Day 96

​Day- 96

Date- 7-20-16

Location- Sierra City

Elevation- 4,577 ft

Distance Traveled Today- 18.2 miles

Distance Traveled Total- 1,195.4 miles

Weather/Temp- clear,  70s

Injuries- none

Pain level- low

Spirits/Morale- still zen

Days without shower- 1

Hunger/craving- low

Thoughts/Stories-
I woke up and decided to sleep in.  I got out of the nest at 7:30 and was hiking by 7:40. After about 10 minutes of warm up walking,  I hit a comfortable power stride,  and didn’t stop for more than 15 miles.  I passed more hikers today than I’ve seen since starting out from Tahoe. I even ran into a hiker that I knew from the AT in 2014; El Queso Grande. I didn’t recognize him at first, but he recognized me.  As soon as he told me his name,  I recognized/remembered hiking around him back in Pennsylvania for a while. Sadly,  he informed me that he was quitting this trail as soon as he got into Sierra City.  I asked him why,  and he cited that he didn’t much care for this trail. He said he was bored with it,  and didn’t want to waste anymore money. Yet another AT hiker dropping out due to missed expectations. I truly do feel for the former AT hikers out here.  If you come out to this trail looking for the same experience you had on the AT, you will be sorely disappointed. That being said,  the experience is what you make of it.  Accept this trail for what it is, and meet its unique challenges.  

The trail has become fairly mundane since the High Sierra.  You walk through mostly pine and oak forest,  every now and then passing through a Meadow,  or over a barren ridge. There’s not really a whole lot to distract you, so it’s easy to focus on “just hiking.”

I had over 15 miles before noon, stopped to get water and rest for about 20 mins,  then finished up over 3 more miles to the road leading into Sierra City by 1:30.  Over 18 miles completed before 2pm,  this was a new personal record. I walked the 1.5 miles into town,  and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.  The name Sierra City is very misleading. Maybe when it was founded in the 1800s it could have been a city,  but the entire town resides on a very short stretch of road, and looks like something from a time long past.    

I walked down to country store,  had a cold drink,  ordered a 1 pound burger (the gutbuster) and a 3 pound burrito (the really big breedo), then proceeded to put myself in a food coma. I sat around on the front porch and made conversation with the other hikers in town.  There were several that I hadn’t seen since very early in the desert,  so I was faced with a lot of “where’s katana?” questions. I had to explain what happened to her probably 4 times; really not fun for me to continue to have the same conversation about her,  answering the same questions over and over,  every time I run into someone that recognizes me from when I had her. I won’t blow anyone off, but it really is getting old quick. 

I liked the atmosphere here so much,  that I decided to stay.  I’m cowboys camped on top of a concrete picnic table, next to a church,  just down the road from the store; classy. 

I’m 120 miles from the halfway monument of this trail.  I’m also 4 days away from my 100th day of this endeavor.  I hit the halfway monument of the AT on my 100th day,  and I think it would be really cool to do the same out here.  That means a 30 mile per day average for the next 4 days. Once again, I’m not promising myself anything,  but we’ll see how it plays out.  With the miles I’ve been putting up so early in the day, as well as on half days lately, I should have no problem doing it, lest I get distracted on the way…

5 Comments

  1. Interesting assessment of the AT vs. PCT in these last few posts. I wonder how much of the culture difference between the two trails you are experiencing is related to the timing (2016 vs. several years ago), given that there are so many more “thru-hikers” now, and many that seem less dedicated to hiking. I suspect this slacker style has taken over the AT as well, but maybe much less so if the PCT is viewed as having more of a fun, party atmosphere. In that case maybe the PCT simply attracts more of those people to begin with.

    Having said that, even years ago people who hiked both trails mention distinct culture differences between the two, and of course the terrain differences.

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  2. I have lots of faith in you! If anyone can, its you! Pulling for you here from south Alabama. Was in your beautiful home town last weekend,, So sorry you lost katana!

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  3. Hi Kyle. Congratulations on thruhiking the AT and even more props to you, and Katana, for jumping into the PCT. I’m almost through your AT book, in fact you’re currently in Maine and just wrote about “inchworm”. Since you’ve been on the PCT you probably haven’t read that her body was actually found in October 2015 not far from the AT trail. I thought you would be interested in the article since you put her in your book. It’s actually a very chilling story and should give every hiker a word of warning of just how easy it can be to get turned around out there. So, I’ll post a link below but also copy and paste the text in case you don’t trust links. Be safe out there.

    A fellow hiker. -James

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/05/25/hiker-who-died-after-disappearing-from-appalachian-trail-survived-for-weeks/KAcHuKSdYVHNTNu0qQobvK/story.html

    ‘When you find my body, please call my husband,’ missing hiker wrote.

    Geraldine Largay (right), with her husband George.
    The haunting note, dated Aug. 6, 2013, was written on a torn-out page from a journal.

