Missing “Inchworm”


Where is “Inchworm?”  It’s rare for anyone to go so utterly missing almost without a clue, on such a place as the Appalachian Trail.  But this is precisely what has happened.

Amid the complexities of this story, two things: the incredible focus and professionalism from the search and rescue team.  Also, I understand Geraldine Largay did not make a habit of signing trail registers at shelters, which may have helped to narrow the scope of search.   Lesson: sign the register books, even if it’s just your name.

Warden says hiker never made it to Spaulding lean-to.

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4 Comments

Filed under Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Hiking, Search and Rescue, The Appalachian Trail, Timothy J. Hodges

4 responses to “Missing “Inchworm”

  1. I remember the rainy morning that I met inchworm (July 22) at the shelter a few miles north of the Redington Campsite where I had camped. Inchworm was carrying her pack to the shelter, where a young man (the only one sleeping in the shelter) had his stuff spread out everywhere. Inchworm still had her tent to take down and it was about 8:30 am. Between this shelter and the point where I met her husband on ME27 (just outside of Stratton) in the late afternoon, there was over 20 miles of rough terrain. I assured her husband that she was alright, but that she was further out than the 14 miles he anticipated. There was a steep, technical (involved climbing moves) descent into the notch before the Crockers, that I think she could have been injured on, however, they should have easily found her. I too am perplexed on how a hiker could vanish off a narrow corridor along a relatively short stretch of trail. There were other exits, however, that she could have taken to divert the Crocker Mountains. Search and Rescue should’ve been exploring every possible exit/gravel road heading towards ME 27. I reported what I knew to the authorities even though my name was not one of them listed on the trail postings.

    • Starfly

      Very insightful article thanks. Could you tell me how difficult the crossing of the South Branch of the Carrabasset was for you? Wardens seem to have ‘ruled out’ that she made it this far but I’ve heard that the water level was dangerously high. However, these reports come from searchers, shortly after her disappearance. Its my understanding that the stream was fairly low on Monday afternoon into Tuesday before it rose due to rain. Any thoughts? Thanks!

      • It’s been some years since I was backpacking that area, but my memory tells me about calf deep in a few places at most, unless flooding has occurred. I forded the Kennebec River on foot; a much more challenging crossing! I am still haunted by what might have become of “Inchworm”. I would not be surprised — and in fact I hope! — that S&R teams go upcountry after the thaw and ice-out to look for fresh signs which might lead to some solution to this mystery. It’s always makes me feel uneasy when I hear about such a disappearance; though I still have faith that the AT is a safe trail to hike and would not hesitate to hike on it any time.

      • Starfly

        Ahhh I see and thanks for the reply. For some reason I thought you had crossed the stream the same day or the day before Inchworm. Good job crossing the Kennebec! I work as a raft guide over there and that crossing takes some real talent/courage! I’m haunted by her disappearance as well and plan an early ice thaw kayak trip down the river at the AT crossing. Thanks again and god bless. ‘Nighthawk’

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