Crime: Hikers Take to the Appalachian Trail to Escape the Real World. This Time, They Couldn’t. - PressFrom - US
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CrimeHikers Take to the Appalachian Trail to Escape the Real World. This Time, They Couldn’t.

06:10  16 may  2019
06:10  16 may  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

Man charged in deadly attack on Appalachian trail hikers in Virginia

Man charged in deadly attack on Appalachian trail hikers in Virginia A Massachusetts man was charged on Monday with murder and assault for allegedly killing one person and severely injuring another in a machete attack on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, according to papers filed in federal court. The suspect, James Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was charged with one count of murder and one count of assault with intent to murder. Jordan was scheduled to appear in court on Monday morning in the U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia.

This Time , They Couldn ’ t . — The hikers who embark on the Appalachian Trail are less a community than an extended family, an outdoorsy hive that trades gossip, commiserates, treats blisters and shares provisions along 2,190-odd miles of narrow dirt path stretching from Georgia to Maine.

This Time , They Couldn ’ t . ASHBY GAP, Va. — The hikers who embark on the Appalachian Trail are less a community than an extended family, an outdoorsy hive that trades gossip, commiserates, treats blisters and shares provisions along 2,190-odd miles of narrow dirt path stretching from Georgia

Hikers Take to the Appalachian Trail to Escape the Real World. This Time, They Couldn’t.© Samuel Corum for The New York Times A hiker on the Appalachian Trail just north of Ashby Gap in Virginia.

ASHBY GAP, Va. — The hikers who embark on the Appalachian Trail are less a community than an extended family, an outdoorsy hive that trades gossip, commiserates, treats blisters and shares provisions along 2,190-odd miles of narrow dirt path stretching from Georgia to Maine.

So word spread quickly last month after a disheveled 30-year-old man appeared on the trail in North Carolina, acting erratically and clad in a heavy winter coat and knit cap instead of the usual shorts and T-shirt.

Hikers filled log books along the trail with cautions after the man was arrested on April 25 at the Tennessee-North Carolina border, apparently after threatening to kill his dog unless campers gave him food. When he reached Damascus, Va., the symbolic heart of the trail, in early May, the town’s “trail angels” — people who regularly help hikers with gifts of food and other necessities — tried to help him, too.

Man attacked hikers on Appalachian Trail with large knife, killing one

Man attacked hikers on Appalachian Trail with large knife, killing one A Massachusetts man allegedly stabbed two hikers on the Appalachian Trail, killing one, injuring the other. James Louis Jordan, 30, was arrested Saturday after attacking a male and female hiker with a large knife. He’s been charged with murder and assault with intent to murder. The victims’ names have not been released, but the man was confirmed dead, and the woman suffered severe stab wounds, according to authorities. Reports surfaced of a man with a large knife and a dog who had threatened a group of four hikers on Friday night, according to The Washington Post.

The Appalachian Trail winds about 2,168 miles from Georgia to Maine. Most hikers begin at Springer Mountain in Georgia in the spring and head north to the trail ’s terminus at Mount Katahdin in Maine because the northern mountain is frequently snowy and cold well into the spring.

A typical thru- hiker takes 5 to 7 months to hike the entire A. T . More important than hiking the Appalachian Trail (A. T .) is how you hike the A. T . Check out And if you're helping hikers , explore Trail magic to help you enjoy the A. T . without negatively impacting the environment and other hikers .

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“A couple of folks pulled him aside and said, ‘Hey, the trail’s not your place,’” said Ben Bolek, a 35-year-old from Austin, Tex., who quit his job this spring to make the hike. “‘Can we get you a bus ticket?’”

But the man, James L. Jordan of West Yarmouth, Mass., apparently traveled only a short distance before leaving the bus or being ejected from it, Mr. Bolek said. And about a week later, police officers charged him with the murder of one Appalachian Trail hiker and the stabbing of a second one at a remote spot on the trail in southwestern Virginia on Saturday.

Federal authorities on Tuesday identified the murdered man as Ronald S. Sanchez Jr., 43, of Oklahoma. The name of his female companion who was stabbed has not been released. Two other hikers who were traveling with the couple fled into the woods after the attacker chased them and threatened to set their tents on fire.

