Yosemite hiker who survived 6 days in the wilderness thanks rescuers

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An Oakland man who survived six days in the wilderness after he got lost in the icy backcountry of Yosemite National Park thanked his rescuers on Monday.

"I would like to infinitely thank the Yosemite National Park Rangers, California Highway Patrol, Bay Area Mountain Rescue, California Office of Emergency Services, Marin County Search & Rescue, Tuolumne County Sheriffs Office, El Dorado County Sheriffs Office, Contra Costa County Search & Rescue, Southern California Winter Ski team, YoDogs (search dogs), and all the volunteers that helped to bring me back home safe and sound. Words cannot express my gratitude and I will be indebted to you all for the rest of my life." Alan Chow wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. 

A helicopter crew spotted Alan Chow on Friday above Wapama Falls near the center of the park, where overnight temperatures dipped below freezing, the National Park Service said.

Park Ranger Scott Gediman said that the 36-year-old Oakland resident got lost because usually well-marked trails were covered in snow.

"For those that are curious about how I managed to survive, I simply followed the basic survival skills that I learned. Kept close to a water source, conserved my energy, rationed out food supplies, tried to keep warm, and found a suitable location to setup camp so that I would be as visible from the air as possible," Chow explained.

Chow had done everything right to survive - he was prepared and didn't "try to walk around and get even more lost," Gediman said.

Chow, an avid outdoorsman, planned an overnight backpacking trip alone and was last seen Feb. 17. He wasn't officially noticed as missing until three days later when Chow didn't show up for his job at the Alameda County Social Services Agency and a co-worker became concerned.

"I would also like to thank my colleagues from Alameda County SSA, and everyone on social media who contributed to the search effort with information and an outpouring of love and emotional support. I feel truly blessed and extremely lucky to be alive. Thank you everyone!" Chow wrote. 

The search effort included as many as 60 people, who focused on the area near the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, where Chow was last seen.

Chow said he suffered a sprained ankle but is otherwise fin both physically and mentally.  He is resting up and plans to continue life as normal.