Last week Kathy and I spent several days hiking in the Smokies. On Tuesday, our first day in the park, we decided to hike the Chimney Tops Trail. As we were putting our gear together I noticed three people standing near Newfound Gap Road trying to flag someone down. They were finally able to stop a road construction vehicle, and after a few seconds, the truck sped away. I had no idea what was going on, so I continued packing my backpack.
One of girls among this group noticed we were getting ready to take off, and approached us. She told us there was a woman on the trail who broke her leg and needed a rescue. She wanted us to tell the woman that emergency services had been contacted, and help was on the way.
As we climbed up the trail we found out from hikers coming down the mountain (the old information superhighway) that the woman was from Italy, and didn't speak a word of English. Finally, after hiking about a mile-and-a-half up the trail, on one of worst sections of trail in terms of rocks, uneven surfaces, mud and water, we finally reached the injured woman. She was sitting on a rock with her husband, who didn't speak any English either. Fortunately they were with a companion who spoke a little English, at least enough to get by. There was also a woman there that had some advanced first aid training. She told us the woman, likely in her 60s, suffered a compound fracture of her lower leg (tibia). Believe it or not, but the injured woman was hiking the trail in ladies flats!
We couldn't help but think that this family had to be extremely disappointed in having to deal with a situation like this while traveling abroad. Hopefully the woman is doing much better now, and is already at home.
As a result of this hike we have updated the Chimney Tops Trail page on our website.
Hiking in the Smokies