I've not hiked any of the northern AT, but if it's anything like the southern sections venturing too far off trail can get you in trouble quickly. It's not called the Green Tunnel for nothing. I've often said that, at least in the Blue Ridge, Bozo the Clown could be 100 yards off trail, holding a neon sign while riding a pink elephant, and would be unseen by hikers on the trail. Even with strong map and compass skills, you have to be able to see a landmark or reference point to obtain an accurate bearing, and that is much easier said than done in these forests.
Or you would have to know which side of the trail you are on.
Actually, the poor lady was very near a 3000 + peak with a 900 foot prominence. And she wrote that she was somewhere north of Woods Road. She had all her gear with her, including a whistle on her shoulder. Something very wrong going on here. One of many ironies is that she was on a Navy SERE training site, and managed to survive for a month and evade for 2 years.