    “When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry. It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me — no matter how many years from now. Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them.”

    Advertisement

    The bag included a cellphone and the journal.

    Geraldine Largay wrote the plaintive message to her family nearly two weeks after she went missing while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Western Maine, according to the official file on her disappearance released Wednesday by the Maine Warden Service.

    It appears that Largay, who was 66 and lived in Tennessee, survived for nearly four weeks after she was reported missing and three weeks after authorities had given up the search, which was one of the largest in Maine Warden Service history.

    Rescuers at several times came within 100 yards of her, authorities said. But her body was not found until October 2015.

    In the wardens’ file, which totals 1,579 pages, authorities said they believed that Largay went off the trail to use the bathroom and couldn’t find her way back. The site is densely wooded and in an area so remote it’s used by the Navy for survival and evasion training.

    Advertisement

    The file also says wardens found evidence that Largay attempted to text her husband after becoming lost, but the crucial texts were not delivered because of poor cell reception.

    In a text sent at 11:01 a.m. on July 22, 2013, Largay said, “In somm trouble. Got off trail to go to br. Now lost. Can u call AMC to c if a trail maintainer can help me. Somewhere north of woods road. XOX.”

    At 4:18 p.m. on July 23, 2013, after spending her first night lost in the forest, she texted George, “Lost since yesterday. Off trail 3 or 4 miles. Call police for what to do pls. XOX.”

    She attempted additional texts. According to the wardens, the last activity on her phone was dated Aug. 6, 2013, the day she wrote the note to her family.

    The last entry in her journal is dated Aug. 18, meaning she apparently survived at least 26 days after she disappeared.

    The wardens concluded that Largay made her way to higher ground in an attempt to get better cell coverage. She established a campground on a knoll.

    She set up her tent and made use of both her rain gear and an emergency Mylar blanket.

    She appeared to have crafted a flag out of a branch and shirt and attempted to start a large fire, according to the newly released file, presumably to reveal her location.

    Largay built a latrine area away from her tent and kept wrappers from her dwindling food supply — Clif bars, tuna fish packs, and Gatorade powder — tucked in a large Ziploc bag.

    Wardens found a rosary among her possessions. She was just a 10-minute walk from a dirt trail that turns into a road. She died from a lack of food and environmental exposure.​

    Largay’s family requested privacy Wednesday while they took the time to read the file in depth.

    John MacDonald, spokesman for the warden service, said Wednesday that the agency is drafting a statement regarding the release of the file that will be issued at a later date.

    He also said no internal review of the warden’s search has been conducted or is planned at this time.

    Deb Palman, who established the wardens’ K-9 search unit and currently heads up Maine’s only independent K-9 search firm, says conditions in the area made a successful search all but impossible.

    “This is some of the worst country in Maine,” Palman said. “It’s hard to understand how logistically difficult this area was. On any given day, by the time a searcher would get close to where Largay was found, they’d have to turn around to make it back to their vehicles by nightfall.”

    The release of the file is the latest chapter in the disappearance that has transfixed the region and the large community of hikers who traverse the Appalachian Trail.

    Largay, an experienced hiker whose trail moniker was “Inchworm,” had started hiking the trail in April 2013 with her hiking partner, Jane Lee.

    Their plan was to hike from Harpers Ferry, W. Va., to Maine’s Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the trail.

    A family emergency forced Lee to leave the trail as the duo crossed into New Hampshire. Largay continued to hike solo. An old back injury prevented her from carrying a full backpack, so her husband would meet her along the way with fresh supplies.

    George Largay last saw his wife on the morning of Sunday, July 21.

    On that day, Geraldine Largay set out on what was to be a three-day hike beginning near Maine’s Saddleback Mountain and terminating just north of the Sugarloaf Ski Resort.

    She was due to meet her husband at a parking lot off Route 27 there.

    He arrived at the appointed time but was not able to locate Largay. Thinking that a severe rainstorm the day before might have waylaid her, he spent that night in their vehicle, hoping she would arrive.

    The next morning, he hailed a State Police officer driving by and reported her missing.

    According to the file, Largay established a campsite atop a knoll located on property owned by the Navy as part of their Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape school located there. She would stay there for the remaining days of her life.

    The site, located near a stream, was thoughtful and orderly.

    Largay built a platform of logs and pine boughs on which to pitch her tent.

    While at the site, she also used a small black composition book as a daily journal. The cover of the journal includes what might have been Largay’s last written words: “George please read. Xoxo.”

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  4. I’ve been reading your AT book and last night I read the part about “inchworm”, the missing thru hiker in Maine. Well, it jogged my memory about an article I read a couple months ago about a woman who’s body Had been found in Maine along the section of trail you were writing about. I have no doubt it’s the same woman. It’s a chilling and sobering article about just how easy it can be to lose your way in the woods, and the repercussions as well. I thought you would be interested in learning about her fate, so I’ve copied the article below. Stay safe out there and give Katana a good scratch.

