The California hiker who was found after spending 4 days alone in the wilderness says she got lost after fleeing a man with a knife

Ashley Collman

  • Sheryl Powell, 60, disappeared on Friday while on a camping trip with her husband, Joe, in a remote part of California.

  • Search crews found Sheryl alive on Monday, about 2.5 miles from her last known location.

  • She told police that she got lost in the wilderness after a man with a knife threatened her and her dog.

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A woman who was found alive after spending four days alone in the California wilderness said she got lost after a man with a knife threatened her and her dog.

Sheryl Powell was reported missing by her husband Friday afternoon, after she disappeared while he was parking their car at a campground near Bishop, California.

The 60-year-old and her dog were found alive on Monday, about 2.5 miles from her last known location, according to the Inyo County Sheriff's Office.

On Tuesday morning, Powell appeared on both the "Today" show and "Good Morning America" to explain her disappearance and detail how she survived on her own and kept her dog alive.

sheryl powell

Facebook/Inyo County Sheriff's Office

During the walk, she said a man jumped out from behind a tree and threatened her and her dog.

"The first thing that's going to happen here is I'm going to use this knife on your dog. And then if you don't let me have my way with you I'm gonna use it on you," Powell recalled the man saying to her, on "Today."

Powell said the man grabbed her by the wrist, but she was able to free herself and ran away, not stopping until she was sure that he wasn't on her tail anymore. But by then, she was completely lost.

"I just realized I wasn't sure where I was because I had been running out of fear," she told "GMA."

Once she realized she was lost, Powell said she got pragmatic, focusing on getting food and water to keep both herself and her dog alive.

"She really helped keep me going," Powell said of her dog on "GMA." "I had a purpose, I had someone else to care for — somebody who needed me. And so my focus left me; it was to take care of her and get back to them."

Powell drank from a stream, ate cactus, and only hiked at night to avoid rattlesnakes

Powell said she found a spring to drink from and ate cactus to keep her energy up. And she only hiked at night to avoid dehydration and crossing paths with rattlesnakes.

Read more: A 60-year-old woman who went missing while camping in a remote area of California has been found

She said she couldn't be happier to be back alive with her husband and two kids.

"I'm just thankful to be alive and back with my family. I knew my husband was there waiting for me. So I was always determined to get back as soon as I could. I didn't know it would be four days," she told "GMA."

The Inyo County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Monday that they are "actively investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance" and "have no further information at this time."

"We're grateful that Mrs. Powell and her dog were found alive and well," the office added.

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