West Sacramento man survives five days lost in wilderness

Mike Vilhauer of West Sacramento built this shelter and spelled out "HELP" with pine needles while lost in the wilderness.

A West Sacramento man is recovering after spending five days lost in the Sierra without food or water.

Mike Vilhauer got turned around as he returned to his campsite after fishing at Wet Meadows Reservoir in Alpine County last week.

Vilhauer admits he made a few mistakes as he tried to find his way back. He finally decided to stay put and built a shelter , then spelled out "HELP" in pine needles.

"I made my HELP sign kind of like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I heard the helicopters on more than a few occasions, but they were in the distance. You know, you get emotional thinking they are going to see you and then nothing," said Vilhauer.

Vilhauer didn't think he'd make it out alive, so he carved notes to his family on a log.

Finally last Sunday, rescuers finally found him, after spotting his S-O-S sign. He plans on buying them several rounds of beers when he gets the chance.
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