Missing Appalachian Trail hiker kept journal, survived 26 days

The day after her disappearance she texted her husband: "In some trouble.Got off trail to go to br [bathroom]".

A report compiled later on the incident says that Largay attempted to text her husband after getting lost, but the messages never went through. She considers it a "great kindness" if the finder tells her relatives where her body was found, even if it were years from her death.

On Wednesday, the BDN obtained the Maine Warden Service case file on Largay's disappearance.

On Oct. 18, 2015, a week after a forester found her body, her husband of 42 years and other family members joined wardens in a hike to the site, where they left a cross and family mementos. An autopsy confirmed that she died of exposure and a lack of food, according to the Portland Press Herald.

On August 6 2013, she wrote a final plaintiff note. It's unclear where she spent her first night in the wild, but by her second day off the trail, she had reached the copse of hemlocks atop the ridge where she would die. Largay was in a mountainous area and the texts were not delivered.

After she missed a rendezvous with her husband, he reported her missing on 24 July, setting off a search by the ME warden service and other agencies.

As police photograph the scene and confirm the driver's license they found with her belongings, a game warden is seen looking away, as if in shock. That's key, he said, both to help hikers find their way back, and to allow someone searching for them to see where they left the trail. She also said Largay was afraid to be alone - and scared of the dark, the New York Times reported.

Geraldine Largay's family members saw searchers' efforts and know from visiting the location of her death how hard it would've been to find her, the family said in a statement released Friday evening. She wrote that she accepted she was going to die and that it would probably take years before her body would be located. "On any given day, by the time a searcher would get close to where Largay was found, they'd have to turn around to make it back to their vehicles by nightfall".

"There's a lot more people interested in doing the Appalachian Trail", said Sandy Bell, co-owner of the North Woods Trading Post in Millinocket, which bills itself as "the last stop for gas, gear and supplies before Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin".

Largay, 66, was in the midst of making a 900-mile journey on the Appalachian Trail that began in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., on April 23, 2013 and was set to end in Millinocket, Maine.

But on June 30, while in New Hampshire, Lee was forced by a family emergency to leave the trail.

Her skeletal remains were discovered past year by the Maine Warden Service on October 16 on property owned by the U.S. Navy in Redington, three miles away from where she was last seen.

The tent was found in October of this year on Navy property that is part of a remote reservation used for Search, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training.

The family looked around at the campsite - the trees and mountains that had kept Gerry company in her final days - before leaving a cross where her tent had stood.

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