Three hikers, including one who fell and broke his leg, spent a cold night in the woods near the Virginia state line after they lost their way after dark Sunday.
Rescuers spent nearly 12 hours searching for the three men from Wise, Va., before finding them near Payne Gap in Letcher County, said Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens.
Justin Boggs, 27, his father, Tim Boggs, and James Olinger, 58, set out Saturday morning in the Little Shepherd's Trail area with plans to hike the Pine Mountain Trail to Pound Mountain, said Justin Boggs. They planned to camp overnight Saturday and finish the trip Sunday afternoon.
But they didn't get as far as they thought they would Saturday, and by Sunday morning, Justin Boggs said, it became clear that they wouldn't get out before dark.
As darkness fell, he said, it became harder to find the trail markings.
"There wasn't really a good path," Justin Boggs said. "It's just all greenbriar and brush. ... We probably should've just bedded down."
But he said Olinger, who is Tim Boggs' supervisor, had hiked the trail before, so they decided to press on using GPS coordinates.
Then Olinger fell and broke his leg.
Tim Boggs covered the injured man with sleeping bags and a tarp and built a fire on the ledge where he had fallen. They used a cell phone to call for help.
Stephens said darkness, fog and rough terrain hampered rescuers' efforts.
About 2 or 3 a.m., "it started raining and getting cold," Justin Boggs said. "That's when I started getting depressed."
Rescuers went as far as they could on ATVs, then went 3 miles on foot. They reached the group at about 9 a.m. but, because of the terrain, it was 3 p.m. before Olinger was brought out and taken to a hospital.