-- As friends Laura Sherman and Denise Diaz spent five days lost in the northern California wilderness, they said they thought to themselves, "We're too young to die."
"We've got to live to have grandchildren," Sherman, 57, told ABC News today. "We've got to live our lives."
The two women, both moms of one, have been friends for about 10 years, Sherman said.
Last Friday, they were on their way to a hot springs when they found a book about a hike to a lake. "We thought we could go for a day," Sherman said. "We didn't really read the book that carefully. ... We had just picked it up and figured it was a good day hike."
"We just wanted to go in the afternoon and have a quick swim," Diaz, 56, told ABC News, but, "We never found this lake."
Soon, the women were lost.
"Nobody knew we were there," Diaz said. "We were completely unprepared."
The women, who were both in their bathing suits, then spent their first of several nights shivering in the cold, empty wilderness.
"I couldn't sleep at all ... not for fear but just the coldness," Diaz said.
On the second day, "our adrenaline was going," said Sherman, who recalled thinking, "We have got to get out today."
When their water and trail mix ran out, the women said they turned to grasses and berries for food. Diaz said the most challenging parts were the cold and living without water.
By the third day, the women found a creek, "But we couldn't stay there because we needed to find our way out, or people," Sherman said.
Finally, on Tuesday, their fifth day in the wilderness, they saw, "two beautiful cowboys standing at the edge of the meadow on horses," Sherman said. They called out to the men, who then rode off to get help.
"It was such relief," Sherman said.
"I was trying to be really strong," Diaz said of the ordeal. "Every morning we would wake up and say, 'We got to get out of here today.'"
"We were lucky that these cowboys appeared at the same time as us," Diaz said. "They pretty much saved our lives."
"It felt like a mirage," Diaz said.
The women were rescued about 20 miles north of Sonora, California, by a Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department chopper, according to ABC station KGO-TV. The sheriff's department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
The entire five days, the women had been within a few miles of their car, Sherman said.
"We always had hope that we would get out, but it was pretty daunting," Diaz said.
"There was a moment of ... if no one comes to save us ... we're pretty much doomed," Diaz said.
Neither woman went to the hospital, Diaz said, adding that they both just suffered from dehydration.
"It took a couple of days just to kind of be able to relax and get grounded, but we're both fine," Sherman said, noting she has "a new appreciation for life."
"We're just feeling so grateful to be home and to be back with our families," Sherman said.