Stranded for six days, an experienced hiker was lying on a bed of rocks in the high Sierra in Kings Canyon National Park after his leg was hit by a loose boulder. He told the media about his gruesome injury. Here he is on KPIX: "It landed on my calf on the back part, and it sent the bones through the front."
The incident happened Saturday, and hiker Gregg Hein didn't tell his dad he's be back until Monday. So, being 11,000 feet up, survival mode kicked in. He recounted what he had to do to make it. He told KGPE, "I splinted my leg with my trekking pole and a belt and a strap. And then slid down two more snow passes to that edge of that terminal glacier."
The 33-year-old lived off bugs and realized there was a high chance he could lose his leg. He talked about his frustration when search-and-rescue crews flew by him multiple times without seeing him. KTNV reports, "And then finally when they did see me I just kind of grabbed my foot and laid down on my back for a while to just kind of breathe a deep sigh of relief."
We often hear news stories about hikers getting lost or injured, but Hein's story is unusual in that he was able to survive so long in spite of such a serious injury.
Hein has a compound fracture in his leg along with an infection that will require surgery, and he's currently staying at a medical center. But right now he and his parents are just grateful he's alive.
His father told KSEE, "I don't care about the broken leg. He's alive and well, and we're going to get our son back." His mother added, "It's your son, and your heart is breaking, and to be able to see him and our eyes connected, and it's like, 'You're back.'"
Hein plans to continue hiking after he's healed. He says he will be more prepared in the future by bringing a signal mirror, a GPS so people will know exactly where he is, and medical gear.