Hiker Story Assignment
Local citizen goes missing for four days after hiking along the Appalachian trail near Gregory Bald; He was walking off the trail for several hours and then fell and broke his leg
Will Henderson, a local high school teacher, is an experienced hiker. He is a member of the National Hiking Association. He had plenty of supplies with himself and had been hiking for already for about 10 days before the accident.
The trip started in Georgia but Henderson was in Tennessee at the time of the accident. He was trying to cross a stream when he slipped and broke his leg.
After his fall, he used some sticks and string to make a splint for his leg. He then began four days of crawling, pushing his 40 pound hiking pack in front of him in order to still have supplies.
The trail is 3,000 miles long, stretching from Georgia to Maine and is one of the most popular hiking trailes in the country.
When he finally made it back to the main part of the Appalachian Trail, he was soon found by two other hikers. He was then hospitalized in Knoxville for several days to get his leg in a condition so he could then get back home.
Henderson, 39, teaches biology at Jefferson High school and has over 20 years of hiking experience.
“I never doubted that I would be found. I got discouraged sometimes, but I figured that I had plenty of food and thought that if I oculd get back to a trail — particularly the main Appalachian Trail because it’s so busy — somebody would come along before long,” Henderson said.
“The hardest thing about being lost was thinking that other people might be worrying about me. I was supposed to meet some friends in Galinburg a couple of days after I got lost. As it turned out, they weren’t worried but said if I had been gone another day, they would have contacted the park rangers and started a search,” Henderson continued.
Henderson then went on to say that he broke the first rule of hiking: never hike alone. He then urged anyone who enjoys hiking on the Appalachian Trail, that it “doesn’t matter because you’re never really alone. But when you get off the track, that’s when you need to be with somebody. I learned my lesson about that and my goal is to hike again as soon as my leg is back in shape.”
-Come back here for updates as they come in-