IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

California woman who went missing on camping trip says she was fleeing attacker with knife

Sheryl Powell says she got lost in the central California wilderness after fleeing a man armed with a knife who threatened her near her campsite.

The woman who was found alive after going missing for several days from her California campsite said she got lost after running away from a man who menaced her with a knife.

"I'm OK. I'm just happy to be back with my family," Sheryl Powell told TODAY on Tuesday. "I'm happy to be here to tell my story."

Powell, 60, was found alive Monday after, according to Inyo County authorities, she went missing last Friday from Grandview Campsite near Bishop, in central California near the Nevada border.

Her husband, Joe, said she had gone to walk their dog, Miley, while he moved the car. He said he was gone for no more than seven minutes, but when he returned she was gone.

About one hour after authorities located Miley, they tracked down Powell, who said she was confronted by a man with a knife while she was going to the bathroom near a tree. She said she ran away, and then couldn't find her way back to camp.

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

Her family said she ran for more than two miles down a hill while trying to escape and would only walk at night to ensure no one was trailing her.

"At night when I chose to hike I thought, OK, well the rattlesnakes probably aren't out, it's chilly, so I took the risk,” she told TODAY.

Joe Powell said his wife was acutely aware of what she would have to do in order to survive.

Sheryl Powell and her dog, Miley.Inyo County Sheriff's Office

"(She) knew how bad this was, so this monster grabs her wrist, she manages to break free and just starts to run … She periodically saw him in the distance chasing her, but she was able to outrun him,” he told NBC News. “But by the time she finished running, at that point, she was completely lost … from ‘Survivor’ episodes on TV, she knew the one thing she has to get is water."

Sheryl Powell was treated for dehydration and injuries to her wrist after her rescue, authorities said.

On TODAY Tuesday, Joe Powell told Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist he was thrilled that his wife had returned safely.

"I am so happy. This is the happiest day of my life,” he said. “I was dead and I've been brought back from the gates of purgatory to a whole new life. I got my life back."

The Inyo County Sheriff's Office said Monday night it was searching for the man she said chased her.

Sheryl Powell told TODAY he was "burly and bald-headed," adding that she didn't see him again after the first day.

"We're grateful that Mrs. Powell and her dog were found alive and well. Our office is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. We have no further information at this time,” the Inyo County Sheriff's Office said.

Powell was missing for four days.