hikers

Photo Of The Day

Molly LaRue and Geoff Hood in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1990, with Cove Mountain in the background. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Howell

Molly LaRue and Geoff Hood in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1990, with Cove Mountain in the background. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Howell

Murder on the Appalachian Trail

Twenty-six years ago, a grisly double homicide on America?s most famous hiking route shocked the nation and forever changed their?ideas about crime, violence, and safety in the outdoors.

They were known to hikers as Nalgene and Cleavis.

They were two young lovers engaged to be married who were sharing an adventure down the Appalachian Trail until they crossed paths with Paul David Crews.

Molly LaRue and Geoffrey Logan Hood had camped for the night in a wooden lean-to known as the Thelma Marks Shelter a few miles outside Duncannon. The three-sided structure was nestled among birch, poplar and oak trees on the south side of Cove Mountain about 30 feet below the trail that runs from Maine to Georgia.

?They were caught off-guard and somebody attacked them … sometime before dawn,? Perry County Coroner Michael Shalonis told reporters after the bodies were found on Sept. 13, 1990.

?It is a quiet, restorative place, this clearing high on a Pennsylvania ridge. Ferns and wildflowers carpet its floor. Sassafras and tulip trees, tall oak and hickory stand tight at its sides, their leaves hissing in breezes that sweep from the valley below. Cloistered from civilization by a steep 900-foot climb over loose and jutting rock, the glade goes unseen by most everyone but a straggle of hikers on the Appalachian Trail, the 2,180-mile footpath carved into the roofs of 14 eastern states.

Those travellers have rested here for more than half a century. At the clearing?s edge stands an open-faced shelter of heavy timber, one of 260 huts built roughly a day?s walk apart on the AT?s wriggling, roller-coaster course from Maine to Georgia. It?s tall and airy and skylit, with a deep porch, two tiers of wooden bunks, and a picnic table.

A few feet away stood the ancient log lean-to it replaced. When I visited this past spring, saplings and tangled brier so colonized the old shelter?s footprint that I might have missed it, had I not slept there myself. Twenty-six?summers ago, I pulled into what was called the Thelma Marks shelter, near the halfway point of a southbound through-hike. I met a stranger in the old lean-to, talked with him under its low roof as we fired up our stoves and cooked dinner.

Eight nights later, a southbound couple I?d befriended early in my hike followed me into Thelma Marks. They met a stranger there, too.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: ? Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest. " The Diver Magic Kingdom "is the title of this picture, which won the third prize. It was taken at Gr?ner See, a lake of Styria in Austria, which saw its level rise of 10 meters during the spring snow melt. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, overwhelms hiking trails, meadows and trees, creating this magical landscape to admire, especially scuba diving.

Photo: ? Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest.
” The Diver Magic Kingdom “is the title of this picture, which won the third prize. It was taken at Gr?ner See, a lake of Styria in Austria, which saw its level rise of 10 meters during the spring snow melt. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, overwhelms hiking trails, meadows and trees, creating this magical landscape to admire, especially scuba diving.

?The Diver Magic Kingdom?

Gr?ner See: The Green Lake of Trag??

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