Sheriff says machete used in attacks on Appalachian Trail

Sheriff says machete used in attacks on Appalachian Trail A Virginia sheriff says a man attacked two people on the Appalachian Trail with a machete. WJHL reports that the Wythe County Sheriff's Office issued a statement Saturday saying two hikers reported that a man with a machete was assaulting people on the trail in Wythe County. A man and a woman were injured. Their names and conditions weren't immediately available. Deputies arrested a male suspect, whose name wasn't released. Sheriff Keith Dunagan previously said the man was assaulted early Saturday in Wythe County and the woman in Smyth County. The Appalachian Trail runs through the western tip of Wythe County.

The Appalachian Trail is no place to test new gear for the very first time . Be sure to give all of your equipment a try before you set out on your hike. If you can, take a weekend backpacking excursion along a local trail to make sure everything performs up to your expectations.

In a world where people depart from their old ways of life taking on a trail name is another way to escape the world left behind. 3. Hiker Parade at Trail Days. Photo credit Kenny Howell. This Appalachian Trail tradition has By the time hikers reach the Priest shelter just shy of the summit

For many on the trail on Monday, the shudder triggered by news of the murder seems to have lingered only briefly.

“It definitely upset me when I heard about it,” 32-year-old Amanda Gannon said as she settled into the spartan confines of Rod Hollow Shelter near Ashby Gap in Virginia after logging 23 rain-drenched miles for the day. “I was feeling so confident and really proud of myself, and it kind of made me get off my high horse for a little bit. On the trail, anything can happen. But anything could happen anywhere.”

Sacha Servan-Schreiber, 24, who said he was hiking the entire length of the trail before embarking on a computer-science doctorate, said he had met one couple who had left the path to take a bus from Tennessee to Virginia after the man threatened them. “They seemed pretty stressed,” he said.

Then again, he added, “the trail is probably safer, statistically speaking, than just walking down the road, even if something like this happens. It’s important to look at the bigger picture, in my opinion, and understand that a lot of people are going through here — a lot of people with different backgrounds.”

Appalachian Trail machete attack: Man arrested and charged in assault that killed one hiker

Appalachian Trail machete attack: Man arrested and charged in assault that killed one hiker A Massachusetts man faces a federal murder charge after he allegedly attacked two hikers on the Appalachian Trail, leaving one of them dead, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); James Jordan, 30, was arrested Saturday morning and charged with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder, the US Attorney's Office said in a statement.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), most hikers spend about ,000 a month, and the majority take nearly six months to complete their hike. Reentry fund: It’s tough to return to the “ real world .” Give yourself the time and money you need to get back to work.

Most thru- hikers take between five and seven months. The average is a week or two shy of six months. How can I avoid the crowds and still hike the entire Appalachian Trail (A. T .)? Other hikers start in Georgia in late April or early May and "flip" up to the northern terminus from somewhere in the middle.

Hikers Take to the Appalachian Trail to Escape the Real World. This Time, They Couldn’t.© Samuel Corum for The New York Times Amanda Gannon and Mr. Servan-Schreiber prepare to spend the night at the Rod Hollow Shelter along the Appalachian Trail just north of Ashby Gap.

The bigger picture is reassuring. Deaths along the trail are exceptionally rare, and killings even rarer; two to three million people hike all or part of the trail annually, yet Saturday’s murder was only the 10th in 45 years of record-keeping, according to a spokesman for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. (The trail was conceived in 1921 and completed in 1937.)

The trail’s travelers are an eclectic bunch, from dedicated outdoors-lovers to dreamers taking a break from life, but they are almost uniformly supportive and neighborly. Only some manage the entire length of the trail. Many more do 100 or 200 miles at a time, or less.

“Police officers, doctors,” Ms. Gannon said of the people she has met on the trail. “People that retired early. People that retired late. All sorts and all walks of life, from all over the U.S., Australia, the U.K. — like, everywhere.”

“The majority of the time, I’ve been telling people this has restored my faith in humanity,” she said.

A woman played dead to save herself from attacker on Appalachian Trail

A woman played dead to save herself from attacker on Appalachian Trail A woman played dead so she could fend off a knife-wielding man accused of killing a hiker and threatening others in two separate incidents along the Appalachian Trail, according to law enforcement. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The woman trekked six miles through a stretch of the trail in southwestern Virginia to report the attack early Saturday, according to court documents.

“On the Appalachian Trail , we have little subtle things, dehydration, norovirus from hikers spreading stomach flu to one another,” Mr. Graves said. You can expect to meet a number of people on the trail , and maybe you’ll make a friend or two. Park officials simply advise hikers to trust their instincts if

Hard Times (San Quentin). Robin Hood. Famous hikers over the years, for the most part, are known only by these names in the hiking community. This , I feel, is not only a true testament to the lasting effects the trail has on a person, but the closeness and communal nature of hikers in general.

