LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A 64-year-old woman who went missing while hiking in the San Bernardino Mountains was rescued after a three-day search.
Peggy Faulk said she was hiking with a friend Sunday when she got lost at the San Gorgonio Mountain summit.
"I've been training to summit Mt. Whitney. It's the tallest peak in the lower 48," Faulk told ABC7's sister station KTRK-TV. "I went on the hike with a friend and she is much faster than me, and I said, 'If you want to go on ahead you can.'"
Faulk planned to catch up to her friend and meet at the car, but her phone lost track of the trail and she didn't have a backup system.
"But, I thought, 'Well, I'll just go south and find a shortcut.' The altitude affects your thinking, it was so stupid," Faulk said.
A search for Faulk began when she didn't meet up with her friend.
She had plenty of food and enough water, but no shelter and she'd lost her phone. The hours turned into days.
"I was absolutely in shock that my mom went missing, because she has gone on a number of hikes out here in California," said Peggy's daughter, Alexandra Faulk, who traveled from Houston to California while her mother remained missing.
What Faulk didn't know was that seven search and rescue teams - all of them volunteers - were looking for her amid a heat wave. While they searched on foot and in the air, Faulk kept walking.
"I wanted to live... to be there for my family, to be there for my friends," she said.
She was ultimately rescued after a search and rescue team volunteer found her. When she was found, Faulk didn't believe they were real.
"When they finally found me, which I had been hallucinating for a couple of days, and when I saw these four people in orange shirts walking to me I thought, 'Boy, my hallucinations are getting crazy.'"
Faulk got to meet and thank her rescuers Wednesday. She's set up a fundraiser on her Facebook page to raise money for volunteer search and rescue teams in Southern California.
"I could tell in their eyes that they do this for the joy, the satisfaction in helping other people, and I'm so glad I could be one of the happy-ending stories for them," she said.
Faulk's advice for other hikers is to go with a friend who hikes at the same speed, have a backup map and a beacon to help rescuers to find you.
KTRK-TV contributed to this report.