When You Find My Body: The Disappearance of Geraldine Largay on the Appalachian Trail

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: D. Dauphinee

Narrated By: Traci Odom

Publisher: Tantor Media

Date: June 2019

Duration: 6 hours 23 minutes

Summary:

When Geraldine 'Gerry' Largay first went missing on the Appalachian Trail in remote western Maine in 2013, the people of Maine were wrought with concern. When she was not found, the family, the wardens, and the Navy personnel who searched for her were devastated. The Maine Warden Service continued to follow leads for more than a year. They never completely gave up the search. Two years after her disappearance, her bones and scattered possessions were found by chance by two surveyors. She was on the U.S. Navy's SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) School land, about 2,100 feet from the Appalachian Trail.

This book tells the story of events preceding Geraldine Largay's vanishing in July 2013, while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine, what caused her to go astray, and the massive search and rescue operation that followed. Her disappearance sparked the largest lost-person search in Maine history, which culminated in her being presumed dead. She was never again seen alive. The author was one of the hundreds of volunteers who searched for her. Gerry's story is one of heartbreak, most assuredly, but is also one of perseverance, determination, and faith. For her family and the searchers, especially the Maine Warden Service, it is also a story of grave sorrow.

Genres:

  • Audrey C.

    I listened to the audiobook three times, which is read with a pace and the sense of urgency the situation called for. I then read the hardcopy cover to cover, pondering over the epigraphs which emphatically introduce each chapter. As an avid, elite hiker, filled with wanderlust, this story struck a deep chord. Dauphinee’s book recounts the facts of Gerry Largay’s disappearance. Largay was last seen on July 22, 2013, leaving the Poplar Ridge lean-to. More than two years later, Gerry’s body was found by a contractor conducting a forestry survey. Chief Medical Examiner determined her death accidental due to lack of food and water as well as environmental exposure. Along with her remains, was her journal. The last ghostly passage made public - “When you find my body, please call my husband George … and my daughter Kerry. It would be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me—no matter how many years from now.” Dauphinee was entrusted with Gerry’s personal information, and he has read her eloquent and lucid entries. Though her story is somber, Dauphinee preserves her vivaciousness. Well researched, this memoir brings much credibility to her story. For example, Dauphinee learned what it was like to be lost in the Maine woods by drawing upon the personal experience of Donn Fendler, who eighty years ago at age 12, was lost for nine days near Katahdin. Dauphinee is a truth-seeker and delivers with tact, grace, and honesty while preserving Largay’s dignity and confidentiality. What really moves me is that he does all this without interviewing the family. He gave them space and the respect they need, and he did the hard work dissecting Gerry’s journal entries and interviewing countless search and rescue leaders, game wardens, as well as various fellow hikers. Numerous emails, trips, library research. Structurally, the book spirals and comes back around to include these many thoughtful viewpoints. Cover to cover it is about a 4-hour read. The brevity amplifies truth and seals it in our mind. Through his in-depth research, Dauphinee dispels many of the rumors circulating about her disappearance. He debunks several conspiracy theories: the husband did it, the Navy SERES did it, she did it, etc. He discusses how to be prepared to be in the woods, how to prepare in the event of being lost, and the psychological factors that come to play when lost. Dauphinee answers the questions: Why were the search parties futile? Why were the canine search teams ineffective? Why were the aerial efforts pointless?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jennifer J.

    The writing is great, and the narration is good, although the narrator spoke a little too quickly for my taste, and as a result I found myself having to rewind several times to catch certain things. I really appreciate the author's attention to detail and dedication to researching the subject, and sticking to the known facts of the case while dispelling some of the myths that were surrounding it. I only recently learned of this case through listening to podcasts about strange wilderness disappearances (which admittedly sometimes delve into the territory of cryptozoology or the paranormal and such), and while I'm not willing to completely dismiss all of the claims that have been made that seem to point to such things possibly existing, I'm glad the author of this story chose to highlight the problems with trusting supposed psychics to help with missing persons cases, as well as showing us how simple human error is more often than not the real culprit behind such disappearances. On the subject of psychics in particular, which the author covers a bit to show how ineffective they were at helping to find Gerry, my take on them is that even if there are some real ones that do exist, there is no reliable way for us to distinguish them from either the charlatans who are knowingly faking it, or those who falsely believe themselves to be psychics when they actually are not. There are just too many cases like Gerry's where supposed psychics only succeeded at sending investigators in the wrong direction and thereby wasted precious resources, and quite possibly just put the victim in more danger as a result. The bottom line is that this book is a must-read (or a must-listen-to) for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and plans to spend any significant amount of time in the wilderness or remote areas, or has any loved-ones who do so. While Gerry's story is heartbreaking, there are very important lessons to be learned from it, many of which are lessons we have already learned (as a species) long ago, but have since forgotten. For example, the simple fact that you need to have a decent compass with you at all times, no matter how well you think you know the area, or even if you only plan to stay on well-marked trails, and know how to use it, along with several other simple points like once you find a stream, follow it downstream if you are lost, and stay put as soon as you realize you're lost, but only up to a point until it becomes clear you are not being found in time, and so on. The thing that gets me the most about this case is how Gerry was smart enough and did enough of the right things to survive for nearly a month all by herself in some very harsh terrain, but ended up dying of starvation in a spot that was less than 2 miles from a road that the stream she had camped right beside of could have led her straight to, in less than an hour of walking distance even for sometime in her condition. So very sad.

  • L B.

    When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee. From the moment I heard about a book being written about Geraldine Largay I was intrigued, I was among the numerous people praying for a joyous outcome for a woman lost on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. The second reason was the author is someone that I have known for about 17 years and was excited to read his book. This book and this author did not disappoint me. I knew bits and pieces of the story of Geraldine Largay and the outcome from all the media coverage. What I did not expect was to feel as thou I was traveling the Appalachian Trail with Geraldine (inchworm) and experiencing all that she experienced. I found myself forgetting the true outcome and feeling that at any moment Geraldine was going to be found. Thank you for sharing the history of the Appalachian Trail and the personal story of Geraldine. I would recommend this book to everyone that is considering hiking.

When You Find My Body: The Disappearance of Geraldine Largay on the Appalachian Trail

by D. Dauphinee

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When You Find My Body: The Disappearance of Geraldine Largay on the Appalachian Trail, D. Dauphinee
When You Find My Body: The Disappearance of Geraldine Largay on the Appalachian Trail, D. Dauphinee
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