A Canadian man’s body was found on the Appalachian Trail Sunday evening in Wyman Township in Franklin County after investigators said he apparently died of a medical problem while hiking alone.

The Maine Warden Service is investigating circumstances surrounding the death of Gerald Gabon, 55, of Milton, Ontario.

Gabon’s body was discovered at about 4:45 p.m. Sunday, according to Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service.

Sgt. Terry Hughes of the Maine Warden Service said by phone Monday morning that Gabon’s body was found by another hiker along the Appalachian Trail as it makes its way through the rugged terrain of Franklin County.

The cause of death was not yet known Monday, but MacDonald said it appeared initially that the man may have suffered “medical complications” as he hiked the trail. The body, which was lifted out by a Maine Army National Guard helicopter, is being taken to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta for an autopsy.

“He was an avid hiker, known to travel all over to hike rough terrain,” MacDonald said Monday afternoon.


The area is close to where Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine Largay was last seen alive in 2013. Largay was reported missing on July 24, 2013, after she failed to appear at a designated meeting with her husband, George, the previous day where the trail crosses Route 27 in Wyman Township. In October 2015, her remains were found in her zipped sleeping bag inside of her tent at a campsite she had set up about a mile from the trail in Redington Township. She died from a lack of food and water, according to the medical examiner’s report.

MacDonald said that section of the Appalachian Trail can be among the roughest sections of the trail. MacDonald said Gabon’s body was found about 3 miles north of Route 27 on the Bigelow Preserve side of the highway, whereas Largay’s body was found on the south side of Route 27.

Every year, about 28 Appalachian Trail hikers get lost in Maine, Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service said shortly after Largay was reported missing.

Most are found quickly: 95 percent of the time, searchers find them in 12 hours. Within 24 hours, 98 percent of lost hikers are found. Adam was not available for comment on the recent death on Monday. MacDonald said deaths along the AT in Maine are rare.

According to an Appalachian Trail blogspot, there were 11 reported deaths along the 2,200-mile trail that crosses 14 states from Georgia to Maine, from 2010 through 2013, not including Largay and Sunday night’s accident. The deaths include a hiker who died after falling and hitting his head on the AT in Carrying Place Township in 2011 in Franklin County and a hiker who drowned in Pierce Pond in Somerset County in June 2012.

Lester Kenway, of Bangor, president of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, said he knows of only three “fatal events” along the 267 miles of the AT in Maine since 2012 — the Pierce Pond incident, Geraldine Largay and Sunday night’s accident. He said there are fewer than one death per year on the trail in Maine.


He said Sunday’s incident occurred about 16 miles — a two-day hike — from where Largay’s body was found in her sleeping bag. Kenway said a trail hiker can expect to travel 8 to 10 miles per day.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367



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