Jason Parish was a 36-year old hiker from Philadelphia involved in a short, two-night trek on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Jason was not a stranger to camping in rugged conditions and cold weather. He thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors. On Friday night this past March 13, Jason and a few friends stayed in the Ed Garvey Shelter on the AT, about 6 miles north of Harpers Ferry, WV. On Saturday, Jason took a day hike to Weverton Cliffs, overlooking Harpers Ferry, and returned to the shelter for the night.
Sunday, March 15 was greeted with high winds in the forest. Jason was making a last check of his gear before breaking camp when a dead tree was uprooted under the pressure of the wind and crashed on top of him. His friends heard the noise, rushed to the scene, saw their trapped colleague, and called 911. The tree pinned Jason about 9:00 and the first responders arrived about an hour later, but were unable to revive him. What a sad day on the Appalachian Trail.
Parish was an environmental engineer and a folk musician. He was born on September 7, 1978 in Dover, Delaware and graduated from the University of Delaware in 2000 majoring in mechanical engineering. He was an excellent musician playing several instruments including guitar, piano and saxophone. Jason had recently released a debut CD, A Mountain and a Hill, in January and a short sample of his live music can be heard at www.lehighvalleylive.com.
The tree that fell on Jason was marked with a pink ribbon and identified as one to be cut down. As a result of Parish’s death, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources temporarily closed eight shelters and campgrounds on the AT for a tree inspection and maintenance.
The Ed Garvey Memorial Shelter was built in 2001 and named in honor of Edward B. Garvey (1914 -1999) who thru-hiked the AT in 1970. In 1971, Ed published a book about his journey, Appalachian Hiker: Adventure of a Lifetime. This early writing significantly raised public awareness of thru-hiking, including several chapters dedicated to the hike’s preparation, trail gear, and the flowers, animals, birds and trees of the AT. The shelter is a two story structure and sleeps twelve campers comfortably, as long as you can stand the thru-hiker smell and chorus of a dozen snorers.
Jason the Musician Photo: www.lehighvalleylive.com.