Missing Hiker Shares His Story 

Last weekend, a missing hiker caused the largest search on Mount Katahdin in forty years.That hiker is now safe and recovering at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.He shared his story with TV5’s Meghan Hayward.Michael Hays of Ohio had heard great things about Mount Katahdin.So he set a goal to climb it.What he never imagined, were the events that would transpire on his hike back down.”On the way back I got stupid thoughts in my head. Selfish thoughts.”Hays decided to leave the trail.”On the way down there was about a 45 degree angle of granite slide. Just a sheet of granite and so I started slowly sliding my butt down the slide and all of a sudden I caught a little patch of water and next thing I know the last 20 feet I went down and part of the granite caught my knee and busted my knee cap in 3 or 4 different places.”Hays had a first aid kit on him and says he tried to wrap as much as he could.He also found a stream.”I knew if I could get near a stream I would have a water supply and I was hoping eventually I would find a trail, road, bridge, campground, cabin or something.”Hays didn’t find any of those and spent the night in the wilderness.”On the second day I heard a helicopter and I realized, okay they’re looking for me.”But it wouldn’t be until two days later that a helicopter spotted him.And with a crushed kneecap Michael pushed on to try and get to a more open area.”No one was going to find me there. This is thick brush. You could tell no one had been around there for a long time. They would never find me down there.”one item in Michael’s backpack helped save his life.”So I pulled out my orange poncho and as they started coming by again I started waving it madly.””They said my orange poncho saved my life because that’s how they were able to differentiate me from everything else up there. As the helicopter circled around tears filled up in my eyes and I knew it was going to be okay at that point.”Hays was taken to Millinocket Regional Hospital and was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center where he underwent surgery on his knee.He says he can’t say enough good things about the staff at Baxter State Park.”I am grateful to the Baxter State Park people for what a wonderful job they did.”Hays will be able to return to Ohio soon where he will have to undergo physical therapy.As for another planned tripped to Maine.”Well if the Baxter State Park will let me back in, I’ll happily come back.”