RODNEY Blundell fell 35 metres, breaking almost every bone he knew his body had, leaving him with little prospect of walking properly again.
Mr Blundell, 39, of Emu Plains, was taking photographs in the hills around Lithgow on September 1, 2011.
"I was walking back and suddenly lost my footing," he said. "I fell and ended up wedged between a tree and a rock.
"I was in shock; I was bleeding and could see two bones sticking out of my pants.
"I thought I'd lost my foot."
Mr Blundell also thought he had lost much more.
"I told myself that was it," he said. "I wouldn't be waking up after this."
But wake up he did.
Mr Blundell said his camera tripod had broken his fall and that he thus avoided spinal or neck injuries which could have paralysed him.
"The tripod, strapped to my camera bag, covered my back from tailbone to neck," he said.
He spent a month undergoing skin and bone grafts and the doctors doubted that he would be able to walk unaided again.
"I was told that if I could get off the walking aids I would walk with a limp for the rest of my life, but I was determined to push myself," Mr Blundell said.
He started months in physiotherapy at Nepean Hospital, and has progressed so well that he has regained almost all of his walking abilities.
"I'm about 70 per cent, but I want to go further," Mr Blundell said.
"I had to run to get to the train the other day. It was quite a hobble, but I did it."
Mr Blundell said he hoped to be surfing and skiing again one day.