Eric Desplinter recounted his five-day ordeal Friday lost on Mounta Baldy.
He and a fellow hiker were reported missing over the weekend in Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains. They were found alive Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Chino Hills resident and former National Guardsman who served in Afghanistan and Gabrielle Wallace, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga had been last seen in the Mount Baldy area around 10 a.m. Saturday.
Search-and-rescue teams combed some 30 square miles of the mountains for four days looking for the hikers.
Desplinter said they got lost on the trail and "had a little bit of a slip" going to Cucamonga Peak.
The couple survived by rationing their food, drinking water through a LifeStraw filter and staying as warm as possible.