Friday’s Plan…

January 21st, 2016

by Cynthia

 

Meet at drive way to Santa Fe Animal Shelter which is on Caja del Rio Road at 10:30 am.

The exit is off 599, I think at South Meadows exit : Follow the signs to the Animal Shelter/ Humane Society. (see map at bottom of page)

Katya Luce will meet us there with some friends from Taos who will bring drones.

We will then drive back towards Montoso Peak and drive the muddy 4-WD road until the first person gets stuck, which will likely be me. We all will park there.

From there we go on foot as close to the mesa edge as possible. GPS: Latitude 35: (degrees) 44’56.63”

Longitude 106:13’56.21”
I believe this spot is where Randy’s dotted line from the river joined the road around Montoso Peak to the mesa edge where the picture of him may have been taken in Dec.

We will walk as far as possible and then use drones with cameras to search closer to the top edge above where his raft was found and where the 4 X’s on his “treasure map” are.

Randy’s raft coordinates are: 35:44’55.20” N, 106:15’30.96”W which I believe are the bottom most-left on the picture below (the x closest to the river.)

(click on images to see them larger)

ImageExtract-001ImageExtract-002ImageExtract-003

The red arrow on picture above points to dotted line on Randy’s map.

ImageExtract-004

GPS coordinates on Google Earth picture above. The right arrow is so I can find the correct spot to know we are on the correct “road”. It should be easy because the power lines intersect with the road here.

Everyone invited. Please bring lots of water and snacks. Cynthia

ImageExtract-005

Map to meeting area.

396 thoughts on “Friday’s Plan…

  1. Ive come to this search a bit late, and unfortunately am too far away to be of assistance.
    however I was wondering if those marks/maps etc are in fact randys maps he was using (and his marks), or are the marks made by you to assist the search?

      • So does this mean that y’all are pretty certain that he is not in the water? Good luck to all of you and let us know as soon as you are done. Waiting to hear. May God watch over your every step and driving and keep you all safe. Wish I was there.

        • There is no certainty on anything. I believe he is not in the water though. He’d of had to had a heart attack or something while at the water’s edge. The thing is that the shallow cold water over deep mud downstream from the raft has not been searched from the ground. Forrest searched it from the air yesterday.

  2. Good luck with God’s safety. My heart is wirh all of you! Stay together, depend on each other and keep positive! This is true love in action!♡

  3. Cynthia, thanx again for your updates on search efforts. I’ve not read any reports yet on Thursday’s search results (as I read this post first.) And thanx to all who are walking the extra mile – you know who you are.

    • Prayers and thoughts to Cynthia and the entire search team. Be careful and thank you again for all of your efforts. People like you all make this world special.

  4. You guys are surely running on pure adrenalin. I applaud all your efforts and pray the drones and aerial photos will give us the answers we are all desperately waiting for! This is terribly heart wrenching.
    God be with all of you today on our new quest to bring Randy home.

        • @Voice, you could be right. Eugene is going to his office and is going to try and do something to show the perspective for the size. John Brown who was with Eugene feels they were too large, but is calling SAR to see if he can find out if a man and dog were over there.

          My thinking is that there are no treads on those wader feet and it seems that way with the footprints which I’d think SAR would have hiking boots with deep treads(thanks alchemist for pointing that out).

          @Cynthia…very cool. Thanks.

          • As Voiceofreason said S&R combed that area with at least one dog. Today it is going to be warm. Keep your noses open.

          • The paw size much too large to be Leo’s paw print in Randy’s foot print. Tiny dogs don’t leave paw prints that size. For a visual comparison, just look at the waders photo.

          • Stephani, I think your idea of the footprint looking like waders without tread and one being deeper than the other, makes sense. I hope someone can thoroughly comb that area within a 30 min hike, as you suggested. Thanks for your good detective work!

          • Just for clarification, one SAR dog team was at the tracks location on Sunday on their way in and out from the raft location. Those tracks look appropriate for that team.

