Another speculative scenario: maybe she had decided to embark on a new life and simply walked off the trail. Near where she was last seen, the Barnjum Road accesses the trail on the west side of Lone Mountain. Searchers used it to get to their designed rectangles for the grid effort.

Vehicles can drive up the road to within 1.4 miles of the trail. Then it’s an easy ATV ride or hike to a relatively low-altitude point on the AT. But unless someone picked her up with a car or truck, it’s then many miles on a confusing series of back roads to the nearest highway, State Route 142, near the small town of Phillips. She would have had to pass by numerous camps and houses — and then what?

George Largay said they were “very happily married for 42 years.” A slightly built, calm-seeming man, he was joined by Gerry’s sister, daughter, son-in-law, and two friends in holding big “Thank You” signs to encourage searchers as they left the Sugarloaf command post on the day of the grid search.

Lieutenant Adam said at his press conference on that day that he never knows “how far the human spirit will go.”

People lost in the woods can live for weeks without food if they are warm enough and have enough water. The Maine forest is filled with water and berries at this season, and Gerry Largay carried a sleeping bag and some food. Still, her chances of survival after two weeks are considered slim, especially if she were injured or sick.

On August 4, as searchers were hauled off their frustrating, fruitless grids, a rare double rainbow appeared over the bare crest of Mount Abraham. To some, it might seem a sign of hope. To this reporter, it seemed as if the indifferent beauty of nature were mocking the searchers — if Gerry was there amid those seemingly serene mountains.

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