Local Teacher Rescued from Hiking Accident

A local high school teacher was forced to crawl for four days in search of help after he broke his leg while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Will Henderson, a biology teacher at Jefferson High School, was hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when he broke his leg while trying to cross a stream. Since he had gotten off the Appalachian Trail at a place known as Gregory Bald, he was forced to crawl back to the trail to find help.

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

Making a splint for his broken leg out of sticks and string, Henderson proceeded to push his 40-pound backpack in front of him as he crawled. Once he got back to the Appalachian Trail, two hikers found him.

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

One of the hikers stayed with Henderson and made sure he didn’t lose consciousness while the other searched for help. For several days after the rescue, Henderson remained hospitalized in Knoxville, but he is now recovering in his local hospital.

“I never doubted that I would be found,” Henderson said of his experience. “I got discouraged sometimes, but I figured that I had plenty of food.”

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