Search for Tennessee hiker missing in Franklin County to resume Saturday

By Dawn Gagnon and Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Posted July 26, 2013, at 9:01 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Approximately 60 people, including game wardens, forest rangers and searchers from the Maine Association of Search and Rescue, teamed up Friday to search for a missing Tennessee hiker.

A Maine Forest Service helicopter also was used to look for Geraldine “Ginny” Largay, 66, according to Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service. He said Maine Warden Service fixed-wing aircraft could not be used because of low cloud cover on Friday.

As of Friday evening, Largay had yet to be found and there was no new information about her whereabouts, MacDonald said.

MacDonald said a command post has been established at Sugarloaf Resort and that when the search resumes Saturday morning, the focus will continue to be on the Appalachian Trail north of the Spaulding lean-to in Mount Abram Township, heading toward the Route 27 and crossing in Wyman Township.

“Between those two points are numerous overlapping roads and trails,” MacDonald said Friday.

MacDonald said search officials would be engaged in information gathering and logistical planning on Friday night.

Largay, who has been missing since Sunday, started her hike on the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia in April, with her destination being Baxter State Park, MacDonald said. Her husband had been keeping track of her and made predetermined stops to give her food and water, the corporal said.

On Sunday, she left the Route 4 crossing near Rangeley and texted her husband advising him she was atop Saddleback Mountain, MacDonald said. Largay reportedly sent her husband another message Monday indicating she was heading north, with her next stop coming at Spaulding Mountain.

MacDonald said Largay is an experienced, prepared hiker.

“She had no previous incidents up to this point on her hike,” the corporal said.

On Thursday, game wardens learned that an unidentified female hiker called the Stratton Motel on Wednesday and indicated she had spent the night Tuesday with Largay at the Spaulding lean-to in heavy rain, MacDonald said. It is believed Largay continued north Wednesday morning.

Largay is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. She last was seen wearing a black pullover shirt, tan pants, a blue hat and a black-and-green backpack.

The Maine Warden Service is still looking to talk to the female hiker who called the Stratton Motel, and anyone with information on Largay’s or the other hiker’s whereabouts is urged to call Augusta Public Safety Dispatch at 800-452-4664.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/26/news/lewiston-auburn/search-continues-friday-for-tennessee-hiker-missing-in-franklin-county/ printed on August 22, 2014