A West Sacramento man is glad to be alive after surviving several days lost in the Sierra. 

Mike Vilhauer, 58, says he just took a wrong turn while walking out from his camping site to look for bait during a fishing trip to Lower Sunset Lake in Alpine County.

"I had to do my own version of the 'Survivorman,' the idiot's version, drinking out of puddles," he told News10. 

Vilhauer also said he went five days without food after getting lost last Wednesday.

Searchers began trying to find him last Friday.  

He was counting on them seeing a pine needle sign with a simple message.

"HELP, kind of like Tom Hanks in 'Castaway,'" he said. 

He heard a helicopter in the distance, but he knew they were too far away and feared he might die.  

He says he was emotionally overwhelmed when ground searchers walked up to him with the help of that helicopter.