — her husband said that completing the trail was on her bucket list.
Largay, from Brentwood, Tennessee, became lost when she left the trial to use the toilet and then tried to make it to higher ground to find signal for her mobile phone. Her mobile revealed that she had sent messages to her husband asking for help but they were undelivered.
Eventually she died from starvation and exposure and in one page on her journal she wrote: "When you find my body, please call my husband George ... and my daughter Kerry. 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. Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them."
Largay's remains were found, still inside her sleeping bag inside her tent, in October 2015 by a contractor conducting a forestry survey. She was found with a number of personal items including toothpaste, baby powder, a first aid kit, cord, twine and a paper trail map.
The land she had stumbled on, in Redington Township, in Maine, was owned by the US Navy and part of a Navy survival skills training facility. On 22 July, 2013, she texted: "In somm trouble. Got off trail to go to br. now lost. can you call AMC to c if a trail maintainer can help me. somewhere north of woods road."
The next day, she sent: "lost since yesterday. off trail 3 or 4 miles. call police for what to do pls."
Her husband George Largay reported her missing on 24 July after she missed a scheduled meeting with him. Her disappearance sparked the largest search operation in the state's history led by the Maine Warden Service (MWS) over two years.
A total of 1,500 pages of documents pertaining to the search were released on Wednesday after a Freedom of Access Act request by several media organisations. The MWS said that she had a poor sense of direction and would become flustered if she made a mistake.