Hiker

An experienced hiker goes off the Appalachian trail and injures himself, then after four days finds his way to the main trail to be found by two hikers passing by.

Will Henderson, a high school teacher, was hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and decided to get off the trail near Gregory Bald. After walking off the trail for a few hours, he attempted to cross a stream then slipped and broke his leg.

Henderson used string and sticks to make a splint for his broken leg. He then began to move toward the main trail by crawling and pushing his 40-pound bag through thick underbrush.

“The mountain foliage was like a jungle. There had been a lot of rain up there this year, and it was really thick. If I had stayed where I was when I fell, I probably would still be there. At least, that’s what one of the park rangers said. I think I knew that instinctively when I fell, so I never thought about staying put. I knew that I had better get somewhere where people could find me,” Henderson said.

After four days of crawling toward the main trail, he made it. Then waited for the two hikers that would be the ones to save his life.

Henderson had been in Tennessee at the time that he veered off the trail, so he was hospitalized in Knoxville for a few days. He is now in his hometown recovering in the hospital.

He said that during the four days he did get discouraged, but what helped him keep going was a picture of his wife and two daughters.