California Hiker Opens Up About Courageous Survival

Gregory Hein considers himself to be an experienced hiker, and after being stranded for a week at elevations of more than 10,000, he has the story to prove it. Hein, who is now in the hospital being treated for the slew of injuries he incurred during his treacherous ordeal, is finally opening up and describing what must have been the worst, most stressful week of his life. The 33-year old avid outdoorsman set out on July 3rd to partake in what was supposed to be a 3-day journey from Florence Lake to Mount Goddard in Kings Canyon National Park in California. Not too long after his journey began, Hein found himself with a broken leg which came as a result of a boulder falling on top of him. After the boulder had fallen on him, Hein quickly realized that his leg bone was protruding from the skin and broken in 2 places. Stranded due to the severity of his injuries, he realized that he needed to do something quick otherwise it would be only a matter of time until he succumbed to the elements, his injuries, or a combination of the two. Quick thinking and an incredible amount of individual effort allowed Hein to use his trekking pole as a splint so that he could move himself to somewhere safer.

Survival Skills Put to the Test

What ensued over the next four days was nothing short of amazing as Hein ate crickets and drank whatever water he could find as he made the slow trek back to Florence Lake. At one point, the injured hiker gathered snow in the hood of his poncho and waited for it to melt in order to obtain some resemblance of fresh water to drink. Finally, after a few days of searching, Fresno County search and rescue teams were finally able to rescue the hiker and take him to the hospital. According to Hein, search and rescue crews had flown over his head a number of times before rescuing him but were unable to spot him. The grateful journeyman is still recovering in the hospital, but plans to get back on the trails as soon as he heals. Next time, however, he will likely head out on his trek just a bit more prepared than he was this time around. This story just goes to show how even the most innocuous trips out into nature can sometimes turn deadly in the blink of an eye.