Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 40

Thread: Incredibly odd development in the Geraldine Largay case

  1. #16
    Senior Member Trail Boss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Montréal, QC
    Posts
    234
    I don't recall reading anything indicating about lacking a map. However, she did not have a compass.
    http://www.pressherald.com/2016/05/2...use-a-compass/
    A hiking companion alleged she didn't know how to use a compass, had a poor sense of direction, and became flustered when disoriented.

    Even if she didn't have a map, she ascended the slope (rangers speculate it was to acquire better cellphone reception). It shouldn't require a map to descend the slope. Yet, she didn't; she stayed put.

    David Boomhower died under similar circumstances (1990). He strayed off the Northville-Placid Trail, became lost, and stayed put, waiting for a rescue that never found him. A hunter found his body well after the search was terminated.

    Largay and Boomhower were well-versed in trail-walking yet were navigationally illiterate. When lost, their strategy was to stay put and wait for rescue, forever. Tragic.

  2. #17
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New hampshire
    Posts
    2,361
    Being lost is a unique thing. Unless you have been truly lost, it's hard to say how well you would do. There have been many cases of lost people, who could have easily saved themselves, but failed to do so. There are cases when staying put makes the most sense, other times, it's a big mistake. Some people may make pretty good hikers, but have poor survival skills. In a survival situation, one wrong decision can cost you. If this lady had the ability to keep a journal, then I'd speculate, her decision was made to hunker down and wait. If that was her choice initially, given what I've read about her compass skill's, it wasn't the worst choice. That being said, a time came when she needed to change her plan and move. I mean at some point when you feel like the clock is running on your physical ability to get up and try and walk out, you change your initial plan and try before you run out of options. Granted this is all speculation, there maybe things we will never know. After all my year's in the backcountry, I've been lost twice, once here in the Whites, no big deal, easy to get out. Once out west pretty far in, it does get the blood flowing when your alone at the time.

  3. #18
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    I think you're slightly off the most important lesson, which is: you should carry a GPS and/or a map & compass, & you need to have sufficient skill to use them even when you're turned around, confused, anxious/worried/scared, & possibly hungry/tired. Carrying them is one thing, but it takes some degree of practical use to get to the point where you can rationally figure out how to get un-lost with these tools in spite of your mental/physical state.

    When all else fails, the satellite tracking device or PLB will also fail; a map & compass will likely be the last thing to fail.
    I contemplated listing map and compass but decided to omit it because of required skills that I believe are harder to come by then just turning on a smartphone and opening a map app (not that these skills are not important.) I think an effective use of a map requires that the hiker has at least an approximate idea of where s/he is and then follows a sensible direction that should result in crossing a trail or some road. If a trail makes turns an unlucky person could travel parallel to that trail for a long time without having any clue where s/he is.

    I think this quote from http://www.adirondacklifemag.com/blogs/2015/08/12/lost/ describes pretty well the situation I'm thinking about:
    In an essay titled “Lost in the Woods,” first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1878, Warner described how he got turned around trying to return to Keene Valley from a camp on the Upper Ausable. Hoping to do some fishing along the way, Warner veered off the cart road he was following and made for the river. “So sure was I of my whereabouts,” he wrote, “that I did not note the bend of the river, nor look at my compass.” There was thunder, rain, and the skies grew dark. Warner eventually found his way to the road, about three miles from where he thought he was. The experience clearly humbled him and even modified his view of nature and wilderness. “The society of the least human being is better than this gigantic indifference,” he wrote. “The ‘rapture on the lonely shore’ is agreeable only when you know you can at any moment go home.”

  4. #19
    Senior Member carla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Posts
    293
    I bet many of us have been in the same situation (I know I have) where you just get disoriented really quickly off the trail. I've had my little moments of panic, but luckily calmed myself down and steered myself back to the trail. The NYT article mentioned that she had anxiety attacks...who knows maybe she just could not get to that moment of calm, ever, and her panicky feeling kept spiraling and she got more and more tangled up in the woods. It is so sad, really. I love the picture or her in the NYT--she looks so happy and fit and healthy--a strong hiker and nothing frail or "old" about her. RIP...
    *********************
    *********************
    New Hampshire 48 x 2

  5. #20
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Hiking the Slickrock
    Posts
    492
    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    But from the point of view of the circumstances, those North Maine Woods are as big as the universe.
    Two themes I read into this are a message of love and of inner peace.
    I think she showed incredible courage... continuing on solo into Maine after her companion dropped out. She certainly knew the the Big Woods were coming and the rigors of the 100 Mile. And still she kept on.

