Jeff Ryan, Author & Speaker

New Book About Geraldine Largay’s Tragedy on the Appalachian Trail

As an AT hiker and a Mainer who is particularly familiar with the area where Geraldine Largay got lost on the AT, I am pleased to see a book coming out entitled When you Find My Body, that delves into the subject at greater length.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Gerry Largay became lost on a section of the Appalachian Trail adjacent to the U.S. Navy’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) School—a remote area where troops are taught survival skills. Largay wandered off the trail in an area where the spruce growth is particularly thick, even by Maine woods standards, and can easily disorient those without navigational skills.

Authorities searched for Geraldine Largay for over a year without luck. Finally after two years some forest surveyors happened upon her body. She had sat in her tent waiting for help that never came (although searchers had come really close).

Much has been written about the decisions Gealdine Largay made that led to her tragedy or could have made to prevent it. To be sure, this tragedy seemed to be particularly avoidable and has lessons for us all. Author D. Dauphinee, part of the largest search and rescue team assembled in Maine history explores what caused Gerry to go astray and the lessons of perseverance and faith she learned while facing her final days. Yet, while the story of Geraldine Largay could linger as a sorrowful one, we are reminded why she came to the trail in the first place and how much she cared for her family and friends—all poigniantly left by her in the form of letters of gratitude.

When You Find My Body is available for pre-order from Amazon with a shipping date of June 1, 2019.  

More on the subject of staying found


If you are interested in learning more about staying on the trail, my blog post Lost No More: How to stay on the trail and what to dio when you get off it covers the subject by considering:

  • The reasons we get lost in the first place
  • Hamdy tips for finding our way back to the trail
  • What to do if we can’t find our way back to the trail
  • Four lessons I’ve learned from getting off trail
See also  What You Need for an Appalachian Trail Hike - Part 2


In the same genre, Ty Gagne’s book Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decisions and the Last Climb of Kate Matrisova explores the subject of how a climber lost her life on New Hampshire’s White Mountains and why our need to be objective is most important when our margin for error is least.

Author Ty Gagne has spent his professional life in the field of risk assessment. As such, he brings a unique perspective into the decisions Kate Matrisova could have made and did make on her fateful journey into the brutal winter conditions of Mount Washington’s alpine zone.   

Jeffrey H Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer and historian. He has written several books about his outdoor exploits, his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His debut book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America's trail was hailed by the former Executive Editor of National Geographic as "a classic of nature and travel writing" and set off a national tour (in a 1985 VW camper, no less). His books are known for weaving a deep appreciation for history into walks across contemporary landscapes that give readers the feeling they are hiking right alongside. When Jeff isn't trekking, chasing down a great story or spinning yarns from his keyboard, he enjoys sharing his adventures with audiences who love the outdoors. He spends much of his time in his beloved native state of Maine.

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