A local high school teacher is back in Lynchburg recovering at the hospital after he was found, lying on a hiking trail in Tennessee, calling out for help.
Will Henderson, 39, began his trip along the 3,000-mile-long Appalachian Trail (Location hyperlink) in Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16. He ventured off the main path near a place known as Gregory Bald; while attempting to cross a stream, about 10 days after he began his hike, he slipped and fell. Suffering a broken leg, he dragged himself for 4 days to the main walking path where two other hikers found him.
“Those guys thought I was some kind of animal at first. I guess I looked pretty rough. They kind of hesitated in approaching me, but when I said ‘help’ a couple of times, they came running.” Henderson said.
He explained that one of the two hikers stayed with him while the other went to get help. He was hospitalized in Knoxville, Tennessee for a couple days but has since then been relocated closer to his home here in Virginia.
“I never doubted that I would be found. I got discouraged sometimes, but i figured I had plenty of food and thought that if I could get back to a trail — particularly the main Appalachian trail because it’s so busy — someone would come along before long,” Henderson said.
Henderson is a member of the National Hiking Association (hyperlink for NHA and details) and has been hiking since he was 10 years old. He was well prepared with supplies, but pushing his 40 pound backpack ahead of him as he crawled through foliage that he described as a jungle look alike, was not easy.
“After a day or so of crawling, I had to discard most of my clothes and most of the other things in my pack. They had gotten too wet and heavy for me to push. Of course, I kept all of the food I had. It was mostly dry stuff- crackers, fruit, peanut butter, things like that,” Henderson said.
Henderson plans to hike the entire trail again once his leg is fully recovered but says he has learned his lesson when it comes to the dangers of hiking alone (hyperlink to professional hiking page safety tips) and will find someone to go along with him next time.
Who: Will Henderson- a local high school teacher
What: is home and recovering at a local hospital after getting lost for 4 days while hiking
Where: Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park TN — Also Knoville, TN hospital
When: Last week? Hiked 10 days was then lost for 4–14 days’ total
Why: He fell a broke his leg while trying to cross a stream
If I were the reporter on this story I would add pictures of Will Henderson, his injuries, and the location that he fell. I think it is obvious that a picture is worth a million words and I think a deep impression would be left on the readers if they could see the severity of a man’s condition after dragging himself to a main trail for four days.