Hiker News Story

A hiker was found with a broken leg Tuesday, April 4, after he had been missing for four days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Will Henderson, a 39-year-old high school biology teacher, was hiking along the Appalachian Trail when he decided to veer off the path in an area known as Gregory Bald. Over two hours later, Henderson suffered a broken leg after attempting to cross a stream.

“I never doubted that I would be found,” Henderson said.

“I had several pictures of my wife and two little girls. I looked at them a lot, especially when I got discouraged.”

For four days in a hand-fashioned splint, Henderson crawled to safety and pushed his 40-pound hiking bag in front of him. He eventually reached the Appalachian Trail again where he was rescued by two other hikers.

“I’ll tell you though, I sure was happy when I heard those footsteps coming up behind me,” said Henderson. “I’ll never forget the feeling I had when they found me, not if I live to be a hundred.”

Henderson was hospitalized in Knoxville, Tennessee, in order to recover from his excursion. He has since been transferred to a local hospital near his home.

“I broke the first rule of hiking,” said Henderson. “I hiked alone.”

“I learned my lesson about that.”

In the future, Henderson still hopes to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

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