        • “State Search and Rescue combed the area with dogs last weekend. Maybe the footprints belong to one of their groups.”

          Fortunately, most people who work Search And Rescue know to not trample shoe prints when they are looking for someone missing. The problem is that once a team has searched an area, it makes tracking a missing person a hell of a lot more difficult later. When I track a person I duct-tape something to the bottom of both of my shoes just in case someone needs to cover the same ground later. One lone person looking is often better than a team, at first.

          The location of the raft is still unknown to me; I have sent email to Dal and Forrest asking clarification.

          • IMO one person from the beginning should have tried to track his movements from the car. If it was muddy he would have had to leave some tracks that could be confirmed as his and then could possible lead to where he left the raft. It may be to late to pick up a good track now, but I wish you luck.
            jl

          • Desertphile,

            Here is where I think you should search. 35.742734, -106.244743 1 mile radius. Look 100 yards to either side of the roads/trails. Look for a place, possibly near rocks, to make a quick shelter and hunker down for the night. I think he made it to this area at late dusk and decided to bivouac for the night. The dog made it back to the river which is a clue that Randy did not get too far from his raft. This area has been searched by air and a bit by BOTG. But I feel it needs a more thorough search. Watch for ravens… but, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that.

            –TW

          • “Here is where I think you should search. 35.742734, -106.244743 1 mile radius. Look 100 yards to either side of the roads/trails. Look for a place, possibly near rocks, to make a quick shelter and hunker down for the night. I think he made it to this area at late dusk and decided to bivouac for the night. The dog made it back to the river which is a clue that Randy did not get too far from his raft. This area has been searched by air and a bit by BOTG. But I feel it needs a more thorough search. Watch for ravens… but, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that.”

            Indeed, I think you are right. I’m thinking 2,900 feet west by north-west from your spot. Google Maps claims I can drive within 1.4 miles as the raven flies, but it’s 2 miles on foot, along a trail, to the spot I want to look. Over that terrain it takes more about 90 minutes, one-way, just to get there. 1.4 miles hike from where I can drive my car (and park) to your spot, then 0.6 to my spot.

            I can avoid the bare spots: Forrest already checked them via helicopter.

            If I go, I will part east of Montoso Peak, at the end of an unnamed road at 35.739143, -106.225436

  5. Why are y’all headed out that late. The sun is up so much sooner. Also, why didn’t you post this last night so more people had time to prepare.

    • Ralph,

      I can answer that for Cynthia.

      The crew that is providing all of the equipment for today (ATVs, came4ras, drones, etc.) are in the film industry. Their equipment was located all over, and they has to coordinate getting it to the search location.

      This is the soonest they could make that happen. I was actually pretty impressed that Katya was able to come up with so much, in under 24 hours.

    • Ralph, the plans for today we’re avail on the blog last night, before midnight. Organizers had a LONG exhausting day and got plans made after making calls for arrangements. I’m surprised they were so quick!
      Regardless of calls and so many to get together, they got it done and are out searching relentlessly!
      Kudos to all involved and searching!
      Patience and understanding are a virtue on a recovery mission!
      Good Luck, be safe!

  6. Those look like good maps to me. Your groups search plans are quite impressive. Enjoying the pics and updates as I wait to hear more news and updates.

    Worrying about family is the worst feeling, I know.

  7. Where is Randy’s family….? I have not heard? When our guy was missing up here. The family all got here fast, was helping, setting up food and water for the searches and searching as well…..For weeks. Is the Sweet Poor Dog still in the Shelter? Anyone know?

  8. Doug – Demoman
    Cynthia,

    Bravo!
    Earlier I sent you a message indicating my admiration of your efforts and so many others as well in the search for Randy.
    I indicated that I felt a strong desire to assist. Sounds like you are getting all the help you need but having been involved on the treasure search since 2012 I get anxious with things that I know and could help with.
    Please let Forrest know that I am thinking of him and also admire his efforts as well and that I am only a phone call away.
    Wanted you to know I have not forgot you from the Book signing last September. I am watching and hoping things go good and end well. If I can be of any help let me know!
    616-437-9184
    dougmelching@melchingdemo.com

  9. Sounds like a good plan. Thanks again for your efforts.

    Not sure if it helps (and you’ve probably thought about it)…but while searching, imagine it’s getting dark and you want to seek shelter. Where would you go?

