Inchworm Update


In October of 2013, I posted a blog about a lost hiker, Gerry Largay. The 66-year-old woman from Brentwood, Tennessee was an experienced hiker, who went by the trail name, “Inchworm.” Gerry came up missing in July of 2013 while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine close to Sugarloaf Mountain. On October 14an independent contractor doing a forestry survey found the remains of a human body along with some of Gerry’s belongings about 300 yards off the trail. The Medical Examiner’s Office began an investigation to identify the skeletal remains and attempt to determine the cause and manner of death. Foul play was not suspected. A few days ago, the Maine Warden Service announced the results of the state medical examiner’s inquiry, which also used DNA to confirm Largay’s identity. According to the autopsy Inchworm died of exposure and lack of food and water.

The body was found in a densely wooded area. Largay was discovered in Redington Township, approximately 3,000 feet off the trail in an area within the boundaries of a US Navy survival school. Because of the location, the clothing and other belongings found at the scene, authorities were very confident that the woman is Gerry Largay.

Largay Inchworm“Inchworm” was a retired nurse and had already hiked 1,000 miles of the AT. She and a close friend, Jane Lee, had begun their hike together in Harpers Ferry, WV in April. A family crisis had required Lee to leave the trail in New Hampshire, but Inchworm was determined to continue alone. The warden service in Maine launched one of the most extensive searches in its history, but was unable to find her. Three canine teams had combed the area nearby and it is believed that some search crews had come as close as 100 yards to the site.

Gerry set out on July 22, 2013, from Poplar Lean-to, with plans to meet her husband at a trailhead about 22 miles away the following day. It appears that she wandered off the trail approximately two and a half miles north of the shelter in an area used by the Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School. The area is clearly marked as Navy property and public access is prohibited. However, because of the location of her remains, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent worked alongside the warden service on the investigation.


Categories: Appalachian Trail, Gerry Largay, Harpers Ferry, Hiking, Inchworm, Maine, Trail Name, West Virginia | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Inchworm Update

  1. Julianne

    That makes my heart so sad.

    • Julianne – There were posters along the trail when I hiked close to this area in Maine. My mind was so hopeful that Inchworm had not lost her way and that she was still alive. The terrain in this part of Maine is rugged and difficult but still well marked. The news is sad indeed.

  2. katjandu

    Thank you for the update. This is so sad.

    • Jan – The news report was not a surprise in some ways but I was particularly sadden to hear that she was so close to the trail, so close to safety, so close to other hikers, so close to help. 300 yards might as well be 300 miles if you are lost in the wilderness. My heart goes out to her family and the grief of knowing.

  3. So very sad to read this. Thanks for posting this update as she has crossed my heart several times during your hike and since then.

    • Mitzi – I too have thought of Gerry often over the past year and a half. On the trail and once returning to Ohio, her story has stirred my thoughts. To die in such a tragic way is sad news for the entire AT hiking community.

  4. janloyd

    Yes, very sad! Thanks for sharing…

    • Jan – With some much victory that we celebrate on the trail and with the beauty of Maine and the adventure of the last 250 miles of the AT, a sad experience like Gerry’s puts a sober reality of the dangers facing the hikers along the path. The AT is well marked but wrong turns are easy to make as well. The feeling of being lost in the forest brings a sense of panic to the heart. A carefree hiker can turn into a life-or-death survivor very quickly. Gerry’s death along the trail is sad indeed.

  5. I understand she was very close to a roadway – so easy for this to happen – so close and yet so far – very sad. We’re 500+ into the Bruce Trail and I wouldn’t want to be doing it alone.

    • Womanseyeview – thanks so much for your comment. I am working on an up-date regarding Inchworm. It is such a sad story. They discovered her journal when they found her body and yes, she was very close to the trail. She had gotten off the trail to use the bathroom and became disoriented.

      Congrats on hiking the Bruce Trail. I hiked the first 12 states by myself, but I knew I wanted a partner to hike over the Whites and the state of Maine. Racewalker and I met each other in Hanover, NH and ended up hiking together all the way to Mount Katahdin. It was nice to have a second pair of eyes and someone to help navigate the trail.

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