FRESNO, Calif. -- A missing Clovis hiker who broke his leg and spent nearly a week in the wilderness without food and water is now describing the frightening ordeal.
"I entertained the idea of potentially dying a couple of times," said Gregory Hein. "You really can't think about it too much. Yes, it does enter your mind, but you can't dwell there or it kind of incapacitates you."
Hein, 33, is being treated for a broken leg and a dangerous infection which set in at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet.
On July 3, the experienced hiker set out to backpack from Florence Lake to Mount Goddard in the Kings Canyon National Park. What was a planned three-day trip turned into a week-long fight to stay alive -- after a boulder smashed a bone in his leg and broke it in two different places.
"It stuck out about [an inch] from the skin," said Hein. "I figured somehow I was either going to crawl my way out or someone was going to rescue me."
From a wheelchair at Community Regional Medical Center, he told KFSN-TV about how he built a makeshift splint using his trekking pole and then dragged himself to a safer place.
"[I had] my right heel in my left hand and used my left foot and my right hand to maneuver over rocks the first four days," he described. "And then to get down to the lake, I left the splint on my leg and through webbing in between these two areas in my foot."
Hein ate crickets to survive and drank any water he could find.
"[I] put snow in the hood of my poncho and then let the sun melt the snow and just drank out of the hood of my poncho," said Hein.
Fresno County search and rescue teams searched for the six-foot hiker the entire time. Eventually they spotted him - in pain, hungry and grateful.
"They even almost flew directly over me and didn't see me," said Hein. "And then finally when they did see me, I just kind of grabbed my foot and kind of laid down on my back for a while and just kind of breathed a deep sigh of relief knowing that I wouldn't have to spend another night out."
Hein plans to keep hiking as soon as he heals. But added he'll always be better prepared in the future.
"I'm happy to be out and about and moving around again," he said.