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Stay safe and good luck.

    • What are your thoughts about how to make a shelter with the surrounding landscape?

      Should by some possibility Randy left the raft that could be used as shelter, and made his way out and up near the top of the canyon rim… stone would have been his best shelter imo. Stacking in a circle, square or rectangle just large enough to slip into, using sticks and brush for a top would give some protection from the winds and cold. Another is a stick lean-to covered with brush. Lastly a natural rock formation that gave some protection with little or no effort exerted.

      The fact that there seems to be no attempt to start a fire near the raft is puzzling. Even without dry matches or flint starter, there are other ways to attempt a fire. The first things need for survival is; fire, water, shelter [ especially this time of year]. Water doesn’t seem to be a problem with snow and ice near, and the river. The raft would make a good wind barrier. Fire would be the essential next piece of survival…

        • Unfortunately you are correct. Simple provisions can make the difference… small pocket knife or straight blade. A small folding saw. a flint fire started. kite string. Two bright small flashlights with extra batteries. a piece of plastic 6′ folded to fit in ones pocket. Large leaf bag also. Even a rental satellite [ some as cheap as 30 $ for 5 days, plus usage ]. All carried comfortably in pockets or on the belt and very little extra weight.

      • Seeker, there were plenty of loose materials around to build shelter, if he was able to. Plenty of rocks, branches, crevices to hunker in, though the raft itself would be the best cover imo.
        The lack of firepit, signals, litter, etc at the raft makes me think he was not right there for very long.
        My husband and I went out Tuesday with Eugene and John Brown to the east rim.

        Good luck to everyone today, that mud is intense!!

        Kathryn

        • Kathryn,

          Like I said prior, that is puzzling to me. If stranded or there for any length of time, a stone SOS on the sand bar would be one of the first things I would have thought of. As you said, he may have not been there long. Or maybe just was not worried about where he was. That would give a reason for little attempt for any signals or fire. I’m only thinking of a time line of where he left his vehicle to the point of the raft and how much more daylight would be available… I don’t know the area at all, yet it seems to me at this point there would not have been time to attempt a climb. That is only my perspective from the limited information I see, and by no means remotely accurate.

          I have more question than I do any helpful thoughts.

          Hoping the volunteer searchers remain safe and sound… I applaud their selfish and brave effort.

        • Did you see the tracks (in person) that were photographed? They looked really old in the picture, sun dried. Did anyone get a shoe size from shoes left in Randy’s car. Would be helpful to lay something next to print when taking picture to show size…dollar bill.. anything. Also Leos print could be taken by caregiver family and measured. that would help too in doing an ID on print in the picture. Just my opinion

      • I was lost in the snow two years ago and honestly had no hope of making a fire. I need a lighter/matches or forget it. My only hope was to find my way back and I did. I think many of us would do the same and either find our way back or get even more lost. I’m not saying that is a good thing, but it was reality for me. (now I carry matches in a zip lock baggy and I don’t search in the snow anymore.)

  10. Thank you for the images. The raft position 35.748667,-106.258600 (converting to decimal) is not on the river, however: is that a mistake? It shows the raft is at the end of 349 Agoya Ln, Los Alamos, near Rito de los Frijoles—- was the raft on the road or on the river bank? Is it still there?

    If your latitude and longitude for the raft is correct, then there is no “X” anywhere near it on the map images. Your raft coordinates are north of the Rio Grande by more than a mile.

    Will someone please check the raft’s latitude and longitude for me? I plan on searching the area on Monday. Better images of Randy’s map would also be a huge help. Is there someone I may email for more information?

