Inverted Pyramid — Hiker Story

Local high school teacher, an experienced hiker, was lost for four days due to a broken leg 10 days after he began hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Will Henderson began his hike in Georgia and 10 days later was in Tennessee, where the accident happened. He was attempting to cross a stream when he slipped and broke his leg. Henderson used sticks and string to make himself a splint to aid him on his four day crawl to the main trail.

“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.”

In the four days that he was lost, Henderson crawled his way back to the main trail while pushing his 40-pound hiking pack in front of him. After about a day of crawling, he had to discard much of what was in his pack. The only things he kept were his food and pictures of his wife and young daughters.

“I looked at them a lot, especially when I got discouraged,” Will Henderson said. “I would spend a little time looking at those pictures, and then I would crawl a little bit more.”

After making it to the main trail, Henderson was found by two hikers. One stayed with him, urging him to stay awake, while the other went to get help. He was hospitalized for several days while in Knoxville, but is now at home recuperating in a hospital.