View Full Version : One Leg Update

SGT Rock
12-12-2004, 23:27
A new article about One Leg, the original is here: http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/local/10401325.htm

Posted on Sun, Dec. 12, 2004

Tragedy stops hiker from finishing Appalachian Trail


Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Since beginning his journey up the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in March, Scott Rogers, the amputee hiker with a bionic leg, covered 1,865 miles through heat and cold and rain.

His battery-powered, computer-controlled "C-Leg" broke down four or five times, he lost more than 30 pounds from his 160-pound frame and a rescue team had to airlift him off Mount Katahdin in Maine.

But it was his brother's suicide in November that pulled Rogers, 36, from the trail, some 300 miles short of becoming a full-fledged "through-hiker."

Now he doubts he will finish, convinced that some parts of the trail are just too demanding for him and his high-tech artificial limb, particularly in rocky Maine where he fell 28 times in one 13-mile stretch.

Still, the former paramedic who lost his left leg a few years ago above the knee from injuries in a hunting accident, remains upbeat.

"I think the most important thing about the whole hike was not whether I finished or didn't," Rogers said. "It was that I actually had the determination to get out there to start with."

He said it inspired others - from an 82-year-old hiker with the trail name "Batch" who helped Rogers when his palms blistered from using a crutch in North Carolina, to Lane Milliken, a 9-year-old Nashville boy who had a damaged leg removed in June and is now running around on an Otto Bock C-Leg like Rogers'.

Rogers said in a telephone interview from his home in Washburn, about 50 miles north of Knoxville, that he intends to hike at least another 150 miles before his March 22 anniversary so he can join the "2,000-miler" club.

"I just never really entertained that thought much," Rogers said about quitting. "There were a lot of times I came off the trail to take care of things. But every time I came back. If my hike is remembered for nothing else, I want it to be remembered for perseverance."

When he started out, Rogers thought he could become the first one-legged hiker to complete the AT. Two days into the trek, he learned, Carl Moon, a below-knee amputee, conquered the trail 12 years before. Rogers shrugged it off and kept going.

"So what if I'm not the first? I was planning this hike before I found out that I'd be a first, so in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that significant," he wrote on his Web page.

But after 230 days and nights on the trail, a cell phone call stopped him in his tracks in Pennsylvania.

By then he had trekked from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the midway point at Harpers Ferry, W.Va. He had gotten off there, driven to trail's end in Maine and started back south. His wife, Leisa, and their six home-schooled children had followed from campground to campground in an aging motorhome.

He thought the call might be from his older brother, Barry, who had promised to join him on the trail. Instead, it was Leisa telling him his troubled brother hanged himself in a public park in Atlanta.

He quit the trail to attend the funeral and hasn't returned.

Now trying to comfort his parents, J.T. and Connie Rogers, back home in Milledgeville, Ga., Rogers fondly reflects on his AT experience.

He helped find two dayhikers lost in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, made friends in the tightknit hiking community and occasionally others helped him.

But Mount Katadhin proved his Waterloo.

Walking alone and suffering from a deep bone bruise that forced him to use crutches, Rogers reached the summit after a 10-hour climb and realized he couldn't make it down. Eventually, a helicopter from the 112th Medical Company of the Maine National Guard flew him out.

Yet even that experience wasn't all bad.

"The rangers were great. I was just apologizing up one side and down the other. But these young rangers were just really excited to be able to help me. The first question out of their mouths wasn't how are you or do you need anything. They said, 'How the hell did you get up here?'

"Well, the same way you did, it just took me a lot longer," Rogers said, laughing.

The Katadhin climb "forced me to recognize the fact that I am not like other hikers. I have limitations that I have to accept," he said.

But that's OK, too. As he writes in the last entry in his Web journal, "I went out there, gave it my all, and had fun in the process."


Rogers: http://www.onelegwonder.com