    • This is where the raft is:

      https://goo.gl/JI6BWd

      It is a sandbar, by the river, on the east side, just south of the mouth of Frijoles Canyon.

      Good luck with your search. I believe Sacha is coordinating everyone’s efforts. Her email is cutterconcepts at gmail

      • Looking at the map I noted that the terrain is pretty rugged. I did note a arroyo to the south of the rafts location. It looks passable for a man in waders. And if one follows it up to the top of the mesa one can see it is a clear path to the canyon in question. General travel directions would be south from rafts location to arroyo, then South east through the arroyo and then swing north to the canyon in question. Hope this helps.

        With prayers

      • The measuring tape is Photoshopped, correct? Might want to add a note to that effect in the image as the scale may be off.

        • Actually, and please don’t take this the wrong way, the whole footprint thing is very clearly not Leo paw print. In my opinion, things like this aren’t helpful because it leads people to believe that someone HAS found evidence that he was much further away from the raft. Not everyone is going to read every post. It’s best to only post really solid leads and not every conjecture.

          Again, please don’t take offense, but there are boots on the ground out there and they need to be following the best information we can muster.

          • By clearly, I mean look at the waders photo that has both Randy and Leo in it, estimate an inch for Randy’s knuckles and look at Leo’s paws. He’s a small dog.

      • Stephanie,
        It may have been mentioned before now but the boots in Randy’s car are wading boots that would go with the neoprene waders that you have a picture of also. You can wear any type of foot wear over the waders, I have used croks , tennis shoes etc to save weight if I carry my waders in a back pack for crossing sections of a stream while hiking..
        jl

        • Good to know. I wonder though if he bought a second set of boots with the waders that would be bigger as I believe you’d need to have them larger(right?). Also, he’d want something dry when he got back to his car.

          I just don’t get how those footprints no matter whos they are…are so treadless. Only thing I can think of is a police officer who maybe would be with a dog….I’d think any officer or SAR or anyone out there would want a tread type show though….strange.

          • It might not be a bad idea to have someone take Leo’s print to compare with the ones in the picture.
            Then we would know for sure that it belongs up Randy and Leo.

          • They appear to be wading boots to me I should have said. Yes if you are going to substitute foot wear for wading boots they would have to be larger then what your normal size is. It could be that he just forgot to take the wading boots when he loaded the raft. I agree the foot print lacks a tread such as you would get from a felt bottomed wading boot.
            jl

          • JL so the wading boots also have felt on the bottom? I remember Forrest saying something to me once about slippery rocks and he would wear felt footed waders and I had no idea what those bottoms would be like. So maybe that’s it…he forgot his hiking boots and walked around in felt bottom wading boots and he could leave a print like that.

            Someone emailed me and made the most obvious suggestion….if the raft is still in it’s place….has anyone checked under it to make sure Randy isn’t under there?

          • Stephanie,
            Yes wading boots have different tread, a felt bottom boot is used for places with slick rock, they would leave no tread design. There are wading boots with tread for areas that are not as slick and both types can be bought to accept small metal inserts, kind of like studded snow tires. I wrote all this earlier but the web sight went down , so it might show up twice.
            jl .

          • They are not treadless. They are at least a week old and when someone has walked in muddy and vegetative areas, gunk sticks to your boots. Treads are never perfect each and every time. They are not his footprints. Someone already confirmed the State SAR personnel and their dogs were there.

          • To me, it kinda looks like the boot prints are older than the canine prints….see how the edges are more rounded/eroded compared to the sharper edges of the dog/coyote? Also, assuming the man is heavier than the dog, why are the dog’s prints imbedded deeper? My theory is that the man-prints are older and any tread pattern got softened/erased during the 3 recent snows (and subsequent freeze/thaw), and that the dog came along after when the ground was softer. Just a thought.