    A fellow hiker. – James

    ‘When you find my body, please call my husband,’ missing hiker wrote

    Geraldine Largay (right), with her husband George.
    The haunting note, dated Aug. 6, 2013, was written on a torn-out page from a journal.

    “When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry. It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me — no matter how many years from now. Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them.”

    Advertisement

    The bag included a cellphone and the journal.

    Geraldine Largay wrote the plaintive message to her family nearly two weeks after she went missing while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Western Maine, according to the official file on her disappearance released Wednesday by the Maine Warden Service.

    It appears that Largay, who was 66 and lived in Tennessee, survived for nearly four weeks after she was reported missing and three weeks after authorities had given up the search, which was one of the largest in Maine Warden Service history.

    Rescuers at several times came within 100 yards of her, authorities said. But her body was not found until October 2015.

    In the wardens’ file, which totals 1,579 pages, authorities said they believed that Largay went off the trail to use the bathroom and couldn’t find her way back. The site is densely wooded and in an area so remote it’s used by the Navy for survival and evasion training.

    Advertisement

    The file also says wardens found evidence that Largay attempted to text her husband after becoming lost, but the crucial texts were not delivered because of poor cell reception.

    In a text sent at 11:01 a.m. on July 22, 2013, Largay said, “In somm trouble. Got off trail to go to br. Now lost. Can u call AMC to c if a trail maintainer can help me. Somewhere north of woods road. XOX.”

    At 4:18 p.m. on July 23, 2013, after spending her first night lost in the forest, she texted George, “Lost since yesterday. Off trail 3 or 4 miles. Call police for what to do pls. XOX.”

    She attempted additional texts. According to the wardens, the last activity on her phone was dated Aug. 6, 2013, the day she wrote the note to her family.

    The last entry in her journal is dated Aug. 18, meaning she apparently survived at least 26 days after she disappeared.

    The wardens concluded that Largay made her way to higher ground in an attempt to get better cell coverage. She established a campground on a knoll.

    She set up her tent and made use of both her rain gear and an emergency Mylar blanket.

    She appeared to have crafted a flag out of a branch and shirt and attempted to start a large fire, according to the newly released file, presumably to reveal her location.

    Largay built a latrine area away from her tent and kept wrappers from her dwindling food supply — Clif bars, tuna fish packs, and Gatorade powder — tucked in a large Ziploc bag.

    Wardens found a rosary among her possessions. She was just a 10-minute walk from a dirt trail that turns into a road. She died from a lack of food and environmental exposure.​

    Largay’s family requested privacy Wednesday while they took the time to read the file in depth.

    John MacDonald, spokesman for the warden service, said Wednesday that the agency is drafting a statement regarding the release of the file that will be issued at a later date.

    He also said no internal review of the warden’s search has been conducted or is planned at this time.

    Deb Palman, who established the wardens’ K-9 search unit and currently heads up Maine’s only independent K-9 search firm, says conditions in the area made a successful search all but impossible.

    “This is some of the worst country in Maine,” Palman said. “It’s hard to understand how logistically difficult this area was. On any given day, by the time a searcher would get close to where Largay was found, they’d have to turn around to make it back to their vehicles by nightfall.”

    The release of the file is the latest chapter in the disappearance that has transfixed the region and the large community of hikers who traverse the Appalachian Trail.

    Largay, an experienced hiker whose trail moniker was “Inchworm,” had started hiking the trail in April 2013 with her hiking partner, Jane Lee.

    Their plan was to hike from Harpers Ferry, W. Va., to Maine’s Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the trail.

    A family emergency forced Lee to leave the trail as the duo crossed into New Hampshire. Largay continued to hike solo. An old back injury prevented her from carrying a full backpack, so her husband would meet her along the way with fresh supplies.

    George Largay last saw his wife on the morning of Sunday, July 21.

    On that day, Geraldine Largay set out on what was to be a three-day hike beginning near Maine’s Saddleback Mountain and terminating just north of the Sugarloaf Ski Resort.

    She was due to meet her husband at a parking lot off Route 27 there.

    He arrived at the appointed time but was not able to locate Largay. Thinking that a severe rainstorm the day before might have waylaid her, he spent that night in their vehicle, hoping she would arrive.

    The next morning, he hailed a State Police officer driving by and reported her missing.

    According to the file, Largay established a campsite atop a knoll located on property owned by the Navy as part of their Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape school located there. She would stay there for the remaining days of her life.

    The site, located near a stream, was thoughtful and orderly.

    Largay built a platform of logs and pine boughs on which to pitch her tent.

    While at the site, she also used a small black composition book as a daily journal. The cover of the journal includes what might have been Largay’s last written words: “George please read. Xoxo.”

    Like

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