By Ashleigh / Aug 23, 2021
The Orange Tent
He kept walking along the trail, even though he should have turned back. He then found something that he shouldn’t have ever found. It was an orange tent, but it was muddy and torn, something bad had happened.
Among the items inside the tent were a sleeping bag, an old cellphone, and a worn journal.
She Wanted More
Geraldine Largey was loved by all her family and friends, they all called her Gerry. She was a 66-year-old mother to Kerry, who would even have her own children.
Gerry filled many roles in her life, she was a doting mother, a grandmother, and a wife. But she always felt that she wanted to do more. But it would end up in an unexpected way.
Lover Of Nature
Gerry was married to her husband George and they both lived happily in Atlanta, Florida. She was an avid nature lover and enjoyed the outdoors a great deal. She was even a part of the Nature Conservancy.
She loved being a part of the community and became a part of the newcomer’s group in her local community group. She loved doing activities like knitting, quilting, and hiking. But her ambitions were much larger.
America’s Deadliest Trail
Gerry loved hiking and wanted to try out the Appalachian Trail. It goes through Springer Mountain, Georgia and goes all the way to Maine’s Mount Katahdin in the North.
The mountainous region had its twists and surprises. But there are other problems that lurk on the deadliest trail in America.
A Deep History
Hikers should be cautious on trails and most are trained to avoid falling from dangerous heights. But most don’t understand just how dangerous the Appalachian Trail is.
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images
There have been 13 murders on the trail over the last 50 years. The most recent being just 10 years ago. And many are still unsolved today. Gerry just couldn’t resist the temptation.
George knew just how dangerous the trail could be. But he wanted to support Gerry in all of her adventures. They even sold their family home to move in with their daughter to be closer to the hiking trail.
Gerry started her trip into the mountains. But something already blocked her route before she could get very far.
Gerry couldn’t walk with a heavy pack because of a previous back injury. So George would meet up with her at several points on the trail to give her the supplies she needed.
Facebook/Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Now that Gerry didn’t have to worry about the supply problem, she could finally walk the trail without any worries in her mind.
She started walking the trail with her best friend Jane Lee. The women started out at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia and wanted to move north to Mount Katahdin before getting George to drive them back down.
They would then go to the southern part all the way to Springer Mountain. It seemed to be going well….
Gerry didn’t care that it was raining, she would document her journey and all of the flora and fauna she came across in the journal she brought with her. She even have herself a nickname while she was on the trail – Inchworm.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
It was easy to see the joy in Gerry’s handwriting and the way she described things. They would be very different from the last message hastily written in the book.
In late June, everything changed. Jane received news of a family emergency back home and left the trail. Gerry seemed nonplussed, however, and continued the hike alone. She slept in makeshift shelters whenever her location was too remote for her husband to reach.
Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
By July, she had traversed around 900 miles of the trail’s northern section. With just 200 miles left to go until she reached Mount Katahdin, things took a turn for the worst.
Gerry couldn’t reach George in time to fetch more gear for the last leg of the hike. For 22 miles, the ground was especially treacherous, so Gerry planned for it to take her two nights.
She managed to find a shelter at Poplar Ridge on the evening of July 21, then took off again the following morning.
Gerry waved goodbye to a man she’d met at the shelter, then she set out once more. That day, though, she unintentionally left the trail. She was looking for a spot where she could relieve herself when she found herself in a tree graveyard.
The area had been used for logging many years before. There were broken trees and decapitated stumps everywhere. That’s when Gerry realized that she was lost. The trail was about to claim another victim.
Trying to Get Help
Lost, off the trail, and disoriented, Gerry frantically messaged her husband. She explained that she was having trouble finding the trail, and asked George to alert the Appalachian Mountain Club so they could send help.
“In some trouble. Got off trail… Now lost,” she wrote, “Can you call AMC to see if a trail maintainer can help me. [I’m] somewhere north of woods road.” But, with no phone signal, the message never reached George.
It is believed that Gerry set off once more, searching for higher ground and a spot with better signal. She fought her way through the tree graveyard to no avail. Eventually, she set up camp to rest for the night.
Meanwhile, George diligently waited in the spot they had agreed upon, but his wife never arrived. But, because there was a bad storm in the area, he didn’t think too much of it at the time. When she still had not appeared by the next morning, however, he knew something was wrong.
A Suspicious Witness
George notified the authorities on the second day. Maine Warden Service mobilized hundreds of volunteers to scour the area in a massive search and rescue attempt. But the distorted information from the man who had last seen Gerry sent them on a wild goose chase.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Gerry had tried to send her husband another message. She had tried to tell George to urgently contact the police.