          • moccasins….. If the measure is accurate. They are too small for someone 6′!’ and 200 lbs. I would think someone that heavy would sink way deeper than a small dog in soft mud. tracks look really old from picture. just my opinion

  11. I was thinking about many other hiker search and rescue that I have watched up close. I think Randy may not be able to be seen with drones, planes etc…
    He might be in a cave or overhang. He may of been injured or froze. Hate to say that……Two women here that happened to. They searched for a month and they were pretty close to where they parked their car. Of course they did not make it. They froze in the overhang. they were found in different area’s. So sad….
    I am a full time caregiver 24-7 to may handicapped sister. I am still thinking of a way I can try to come down there and help……Feeling bad for Randy and everyone….God Bless. I am experienced hiker and certified in First Aid and CPR.
    Can’t tell you how much I wish I was there.
    You all are Awesome!

  12. Thank you for finally publishing the position of Randy’s raft and dog. This is by far the most critical clue.

    And the most likely scenario is still: Randy tried to make his way back to his car.

    But the dog remaining there by the raft also suggests Randy tried to wade/swim across the river. If Randy stayed on land, then the dog would likely have remained with Randy.

    The only nearby help worth mentioning is at Bandelier. If Randy had already tried and given up on making it to his car; could he have then gone for Bandelier without the boat? Maybe, if he was having massive trouble navigating the boat.

    Those rafts are cumbersome for two or more paddlers, let alone just one. Could he have really wanted to land on the west side and failed in the boat, then set out to wade/swim?

    Swimming would be irrational, but the dog was there by the water! And it’s not too hard to imagine Randy could have thought swimming was a way to get where he wanted to go, if the couldn’t get the boat to behave.

    If I was there today, my first duty would be to explore the east bank. I’d head north until the way was especially difficult on the bank, and that’s where I’d head for higher ground. My second duty would be to thoroughly explore Falls Trail, at least up to the Bandalier visitor’s center.

    • Should go without saying: It’s vitally important to search on foot starting at the boat (ground zero). Judging by what I’ve seen online, that’s barely been tried by the volunteers. Can anyone confirm what the pros have done from ground zero?

      • The accessible area on the east bank, up and downstream of the raft location, was searched by three NMSAR ground teams and one dog team, with no additional clues discovered. The trail up to the east rim, just south of the raft, was searched by the same teams, and the rim section above the raft location was checked by the dog team – no relevant clues or dog interest.

        • “The accessible area on the east bank, up and downstream of the raft location, was searched by three NMSAR ground teams and one dog team, with no additional clues discovered. The trail up to the east rim, just south of the raft, was searched by the same teams, and the rim section above the raft location was checked by the dog team – no relevant clues or dog interest.”

          That is where I was going to look: the southern trail up the hill. It sounds like there is no point in searching that part again. Maybe I will search along the river on foot, south of the raft.

          • Hello Desertphile. I don’t know the lands of New Mexico very well. What are your thoughts to the possibility of Randy going farther east/northeast/southeast than we’re thinking?

          • “Hello Desertphile. I don’t know the lands of New Mexico very well. What are your thoughts to the possibility of Randy going farther east/northeast/southeast than we’re thinking?”

            Two thoughts, both sad.

            1) It is as easy to get lost in the area as it is to fall off a chair when drunk: people forget they need to look behind them as they hike, and remember what the route looks like for their return trip, because it often looks much different than they thought it would. When I hike the canyon lands of northern New Mexico, I constantly look backwards.

            On odd thing about trails is that at the top of an escarpment a trail will often fade and it is difficult to find along the rim of a gorge. I have passed the start of trails several times, on the rim above Rio Chama, before I found them. When a person climbs out of a river gorge, they need to stop and look at the route back.

            I have noticed that my dog, Albert, almost always has a much better idea than I do about the route back from where we started. He knows that “go ride!” means “we’re on our way back to the car.”

            2) When people are lost, they tend to travel an astonishing distance in a short period of time. It is utterly amazing how far they tend to go. They just go, and go, and go, and go. Their first instincts are to climb; after climbing until they are weary, they then follow the easiest routes—- arroyos, creek beds, between hills.