    I give her a loud and posthumous "YOU GO GIRL!!" for her grit and pluck.

    May we all be so brave when facing our next adversity, inner or outer.
    cb
    How many 4Ks in the NE100?
    All of em.

  6. #21
    Senior Member carla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Posts
    293
    Just read another article in the Globe today that said her family didn't like the way she was portrayed in the NYT article as "prone to anxiety"....so who knows what led to the disorientation...I guess we will learn more if her family shares some of the journal entries. Anyway....
    *********************
    *********************
    New Hampshire 48 x 2

  7. #22
    Senior Member Trail Boss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Montréal, QC
    Posts
    234
    I found this link while skimming the Gerry Largay thread on Whiteblaze.net. It's an excerpt of the Largay report created by the Maine Warden's department.
    https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...ort-Exerpt.txt

    • Reported coordinates of her location (converted into decimal degrees): 44.983517 -70.40165
    • Satellite imagery: http://binged.it/1WsCaMt
    • Caltopo's MapBuilder layer depicting trails: http://caltopo.com/m/BD1J
      (Switch the Base Layer to "USGS 7.5' Topos" to see old roads and the original route of the Appalachian Trail.)

    Her location was less than a half-mile north of Railroad Road. According to the report, she had a paper map and a keychain compass. Full inventory is listed at the end of the report.

    The Maine Warden Service led the family back to the spot where Geraldine Largay was found. After paying their final respects, they left the site and were led south to the road. For me, this was the saddest part of this tragedy and here's why:

    After clearing the campsite, we headed south. It was thick for the first 60-70 yards and then became open hardwoods with good visibility in all directions. It was steep but walking down hill was easy. After walking about 20-25 minutes we came to a clear logging road and followed that and came to the Old RR Bed. in total we had walked about 30 minutes.

    Once on the Old RR Bed we walked back towards the Appalachian Trail and then continued to our vehicle location.
    She had:
    • a map
    • a tiny compass (that could minimally indicate the cardinal points)
    • knowledge she was on a slope (she had walked uphill)
    • knowledge she was north of the trail (based on a text message she sent her husband)


    The only thing she lacked was the skill to put the puzzle pieces together. Walk southwest and in under an hour you will intersect a road (or follow the drainage). Turn left and follow the road to the AT.

    RIP Inchworm. Perhaps your story will motivate others to learn how to navigate in the woods.

  8. #23
    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    If it ain't snowin' there, we ain't goin' there.
    Posts
    2,577
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
    Perhaps your story will motivate others to learn how to navigate in the woods.
    And on that note I will direct the attention of those interested to this: Pathfinders discussion group on VFTT
    sardog1

    "Å! kjære Bymann gakk ei stjur og stiv,
    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
    kom hit, kom hit, og ver ei daud og lat!
    kom kjenn, hot d'er, som heiter Svevn og Mat,
    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

    -- Aasmund O. Vinje, "Til Fjells!"

  9. #24
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Colchester, CT
    Posts
    2,537
    I read some from the Washington Post the other day, what I haven't figured out is how she got to her last location. I saw she was at the lean-to south (on the AT) of Spaulding & North of Saddleback. Did she get off the trail there or after coming off Spaulding & Sugarloaf? Many of us have been in this area from Route 27 on the way to Reddington or from the CVR & know that landmark.

    My initial thoughts were, how could you get lost following white blazes & how far off trail you'd go, but if you bushwhack from the woods there & then got turned around you wander downhill following a stream and end up in the logged area above CVR & maybe it gets confusing with many paths through there could be confusing. Many of us have read Trip reports on figuring how to get to Redington from either the Crockers or from CVR.

