Friday, August 28, 2009

Search underway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for missing experienced hiker Albert Morgan Briggs

One of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's first Appalachian Trail Ridge Runner 70 year old Albert "Morgan" Briggs is the subject of a large search stared Wednesday by rangers and volunteers who have already hiked numerous trails and interviewed other hikers who may have seen this experienced backpacker who is now long overdue from a hiking trip.

Mr. Briggs of 1008 Trotter Way in Pigeon Forge started out last Saturday by hiking up the Porters Creek Trailhead where he was left off up to campsite #31 a group of hikers believe they had seen Mr. Briggs.

Mr. Albert Briggs planned on Sunday to hike up the manway another 2,000 feet in elevation higher up to the Appalachian Trail where he would then hike about another mile to the Icewater Springs shelter where he would spend Sunday night. Log books in the Icewater Springs shelter do not indicate he had ever made it there.

On Monday his plan was to hike from the Icewater shelter about 6 miles to the Mount LeConte shelter where also according to log books he did not stay.

It was first reported that the final leg of Albert Morgan Briggs hiking trip was on Tuesday morning to hike from the Mount LeConte almost 5 miles down the Alum Cave Trail to the Newfound Gap Road (US 441) where he expected to hitch a ride back to Pigeon Forge, but it is now believed he may also wanted to have hiked down Le Conte either via Rainbow Falls or Bull Head Trail both of which end up in the Roaring Fork section of the park on Cherokee Orchard Road.

Search underway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for missing experienced hiker Albert Morgan  Briggs

Albert Morgan Briggs is a white male 70 years of age, 5‘8, 180 lb. with balding white hair, white beard and a mustache. He wears wire frame glasses, has no mustache, blue eyes. He was reportedly wearing brown Danner hiking boots with vibram soles, a green 2 piece rain suit, and blue jeans or khaki slacks.

Poor visibility for days has plagued the upper elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains national park where Mr. Briggs was last seen and the past few days' rain will have made tracking him even more difficult.

Searchers are still concentrating their efforts in the off trail area Mr. Briggs planed to hike in Greenbrier while 5 additional teams of searchers are looking for Mr. Brigs on other possible trails.

Though I have solo hiked all the trails in the GSM national park as well as all of the major manways numerous times, this particular off trail hike I have never attempted alone due to the less than ideal conditions reported to me by those who have completed this hike.


Anonymous said...

oh my gosh. i'm speechless. return safely and soon morgan. i met him through my very brief stint as a volunteer caretaker summer 1996. morgan was the guy who organized all the volunteers - probably as a volunteer himself. he did it because he loves the mountains, hiking, and seeing others take in that experience. he always looked out for us volunteers, and being around him was like being with a sage. he's quiet, contemplative, and the epitome of walking softly. as caretakers, we'd be in the woods 5 days, come down for 3, and return for another 5. before a group of us went out for our 2nd stint, he informed us we had to stop for a brief minute at the park building. instead of checking in for park business, he had arranged for a birthday cake for me! i was surprised and touched - i don't think i told him it was my birthday, but he was one of those people - he noticed things about others, didn't let on as much as he knew, and was just so considerate and thoughtful. still waters run deep as they say. morgan is a gem and i wish him a safe and speedy return.

Atweed said...

I was at the Mt. Laconte shelter on Monday night. No sign of Mr. Briggs. It rained very hard for about an hour starting around 5 pm. There was a medium sized bear that hung around the shelter for about 3 hours but other than that, I was there by myself. Certainly hope he is ok.