Many of its hikers consider the trail — also known as “the A.T.” — a respite from civilization. Hikers take to the trail in part to get away from the news, and cellular service may be blessedly impossible for long stretches. The principal concerns are not politics or paychecks — and certainly not human attackers — but rain, cold and the occasional black bear.

The trail is empty enough to bask in its solitude, should one wish, and crowded enough to easily join others on the path or in a community slumber party at one of the many rudimentary shelters along the way. Devoted hikers are awarded trail names that allude to personal quirks or physical traits. Mr. Servan-Schreiber is “Scepter,” for the knife-hewn walking stick he totes; Ms. Gannon is “Axolotl,” a salamander nicknamed the walking fish — a coded reference to her love of swimming.

Mr. Jordan, the accused attacker, was called “Sovereign,” but he sometimes bridled at the name, insisting that his handle was “Night-owl” or “Tallahassee Red,” Mr. Bolek said.

The area where the attack occurred, near Massie Gap in deep southern Virginia, is a carpet of dense forest draped over softly rolling peaks that can top 5,000 feet, some of the state’s tallest. A section of the trail was closed over the weekend, following the attack, but had been reopened by Monday.

Cape Cod man charged in slaying on Appalachian trail was playing guitar before deadly attack

Cape Cod man charged in slaying on Appalachian trail was playing guitar before deadly attack The details were contained in an affidavit filed in US District Court in Abingdon, Va., where James Jordan, 30, was slated to make his initial court appearance Monday.

The information every aspiring Appalachian Trail long-distance hiker needs before hitting the Purist: A hiker who sticks to the official Appalachian Trail , being sure to pass every one of those 165,000 You can choose a trail name yourself, take your chances and let other hikers bestow a name upon

Writing to other hikers in the trail journals and even teaching some sign language along the way Although it took him slightly more than a year to complete the trail due to weather and other bad Harry Rost hiked the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to the top of Mount Washington in

Even in mid-May, daytime temperatures in the area may only reach the 40s, and oak trees are still leafing out amid the blooms of rhododendrons, flame azaleas and other wildflowers. Rocky creeks gurgle and zigzag through the hollows. Towns are few, small and far apart.

Hikers who encountered Mr. Jordan before Saturday’s attack said they feared for their safety.

Mr. Bolek said he encountered him “five or 10 times” over several weeks, including a late-April run-in at a southern Tennessee shelter packed with campers shortly after Tennessee authorities had released him.

Hikers Take to the Appalachian Trail to Escape the Real World. This Time, They Couldn’t.© Samuel Corum for The New York Times Ms. Gannon unpacks at the Rod Hollow Shelter along the Appalachian Trail.

“It was just weird, erratic behavior,” he said. “He had a dog bowl and accused us of stealing it from him. He started yelling at us, and I told him, ‘Hey, we know who you are. We’re not looking for any trouble. We don’t have your bowl. Just go back to your campsite and be on your way.’

“I felt the threat of violence wasn’t far away,” he said. “I spent half the night at the campfire awake, making sure he didn’t come back.”

Days later, Mr. Jordan was evicted from a hostel in Roan Mountain, Tenn., after insisting that “he was the keeper of the trail” and controlled entry to it, said Madeline Gossee, a 24-year-old Canadian hiker with the trail name “Pit Stop.” He was behaving erratically, she said, but “didn’t seem that dangerous.”

But authorities said that last weekend, less than two weeks later, a male hiker sent a distress signal on his mobile phone after being stabbed. His female companion played dead after being stabbed, then walked for six miles, assisted by other hikers, before getting medical treatment. Two other hikers called 911 early Saturday after being roused from their tents and fleeing a man who threatened to burn them to death.

On Monday, Mr. Jordan was charged in federal court with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia said. Mr. Jordan did not enter a plea, said Brian McGinn, a spokesman for the office.

At the Grayson Highlands General Store & Inn near the site of the attack, the owner, Dennis Conroy, 69, said he had just taken in some hikers who wanted to stop at least briefly to reconsider their plans. “They are concerned and getting off the trail,” he said. “Others are just marching on. Most are not concerned, but you never know.”

Nan K. Chase contributed reporting from Massie Gap, Va., and Christine Hauser from New York.

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