    It's a sad case & while it's not much, at least she was able to leave a little something for her family so they have some words from her last days.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  10. #25
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Sharon, MA
    Posts
    557
    Here's another article: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hikers-t...ight-at-first/

    This one also says she had a map, compass, and several lighters. If true, I have to admit, even I'm surprised. Even with truly minimal knowledge of how to use these items, I'm amazed this story turned out the way it did. I'm not suggesting a conspiracy of any kind, I'm suggesting either she didn't possess this minimal knowledge, or she was in a state of mind in which she could not apply that knowledge. I suspect it's the former, but a tendancy towards panic/anxiety certainly would not help matters (I speak from experience there).

    Reminds me of the first winter hikes I did, years ago. I religiously carried an ice axe because I had read it was 'required gear' in the winter. Good thing I had that for, say, Passaconaway and Hale, which were among my first couple of winter 4k'ers.

    I think many of us agree that safety and survival depend not just on equipment, but on the ability to use it effectively and appropriately, or to improvise when needed. Having now read most of the articles related to this incident, it now seems to me she lacked this basic knowledge. With several lighters, how could you fail to start a signal fire? With a keychain compass, how could you fail to point yourself in the most obvious direction and just start walking? Even if thick, one would become unlost in a relatively short amount of time.

    On a more positive note, I salute people who push themselves within reason out of their comfort zone to do something that is important to them. The evidence suggests to me that hiking the AT was well outside her comfort zone - it was a risk and a challenge. Even with all we know, there is something to be commended there. Obviously we can (and have) debated how far outside one's comfort zone one should push themselves. I remain sorry this story turned out this way, and I wish those she left behind peace.
    Sure. Why not.

  11. #26
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    AHH....SKYLINE
    Posts
    394
    I can tell you being the same age as her it isn't easy to get along in life for some of us. And if I remember correctly one article quotes her friends who said she use to get lost or couldn't follow the trail well. So she had some issues going on which no doubt led to her death. So watch out for to criticize her for not knowing how to or why didn't she ideas. It seems to me she suffered from a form of mind loss or reasoning abilities. Maybe she shouldn't of been on the trail but shit happens. Ask me how I know.

  12. #27
    Senior Member Trail Boss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Montréal, QC
    Posts
    234
    I hear you but it seems to me that one should equally "watch out" for criticizing her mental faculties.

    The only "issue" I see she had was the one common to many so-called "experienced trail-hikers", namely they can't navigate off-trail. They're expert trail-followers but out of sight of one they become babes in the woods.

    BTW, it was such a revelation to read Facebook posts by hikers concluding what happened to Gerry is a good reason to relieve oneself by trailside and not venture into the woods. Uh-huh. An excellent demonstration of one's mental fitness, right there.

  13. #28
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    288
    While reading a related thread on another forum I saw a post with a link to a paper on lost person behavior: http://www.smcmsar.org/downloads/Los...20Behavior.pdf The paper, at 30 pages, is a bit legthy but I found it quite interesting. It postulates that lost people basically go through 5 stages:

    In Stage One you deny that you're disoriented; in Stage Two you panic when you admit that you're lost; in Stage Three you calm down and form a strategy; in Stage Four you deteriorate both mentally and physically, as your strategy fails to get you out; and in Stage Five you become resigned to your plight as you run out of options.
    Apparently, the paper is more that 15 years old and the author subsequently wrote a book titled "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why" that I am planning to put at the top of my reading list.

  14. #29
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    NH Seacoast
    Posts
    1,542
    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    While reading a related thread on another forum I saw a post with a link to a paper on lost person behavior: http://www.smcmsar.org/downloads/Los...20Behavior.pdf The paper, at 30 pages, is a bit legthy but I found it quite interesting. It postulates that lost people basically go through 5 stages:



    Apparently, the paper is more that 15 years old and the author subsequently wrote a book titled "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why" that I am planning to put at the top of my reading list.
    One of the most compelling books I have read in the last 10 years. An outstanding read full of analysis on people's behavior in emergency situations. The author truly did his leg work and has a depth of understanding of human behavior that makes this hard to put down. Lawrence Gonzales.

    I highly recommend this book.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

  15. #30
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Tillson, New York Avatar: Dress for success!
    Posts
    6,440
    I've heard that a lack of food can make people lose their mental faculties quickly. Just tossing that out there...
    Tom Rankin
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO
    Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •