Hiker resigned herself to death after getting lost on Appalachian Trail
A walker who got lost on a bucket list hike left a heartbreaking note for her husband and daughter suggesting she knew she would die rather than be rescued.
Geraldine Largay survived for at least 26 days after leaving the Appalachian Trail in the US but ultimately resigned herself to death.
Her remains were discovered last year along with a journal of her ordeal.
"When you find my body, please call my husband George ... and my daughter Kerry," Largay, 66, wrote in a page that was torn out of her journal. "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."
Items found with Largay included her mobile phone. It contained messages for help which she had sent to her husband but were not delivered due to lack of phone reception.
Largay, who was from Brentwood, Tennessee, had hiked to higher ground in a failed attempt to get a signal.
The Maine Warden Service released more than 1,500 pages of documents related to the search for Largay in response to Freedom of Access Act. More than 60 searchers were involved in a hunt for her in 2013.
Largay, who went by the nickname Inchworm, got lost after leaving the trail on July 22 2013, to relieve herself and set up her final camp the next day, wardens said. Her texts to her husband warning that she'd become lost were never delivered but were retrieved from her phone after her body was found.
"in somm trouble," she texted on July 22, 2013, the day she left the trail. "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."
A day later, she again pleaded for help: "lost since yesterday. off trail 3 or 4 miles. call police for what to do pls."
After she missed a rendezvous with her husband, he reported her missing on July 24 2013, setting off a massive search by the Maine Warden Service and other agencies. Documents indicate they interviewed dozens of witnesses and conducted several searches over two years.
The last entry in Largay's journal was on August 18 2013.
Her husband, George Largay, told wardens that the Appalachian Trail journey from Georgia to Maine's Mount Katahdin was a bucket list item for her. She had started with a travelling companion, but the other hiker left the trail because of a family emergency.
It wasn't until more than two years after she went missing, in October 2015, that her remains were found by a contractor conducting a forestry survey on property owned by the US Navy in Redington Township.
Largay's tent was collapsed, and her body was inside. The medical examiner determined she died of starvation and exposure.
The items found with her included trail staples such as toothpaste, baby powder, a first aid kit, cord, twine, a pencil and pen and a paper trail map. The battery on her cellphone was dead, but investigators were able to retrieve the data.