CHARLESTON, S.C. — What began as a bipartisan congressional delegation to “explore the natural beauty of the Appalachian Trail,” ended in a heartbreaking tragedy that left only a single survivor.
Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina and current representative for the 1st District, detailed the harrowing experience in a 2,346-word Facebook post—encompassing more words than miles along the Appalachian Trail.
After winning a special congressional election last year, Sanford told those at the victory party—including María Belén Chapur, the woman with whom he had pursued an extramarital affair while purportedly “hiking the Appalachian Trail”—that he was “an imperfect man saved by God’s grace.”
Now, he adds, “I had no idea at the time that God would rescue me once again, as I lay struggling to preserve my life after having fallen hard on the Appalachian Trail.” This latest development is sure to, once again, rock the political world.
“That my friends and colleagues who went on the journey with me were not so lucky consumes me with a guilt that will follow me for the rest of my life,” he continued. “They will be missed.”
The bodies of Tad Baker and Reginald Chatsworth—both freshmen congressmen—were found in a ravine after a badly injured Sanford returned to the site with a rescue crew. Funeral services for the two will be held later this week in Washington.
Sanford is currently nursing a severe strain, which causes him to limp and precipitated a very public breakup with Chapur, his one-time Argentine fiancée.
“No relationship can stand forever this tension,” wrote Sanford. “And for this reason Belén and I have decided to call off the engagement.”
Sanford also cited ongoing legal battles with his ex-wife as a reason for the break.
“At this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening,” wrote Sanford, who reportedly caught Chapur off guard with his online announcement.
Aides suggest that the congressman is looking to spend “more time finding himself, alone in nature.”
The representative’s relationship status on Facebook has since been updated to “Es muy complicado.”