After being stranded in the desert near the Grand Canyon for five days, we're hearing from the Texas woman who survived the ordeal.

Driving solo through northern Arizona, 24-year-old Amber VanHecke found herself lost miles down a remote dirt road within the Havasupai reservation.

"I tried to back up but was completely out of gas," said VanHecke.

Panic set in. Her biggest fear?

"Dying alone,” she said. “Probably hurting my friends and family by dying alone doing something stupid."

[ORIGINAL STORY: Woman stranded 5 days in remote area of Arizona]

VanHecke rationed her food and water.

"I just shifted to where I thought about it, like, 'OK this is the long game. I need to make an S.O.S. sign.’ The S.O.S. sign was too small. I need to make a help sign. I need to make a signal fire,’” said VanHecke.

To pass the time, she read books and recorded a video diary on her phone.

Wondering if she’d make it to see her family again, she left messages for everyone back home.

"And Dad, I love you so much. You're my papa. I love you both," she recorded.

Several times VanHecke heard helicopters overhead.

Another day she documented another missed opportunity to get out.

"I chased down a truck but they didn't see me in the rear view. My feet are torn up because I wasn't wearing shoes," she said.

Then, on day five, she started walking.

"I hate being helpless," she said.

Eleven miles later, she finally picked up enough cell signal to make a call to 911.

A DPS helicopter found her not long after. Her rescuers said she did everything right, which is probably why she's still alive to tell about it.

[WATCH: DPS talks about the rescue of a woman who had been stranded for 5 days]

"Eventually, I’ll feel OK to fall asleep again and it's just a process and I’m working on it," VanHecke said.

Amber's now back in Texas. She says one of the first things she did was go out for a steak dinner with a friend.

She's set up a GoFundMe to help pay for medical expenses.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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