Inverted Pyramid Hiker Story

An experienced hiker was lost for four days last week while hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; he had gotten off the trail and shortly thereafter, slipped trying to cross a stream, and broke his leg.

“I broke the first rule of hiking, of course,” Will Henderson said. “I hiked alone. If you’re on the Appalachian Trail, it doesn’t matter because you’re not really alone.
But when you get off the beaten track- that’s when you need to be with somebody.”

Henderson is a 39-year-old local high school biology teacher a member of the National Hiking Association. He had been hiking the popular 3,000 mile trail which extends from Georgia all the way to Maine for 10 days, until his injury in Tennessee. The foliage during Henderson’s hike was jungle-like and very thick from all the rain this year.

After the fall, Henderson made a makeshift splint from sticks and string. He then began a four day ordeal of crawling, all the while pushing his 40-pound hiking pack in front of him. However, after a day or so of crawling, he had to discard most of the items, besides dry food and pictures of his family, in his pack for they were too wet and heavy to continue to push forward.

“The hardest thing about being lost was thinking that other people might be worrying about me.” Will Henderson said. This is because he was supposed to meet up with some friends nearby a few days during his lost period.

He finally made it back to the main part of the trail and was quickly found by two other hikers. One of the hikers ran for help while the other stayed beside Henderson and told him to stay awake.

“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 could get back to the trail- particularly the main Appalachian Trail because it’s so busy- somebody would come along before long,” Will Henderson said.

Henderson says his goal is to once again attempt to complete the trail once his leg is healed.

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