08/21/2014 10:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Man Lost In Woods For 5 Days Without Food Is Rescued After Spelling 'Help' With Pine Needles

When this man got lost in the wilderness, he wasn't sure if he would ever make it back home. But that didn't stop him from trying his hardest to hold on.

On Aug. 6, Mike Vilhauer of West Sacramento, California, went on a fishing trip, according to CBS13. He wasn't having much luck catching fish, so he decided to take a short detour to look for some grasshoppers to use as bait. Without a GPS and equipped only with a topographical map, the 58-year-old ended up lost and fighting for his survival.

He was unable to reach police due to a weak cell phone signal, and made several unsuccessful attempts at finding his way back. Vilhauer managed to stay alive by drinking out of puddles and stream beds along the way, according to Good Morning America. He also made a shelter using pine needles and willow branches to stay warm.

After enduring five days without food or clean water, he wasn't certain he was going to survive, but he wasn't ready to give up. Hearing helicopters flying overhead, he spelled out an 8-foot tall "HELP" on the ground with the use of pine needles, and was brought to safety after a rescue helicopter successfully spotted the sign, according to CBS.

"I appreciate all of those efforts," Villhauer told Good Morning America of the rescue workers who came to save him. "I couldn’t say enough about those folks."

Toward the end of his time in the wilderness, he says he was afraid he wouldn't see his wife again, and wrote her a goodbye note on a piece of driftwood, the outlet reported. Thankfully, his clever pine needle SOS was large enough to attract the attention of rescue teams.

Though his wilderness adventure was a rough one, he says he will return to the area, and this time, he'll be prepared with a marching band, he joked to KXTV.

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