"We have a bright orange fly that goes over our tent... set up on an open clearing on a couple of rocks so that they could see that, and then we burnt some green gasses that we had to try to get some smoke," said rescued hiker Amanda Boers.
It worked, and the search and rescue helicopters saw the experienced hikers, Marine Captain Brandon Boers and his wife Amanda. They were accompanied by their dog Abby.
They were plucked from the remote and rugged Los Padres National Forest and flown to safety. The couple left their Mountain View apartment Friday.
Brandon, who is a Marine recruiter, told his staff he was going on a hiking trip. His office reported him missing Monday.
"If he wasn't here for the morning muster at 7:30 a.m., it would be highly unusual, because he always is," said a co-worker. "When he didn't show up, we discussed it and I called the authorities from that point."
The Boers left their car at China Camp and began their long hike along the trails toward Big Sur. On Saturday, their 55-pound Australian sheep dog began showing signs that something was wrong. She started stumbling and had a hard time keeping up. So Brandon decided to carry her.
"The remainder of the two and a half days he had her up on his pack and all in total, about 80 pounds he was carrying on his back for two and a half days," said Amanda.
The couple kept pushing on, but it became harder as the days went by.
"We were just trying to complete the loop, and the further we got around, the worse the conditions got, the trail was overgrown and non-existent in a lot of placed," said Brandon.
The couple found a campground in the middle of the wilderness where they waited for help, which finally came Tuesday afternoon.
Six-year-old Abby apparently suffered a sprain on one of her paws, which her owners say is highly unusual because she always accompanies them on their frequent hikes.
Although fatigued, the couple appear to be in good health.