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A 63-year-old hiker who had not been heard from in 13 days was found dead by a game warden on the Appalachian Trail in western Maine on Monday.
According to the Maine Warden Service, Jeffrey Aylward, 63, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, was found dead in Township D on the AT at about 10 a.m. Monday.
The hiker’s family reported him missing on Saturday, 11 days after he last texted family members.
After they were notified that he was missing, game wardens hiked into lean-to and sign-in stations along the trail in that region to distribute information about Aylward in hopes that he may have seen or been in contact with other hikers.
Hikers subsequently reported having seen a lone tent. Game warden Kyle Hladik investigated and found Aylward dead in his tent, about 50 yards off the AT and about two-tenths of a mile from Route 17 near a popular scenic view called “Height of Land.” The trail was visible from the tent.
Wardens have no reason to expect foul play, and the hiker had experienced recent health issues. According to a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife news release, wardens are working with the state medical examiner and a local funeral home to remove Aylward’s body from the AT and determine a cause of death.
Family had not heard from Aylward since a text he sent the afternoon of Tuesday, July 23. Aylward’s family had developed a pattern of bringing him fresh supplies about every eight days. When he did not communicate with them for more than a week they became concerned and called for help.
Aylward, whose trail name was “Dusty Pilgrim,” began his hike July 1 at Pinkham Notch near the Maine-New Hampshire border and was bound for Mount Katahdin in Maine.