Story, April 5

Man Found Injured on Appalachian Trail

A Georgia high school teacher was found on the Appalachian Trail near Knoxville, Tennessee after he crawled four days with a broken leg.

Two hikers stumbled across Will Henderson, 39, on the main trail. He was in such poor condition that his rescuers mistook him for an animal until he called for help, according to Henderson.

“I’ll never forget the feeling I had when they found me, not if I live to be a hundred. Those guys are going to get mentioned in my will,” Henderson said.

Henderson, a biology teacher at Jefferson High School and an experienced hiker, had been walking the Appalachian Trail for 10 days when he slipped in a stream and broke his leg.

He took off most of his wet clothes and crawled toward the main trail for four days, while pushing his 40-pound pack in front of him. Pictures of his wife and two young daughters gave him the courage to keep crawling through the rough underbrush.

“I would spend a little time looking at those pictures, and then I would crawl a little bit more,” Henderson said.

He spent a few days in a Knoxville hospital, and was transferred to a hospital in his hometown to finish healing.

He knew he was taking a risk when he traveled off the trail alone, and claimed to have learned his lesson. Despite the accident, he hopes to accomplish his goal of walking the entirety of the 3,000-mile Appalachian Trail when his leg heals.

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