Hiker News Story
Local high school teacher shared his story of survival after being lost for four days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a broken leg and no means of communication.
Henderson, 39, is an experienced hiker who has been hiking since 10 years old and is a member of the National Hiking Association.
“I never doubted that I would be found. I got discouraged sometimes, but I figured I had plenty of food and thought if I could get back to a trail somebody would come,” Henderson said.
Henderson had been hiking along the Appalachian Trail and had gotten off the trail near a place called Gregory Bald. Henderson eventually tried to cross a stream, but slipped and broke his leg.
After his fall, Henderson made it back to land and tried to make a splint for his leg using some sticks and a string.
He then spent four days crawling on the ground, pushing his 40-pound hiking pack in front of him, trying to get to the Appalachian Trail.
Four days later, he was found by two other hikers and was immediately taken to the hospital.
“I sure was happy when I heard those first footsteps coming up behind me. Those guys thought I was some kind of animal at first. They kind of hesitated in approaching me, but when I said ‘Help’ a couple times they came running,” Henderson said.
“I’ll never forget the feeling when they found me. Those guys are going to get mentioned in my will,” he added.
Prior to the accident, Henderson had been hiking for about 10 days. The accident occurred in Tennessee, however, Henderson started his hike in Georgia.
“The hardest thing about being lost was thinking that other people might be worrying about me,” he said.
Henderson was hospitalized for several days in Knoxville, but is now recovering at home in a local hospital.