Hiker overcomes serious injury, finished Smokies 900 miles for s - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hiker overcomes serious injury, finished Smokies 900 miles for son

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Photo Credit: Roger Fender and his son Nicholas on the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii in 2009. Photo Credit: Roger Fender and his son Nicholas on the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii in 2009.
WBIR -

Roger Fender completed hiking all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Saturday morning, three years and four months after a falling tree limb seriously injured him while hiking Ramsey Cascades trail.

"My friend Mark heard the sound of the tree branch snapping. I didn't," Fender said. "I guess the best way to describe it is the report from the Knoxville hospital was that it was a full body crush."

Fender doesn't remember the accident or the following three weeks. He underwent extensive physical rehabilitation for five months.

"The doctor who repaired my hip told my wife that I may walk again, but if I did I'd be in pain and I'd have to have assistance. My wife looked at the doctor and said," Fender said.

"No, he'll be out on the trail again," his wife Diane added.

Fender decided to hike all the trails in the national park to honor his son Nicholas Fender. Nicholas died in 2010 when he was 22-years-old.

"He loved the outdoors, he was a person that loved this park tremendously," Fender said. "He's right here with me."

Read more from WBIR's website.

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