Inside the Harrowing 4 Days California Mom Was Lost in the Woods

Playing What Missing California Hiker Says She Did to Flee Attacker

Missing hiker Sheryl Powell is opening up about her harrowing ordeal while lost in California's White Mountains.

The nightmare began when Powell and her husband, Joe Powell, arrived at a remote camp site in Bristlecone Pine Forest Friday. After they chose a site to set up camp, Joe said he went to move the couple's Jeep and when he came back, Sheryl and their dog Miley were nowhere to be found. 

He feared the worst — until Sheryl was found alive Monday. Inside Edition's Chief Correspondent Jim Moret was there when Sheryl's family learned she had been located. 

"I was very, very concerned that there was no way we were going to save her," Joe said.

For Sheryl, her discovery came as a relief after days of fear. Sheryl said she went to use the bathroom while Joe moved the car when all of a sudden a man with a knife popped out from behind a tree and threatened to hurt Miley. 

"This man scared me terribly," Sheryl said, showing Moret what she said were the man's nails imprinted in her wrist from where he grabbed her. 

Sheryl didn't think, she just acted. She took off running, Miley hot on her heels, she said, and in so doing, she became hopelessly lost

"I was running for my life," she said.

She said she hid during the day, scared the man would re-emerge. 

To survive, she said she ate cactus and drank water from a spring. At night, as the temperatures dipped to nearly freezing, she said she wrapped herself up in Miley's unused doggy bags while she hiked through the woods. 

In the end, it was Miley who saved Sheryl's life. The two were separated, but Miley sought out rescuers and led them to Sheryl, she said. 

"She was coming my way and they just let her lead the way to me," said Sheryl. "[I felt] unbelievable relief."

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case. 

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