A 45-year-old thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail died last week on the New Hampshire border in an apparent drowning.
Joe “Kanga” Harvey, of Prentiss, Mississippi, was last spotted heading towards the Connecticut River on Wednesday, September 7, at about 7:30 P.M. from Vermont’s Happy Hill Shelter. Police in nearby Norwich, Vermont, reported that they received a call the following morning, alerting them that a man had gone missing. Authorities eventually dispatched a diving team to the river, and they recovered Harvey’s body on Friday, September 9, and pronounced him dead on the scene.
Harvey was active on social media, frequently sharing his hiking experiences on TikTok. He had been thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail while scattering his father’s ashes at iconic locations along the trail. His last post was on the day he went missing.
@joeyharve Have a great day! Enjoy 😉 #love #nature #backpacking #tentlife #camping #outdoors #heyyall #checkitout #fyp #fypシ #foryou #adventure #appalachiantrail #appalachiantrail #mountains #mountain #atnobo2022 #hikertrash #summit #people #foryourpage #getoutside #outdoorsventures ♬ original sound – Joey Harvey
Death on the Appalachian Trail is a rare occurrence, and death by drowning is even less common. Some estimates suggest that between 2-3 million people step foot on the Appalachian Trail every year. But just two to three people die along the 2,200-mile trail annually, with the majority of those deaths related to health conditions or falls.
But drownings have happened before. In 2015, a hiker took a dip in Maine’s West Carry Pond, just a few miles from 5,260-foot Mount Katahdin, and he disappeared below the surface and never came back up. And in 2012, a Louisiana man and his son died in an apparent drowning at the Laurel Fork Falls in Tennessee.
While the cause of Harvey’s death is still under investigation, authorities do not suspect foul play.