Paula Lane said she told Roderick Clifton they should stay with the vehicle and ride out the storm together. Instead, Clifton gave her a wave and walked away.
"I knew I was never going to see him again," Lane, 46, said on NBC's "Today" show.
Lane, 46, was still recovering from frostbite at a Carson City hospital. She was rescued Dec. 5 by her brother, Gary Lane, and a friend after she and Clifton became stranded in California's remote Hope Valley while traveling back to Gardnerville from visiting relatives.
Clifton's body was recovered the same day.
Lane, the mother of 11-year-old twins, survived on tomatoes and snow, and told NBC she made socks out of Kleenex and masking tape.
Lane and Clifton were reported missing after they left Citrus Heights, Calif. on Nov. 29. The couple had traveled down a barricaded dirt and gravel road on U.S. Forest Service land that leads to Burnside Lake in the Sierra Nevada.
Authorities said Clifton had wanted to try out the four-wheel drive on a 1989 Jeep he recently purchased.
When the storm broke three days after Clifton left the vehicle, Lane went looking for help.
Her brother, Gary Lane, was also looking for her, and had a hunch the couple might have gone to the lake where they had camped before.
Gary Lane and a friend, Brian Roff, commandeered a Caltrans front loader and went searching. They found Lane in the hollow of a tree.
"I heard somebody whistle," Roff told NBC. He said Gary Lane yelled out, "`Hey baby. I'm here and we're coming to get you.'"
They loaded her into the bucket of the loader and returned to a small resort on Highway 88 in the scenic valley just south of Lake Tahoe.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)