A hiker on the Appalachian Trail was lost in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 4 days, with a broken leg from a fall he received when he ventured off the trail and tried to cross a stream. He ventured off the trail near Gregory Bald.
Will Henderson, a local 39-year-old biology high school teacher at Jefferson High School, is quite an experienced hiker and has been hiking since he was 10-years-old. Henderson used string and sticks to make a splint for his leg that would hold it in place until he made it to safety. He pushed his 40-lb pack for 4 days while crawling until he reached the trail again and was found by two hikers passing by.
Henderson said in an interview that the two guys thought he was an animal at first, until he asked for help a few times and they finally realized he was in need of assistance. “I never doubted that I would be found. I got discouraged sometimes, but I figured that I had plenty of food and thought that I could get back to a trail-particularly the main Appalachian Trail because it’s so busy-somebody would come along before long,” Will Henderson said. Henderson had been hiking for 10 days, starting in Georgia, and fell and hurt his leg in Tennessee.
A park ranger told Henderson that if he had stayed where he was, he would still most likely be there, since he had fallen into a place where the foliage was quite thick, due to the excessive rain that had occurred that year. He had enough food, yet Henderson knew he had to get back onto the main trail soon so he could be found.
Henderson was put into the Knoxville hospital for several days after being found. He is currently in a local hospital recuperating. Henderson says he still holds a goal to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, once his leg has recovered.
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