            Another thing I noticed is that people often don’t know if they are too far up stream of a point of a river, or two far down stream from the place on the river they are trying to get to. Hikers love to get to the edge of a river gorge and think they need to go up stream when they need to go down stream, or the other way around. They get even more confused when they think they will “strike” the river gorge rim to their left, when the finally spot it but it’s to their right— rivers meander.

          • I would never argue that there is no point re-searching any given area unless it has absolutely been ruled out. The terrain here is very rugged, and an unresponsive subject would not have to be far off the trail to be missed by a visual search. On the other hand, after that elapsed time, I would expect a dog to be able to detect a subject within a much greater radius, depending on the wind.

            Down by the raft there is plenty of accessible terrain, but also lots of inaccessible areas, mainly due to thick vegetation. After a few hundred meters in each direction the river is not navigable on the east bank from that location.

            Then there is the rest of the east wall above the raft location – very difficult to ground search thoroughly, but has been checked from the air and by dog from above.

  13. Sacha has sent out this info…..

    the pilot has landed after surveying all of region 1, region 2, and most of region 3. His report is below. He said he saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary and the only thing he saw out there was a traffic cone. He ended up not taking any video and instead had his photographer do a visual inspection by binocular only. Sorry, wish there was more to report.

    Gentleman,
    We are back on the ground. Unfortunately nothing unusual to report.
    Engine start at ABQ 0831
    On scene 0858
    Left scene 1014
    Engine shutdown 1043
    2.2 hour flight
    1.2 hours on scene
    Covered areas 1 & 2 really well and most of eastern side of area 3. I was flying and the photographer was in the back with binoculars. We focused on the canyons as the most likely spot to see clues. Covered frijoles, Alamo , lummis, capulin, hondo, medio and Sanchez canyons.
    Covered bottom of river and looked in debris spots in river down to start if the lake.
    Rapids upstream from raft and dog point don’t look bad enough to upend a raft.
    Sure wish we had something more substantial for you guys. Let me know if you would like more detail on the areas covered.

    • Thank you for the information, Stephanie. Everyone is doing their best and have tried and continue to try to search for Randy. It’s all we could possibly ask for. I’m truly grateful to those who have checked the areas to which were requested of them and all involved.

    • Here is a link to a map outlining where the pilot searched today:
      http://imgur.com/UL6054b

      The pilot made a last minute decision that his efforts would be better spent having his photographer do a binocular search rather than acquiring video. It sounds like he did a thorough search of these areas but it is disappointing there is not video data to share so the community can review.

      • @threerocks, was this the high resolution aerial footage that was mentioned as a possibility? If so, that’s a shame, but understandable. I’m just wondering if we should still be expecting that to come later today.

        • Jeremy this was the pilot who was supposed to take the footage. He was contracted to acquire imaging but decided to do more of a standard search and rescue job last minute. Not much to be done about it at this point but at least there were another set of eyes out looking.

          • That’s too bad. We all could have look at real time images. GE is not updated so is not helpful for what we want to do.
            Not good news imo.

          • Thanks for update. I agree, just getting someone out to that area really helps. Good work, everyone involved.

  14. Sefic, I see your logic.
    I’ve worked with dogs for years and have a possible scenario…
    They both hiked out after putting in. Randy fell or got hurt. Leo stayed by his side as long as he could, before Randy passed, and thirst forced him to back track to the river. Instincts will take over in a dog, self preservation, and water, will supercede sitting by his master, who no longer acknowledges him.

    I think the canyon is their area of search with drones.

    ☆☆☆ Snow forcasted for Sunday afternoon in SF area. Don’t know how much, but could cover any evidence of travel and hinder search.

    Warmer weather will be the needed factor now. A vulture, crow etc can scent up to ten miles. Circling birds will be a sign. F said they only saw a few Eagles, no cairn birds.

