July 27, 2013

Hiker confirms seeing missing Tennessee woman on Appalachian Trail

Father of 18-year-old hiker known as 'Crunchmaster' says his son saw Geraldine Largay, 66, on Monday; wardens seek information from additional hikers who may have seen woman missing since Tuesday

STAFF REPORT

Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine Largay remained missing today, and wardens were seeking to contact at least one trail hiker who said he saw Largay on Monday.

click image to enlarge

Maine State Police Detective Lenny Bolton, left, and warden service Sgt. Jeff Spencer hike toward Spaulding Mountain from the summit of Sugarloaf today, as the search continued for missing hiker Geraldine Largay, 66, of Tennessee, who was last heard from via text message on Monday.

Photo courtesy Maine Warden Service

Geraldine Largay

Courtesy Maine Warden Service

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Largay, 66, of Tennessee, was last seen Tuesday at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to. The search for her began Thursday.

The father of Trevor Pike, 18, whose trail name is "Crunchmaster," wrote on the hiker's progress blog: "Trevor does recall meeting Gerry on the trail on Monday somewhere between Spaulding lean-to, where he ate lunch, and Poplar Ridge lean-to, where he stayed Monday evening. ... He does not recall the exact location where their paths crossed."

The Maine Warden Service was seeking today to contact Pike, who is also from Tennessee, as well as hikers using the trail names "Cowboy," "Marathon," "Postman," "Breeze," "Paranoid," "Harpo/Groucho," "Ice Pack/SOBO '13," "Luke 11:9," "Sandman," "BBTGR" and ".com/Queen," according to a news release.

The service hoped those hikers could verify if Largay, who uses the trail name "inchworm," was on the Appalachian Trail between Poplar Ridge and Spaulding lean-tos on Monday and Tuesday, Cpl. John MacDonald of the warden service wrote in the release.

Pike is hiking the trail south. The department thanked a Facebook user who pointed them to the blog post.

About 130 people, including the Maine Warden Service, dog teams, the Maine Association for Search and Rescue, U.S. Border Patrol and Civil Air Patrol members, on ATVs, on horseback and in aircraft, searched the area around Spaulding Mountain, to the east of Rangeley, according to the warden service.

It's there that the warden service suspected Largay, whose husband last heard from her on Monday via a text message, went missing.

MacDonald also urged people setting bear bait in the area to keep an eye out for Largay.

The 5-foot-5, 115-pound Largay, an experienced hiker, was last seen wearing a black pullover shirt, tan pants, a blue hat and a black-and-green backpack. She started her hike in April at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., with a destination of Baxter State Park in Maine.

Her husband had been keeping track of her progress along the trail and was making pre-determined stops to replenish her supplies.

The release asks those with information to call the Public Safety Communications Center in Augusta at 207-624-6076 or 800-452-4664.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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