Alleged Sexual Assault on The Long Trail Leaves Vermont Hikers Concerned About Safety
Vermont State Police received two troubling reports of a man sexually assaulting women along the Pico Mountain section of The Long Trail on the evening of Saturday, September 4th.
At around 6:30 p.m., a woman reported that a man approached her while hiking up Pico Mountain and that he allegedly began touching her while talking about various crimes he had committed. According to the report, the man was tall, had a short gray beard, long blond hair, and seemed “manic.” He told the woman that he goes by the trail name “Salt.”
About a half-hour later, “Salt” reportedly arrived at the Pico Mountain Shelter, where three other women hikers were camping for the night. He originally told them he was continuing onto the next shelter down the trail, which was only 2.5 miles south, but he proceeded to stay at the shelter throughout the night.
The women claim that he acted erratically throughout his stay, and, although they considered packing up and moving to another campsite, he made them fear for their safety should they head down the trail after dark. He told the hikers that he was a local who hung around the shelter often, and was only carrying a small backpack according to the report.
At one point—after reportedly sharing countless delusional stories—he straddled one of the women from behind and began massaging her without her consent. When the three women momentarily left the shelter to get some space, the man followed them and continued touching the same woman on her lower back, claiming that he was in love with her. When they told the man that they were going to bed, he ask which of the women was going to cuddle him.
The man continued loudly singing and shouting throughout the night. Some of the delusions included that he was the lead singer for Metallica, that he had written popular songs for artists such as Taylor Swift, and that he had written two movies for Hulu. He would reportedly become angry and act out violently, which led the women to feel too unsafe to leave the shelter. They huddled together on the same sleeping platform throughout the night and tried to stay silent as to not let him know they were awake.
One of the women, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote a post detailing the incident and published it to AllTrails, Guthook, and Women of the LT, as well as emailing the account to the Green Mountain Club and filing a police report.
All three hikers were carrying self-defense such as mace and knives. However, they all chose not to use them as to not risk angering the man into a situation that would turn violent.
The Green Mountain Club, which maintains shelters along the Long Trail, is hoping that the trail community can help the police in their search for the man. All information should be reported to the Vermont State Police.
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