  15. I’ve been reading the post everyday. I would like to be able to put the pieces together and help find Randy. Unfortunately, all I come up with are more questions. If Randy’s raft had a tear, does that mean that he was forced to go on the sandbar at that spot? The pictures from Dec. show that that spot was his likely intended destination. I believe the pictures are from opposite sides of the river, from what I have read. So how did he get to the two spots, on different sides, on the same day in Dec? Was he wading across? There is speculation that he was wearing waders when he went missing, but why would he wear waders to raft the river knowing that if he somehow fell out there would be trouble? Maybe he didn’t know. If he was wearing regular clothes then why hike out with the waders. Why bring them at all? To get through the mud and muck without getting stuck or wet (I didn’t think of that until Forrest posted about mud on the sandbar) which tells me that he must have been wearing them in the raft. I saw the picture of the footprints. It looked like a good print with a partial print on both sides of it. Did it look that way to anyone else? If so, why were there partial prints on both sides of the good print? Unless, someone stopped and looked around at this spot or walked back over it. I suspect that he had a specific destination in mind when he went missing and I don’t understand why he would need to go to both sides of the river to get there. If he needed to get to frijoles wouldn’t it have been easier to drive then hike? It has been said that he might have been trying to avoid people but then how did he plan on getting back to his car from there? He may have intended to float the rest of the way to the lake and get cell service or borrow a phone from there. That tells me that his searching point may not have been too far from where his raft was found as there is only so much time in a day. Raft, hike , get treasure, hike back, raft more, get back to car, sounds like a full day to me. From what I have read, it doesn’t appear that he was trying to be at the area of the raft at nightfall. If he didn’t want, or couldn’t, get back into the water would he have tried to hike out? Very possibly. In his mind, could he make it to Bandelier area for help, as it is closer, or would he try to go back to his car? I don’t know him so I don’t know how he thinks.
    Either way would have been very difficult. Randy might have thought that if he could just get to the top of the mesa(?) then he could make the hike to his car. If Randy had been to the area before then he might have decided that this was doable. I believe what Forrest said about the canyons. With the task being so difficult to begin with, he would have had to take the path of least resistance, if there is one, and not the most direct path. If he was there in Dec. then he might have known the roads or paths at the top. I know a lot of my thoughts were redundant to what has already been speculated. I guess I needed to write it (out loud?). I am in respectful awe of the women and men that are going through such efforts to find Randy.

    • We don’t know if he was wearing waders. We only know there were boots in his car. The footprints taken by Eugene, I was just told that NMSAR said they aren’t relevant because of his size and weight and Leos size.

      Interesting though that one of the SAR teams said the raft was fine and Forrest’s guy went down and said it had a tear in it.

      So does that mean he wanted to hike up and out where the raft was(I don’t even know if that’s possible…and if it is, then why raft at all?)So if he was intending to do that, why not take Leo? Because he can’t climb and carry him? Seems to me he’d have a backpack he could put him in or would have tried to make something out of the raft to bring Leo with.

      Questions are good…they could lead to answers. I wonder if he was able to get out of the canyon…has that area been searched way up high walking down roads to get out of that area?

      • Stephanie, thanks for clarifying about the waders. I shouldn’t have assumed he was wearing them. I agree that questions are good and could lead to answers. Again, thanks to everyone involved in finding Randy.

  16. Thank you everyone for the latitude and longitude to the raft. My computer went belly-up when I tried to post relies to messages. I assume Randy went to the arroyo entrance at 35.740727, -106.258625 then headed eastward. I also assume that area was already searched.

    I wonder if he accidentally went south when the arroyo split, instead of north: some times people do that.

    Other than the “X” in the center of the three “X” triangle (perhaps Randy thought he saw landmarks on the map), I see no reason why anyone would think the treasure is on that hill to the east of the raft.

    I am going to make a prediction, and say Randy turned north 700 feet too soon: he mistook the closest north-going arroyo with the next one.

