Hiker Found Dead on AT Near Roan Mountain Remembered as Man of Many Passions

David Ladley Swanson, 53, of Durham, NC, who died of cardiac arrest on the Appalachian Trail near Roan Mountain on Sept. 2, had hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and other trails in the US and around the world.

“Hiking was one of David’s passions,” his obituary said. “But David had many more passions. He worked tirelessly to improve health care in developing countries, especially in Africa. He wrote prose and poetry and songs. He fought for racial and economic justice. He loved music deeply – both listening to it and performing it. He danced brilliantly. He surfed with gusto. He threw himself into friendships and had so many friends, new and old.”

Swanson is survived by his wife, Sally, and two children: Terra, 26, and Hayden, 25.

He worked as an investment adviser with his father, Bill.

John Burleson of the Carter County Rescue Squad told TV station WJHL in Johnson City, TN, that Swanson was found about 2 p.m. Sept. 2 approximately 3.5 miles from Carvers Gap on Roan Mountain.

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Comments 3

  • Mark Stanavage : Sep 3rd

    It’s been a rough year. Inchworm found, Armstrong, another hiker in PA.
    Breaks my heart. ?

  • Shocktop : Sep 18th

    Ok, maybe it’s me, but this is the third time that: someone has died on the AT, and, instead of the post appearing in the AT News feed, or even AT Featured feed, I discover it in the general Trek feed.

    Why would an AT specific, important, ie, death, post, not show in the AT news feed??? We don’t scare easy ha ha.

    Thanks for any insight. I’d just like to easily and intuitively find out what matters to me, (AT). Thanks.

  • Shocktop : Sep 18th

    And hey. Having it show up a week later, in the AT vs general posts….again, I’m sorry guys, but c’mon. If its vital AT news, please: post on AT news, AT featured, AT bloggers, thru hikers etc. People need to know stuff asap. Thank you very much. Ima go hike now and shut up. U welcome.


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