The Missing Hikers No One Talks About

Because of where we live and what we do, we get a lot of questions about the 1994 disappearance of three students in the Black Hills Forest/Frederick City Watershed. Patience: In our next post, we’ll go into rich, gory detail about all the astonishing things we’ve learned.

But there’s a similar incident that’s been much less discussed. In fact, locals here simply pretend it didn’t happen.

In short, 1994 wasn’t the last time people went missing in our woods.

It happened in 2007. Four hikers from Portland, Maine were making their way down the Appalachian Trail (AT for short), which cuts through the northwest corner of our fine state. On or around July 31, all four hikers vanished. Forever.

True, people get lost on the AT all the time. But the Maryland section is famously easy to hike. If you go just 10 minutes off the trail, you’ll be down the hill and in plain sight. In short, it’s impossible to get lost here.

So where did these hikers go?

A lot of people point the finger at good old Burkittsville. After all, we’re just a mile off the AT, down Gapland Road. Hikers wander into town all the time to gawk at the cute old houses. But this town is literally three streets wide. Again, impossible to get lost. The only way you could disappear here is if a black van came by and scooped you up. Which, of course, could happen.

Anyway, for a proper dense forest to vanish in, whether you’re talking about 1994 or 2007 or 2014, you’d have to trek out to the watershed – a five hour walk from the AT. Not exactly an easy day trip.

Did those four Mainers get kidnapped? Did they stumble into a vortex and get transported to the darkest bowels of the watershed? Did the Snallygaster whisk them away? This is one Maryland mystery that even we can’t solve. No wonder people around here don’t talk about it.

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