Hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ironically isn’t what you would call a “walk in the park.” Dense spruce forests, high altitudes, and blankets of fog make it very easy to get lost in those hills. Austin Bohanan knows that all too well, as he was separated from his stepdad there. Authorities launched a massive search and rescue mission, but as the days ticked on and there was still no sign of the missing teen, things looked bleak. Then there was a shocking development: Austin emerged out of the woods. And he had quite the tale to tell...
Hunting for a precious plant
On August 11, 2017, Austin and his stepdad Hubert Dyer Jr. had been hiking through that very national park. But they weren’t there to see lush forests and wildflowers. Oh no — they were looking for something altogether more precious...
Their target was ginseng
The duo actually wanted to find wild ginseng — a herb found in energy drinks and medicines. Removing it from the park would’ve been illegal, but the plant sold for as much as $600 per pound in certain markets. It was too good an opportunity to make some money.
A big mistake
While the pair were hiking along the mountains, however, Hubert realized he’d lost his glasses, so he doubled back to find them. Austin, meanwhile, conducted his own search for his step-dad’s eyewear.