    I would look here: 35.745743, -106.253883

    • Desertphile,

      Here is where I think you should search. 35.742734, -106.244743 1 mile radius. Look 100 yards to either side of the roads/trails. Look for a place, possibly near rocks, to make a quick shelter and hunker down for the night. I think he made it to this area at late dusk and decided to bivouac for the night. The dog made it back to the river which is a clue that Randy did not get too far from his raft. This area has been searched by air and a bit by BOTG. But I feel it needs a more thorough search. Watch for ravens… but, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that.

      –TW

  17. Here is the disappointing report from the aerial photographer this morning who was over the site.

    Gentleman,
    We are back on the ground. Unfortunately nothing unusual to report.
    Engine start at ABQ 0831
    On scene 0858
    Left scene 1014
    Engine shutdown 1043
    2.2 hour flight
    1.2 hours on scene
    Covered areas 1 & 2 really well and most of eastern side of area 3. I was flying and the photographer was in the back with binoculars. We focused on the canyons as the most likely spot to see clues. Covered frijoles, Alamo , lummis, capulin, hondo, medio and Sanchez canyons.
    Covered bottom of river and looked in debris spots in river down to start if the lake.
    Rapids upstream from raft and dog point don’t look bad enough to upend a raft.
    Sure wish we had something more substantial for you guys. Let me know if you would like more detail on the areas covered.
    Jim

  18. Folks-
    There is no bottom to the depths to which some low-life humans will descend. The following note was submitted as a comment. It is not from Forrest. Randy has not been found. But we want to share this poorly conceived deception with you. Perhaps the perpetrator will be exposed for the pond scum he must be.

    The IP on this email was sent from is 207.109.54.130. This turns out to be a CenturyLink connection from the Denver area. Probably a cell phone. This IP has never been used to comment on the blog before.

    Once again..the following note is NOT from Forrest. It is a malicious ruse.

    Dear Friends,

    With much regret I want to inform everyone that Randy’s body was found today in a remote slot canyon, tributary to the Rio Grande river. The family has been notified and we hope everyone can send their condolences and prayers.

    Love,
    Forrest Fenn

    This message is a fake posted here to illustrate that not everyone plays with a full deck.

  19. We all know that ,if you are lost in the forest/jungle that one should follow the river/creek downstream in the hopes of finding civilisation .
    So if I were Randy and I was hurt(sprained ankle) knowing that I would not be able to go back down to the river before dark or any other time. I would follow the river south,knowing that would be the most likely place for me to find help. Going back north to my car would not be an option because there,s no one there to help. Trying to get back down to the river would be too painful an option and crossing it to Banderlia would be even more strenuous .
    I,m sure at night White Rock would have illuminated the skies,so he would have known that that was NW and Conchiti Lake would have done the same so he would have headed in the direction of the lake.
    This is just another scenario..All in my opinion .

    • “Cynthia just sent this note and photo in: ‘We are above the area where the raft was found. We don’t have time to get to the river and back to the car by 4:00 which is the designated meeting time for all search parties.'”

      Thank you for the image. The place the person is sitting is about 700 feet north of where I was thinking of looking; I won’t bother. I’m thinking I’ll check the river southward.

    • Hi Dal,
      Reading ALL of the posts, taking notes and putting labeled stars on Google maps – I have 3 coordinates where the raft was found. Did Cynthia record her position of this photo or did she use a GPS to discern that the photo is above the rafts former location. What are the actual coordinates of the raft.
      Thank You. Thank you all. This sad incident has brought out the very best in your site. Be proud.

        • Thanks Jeremy. I truly appreciate the response but that makes 4 locations. I do not mean to come off as being contentious- really I don’t. But I now have 4 stars labeled “Raft”. Thank you – can anyone post the decimal coordinates? The first I have is from the day the Rescue folks found the dog. Right near the mouth of Montosa Canyon — 35.720667,-106.271833. I recall thinking what a great coincidence that a chopper could land where the raft was. Also that location fits the distance that the raft had been dragged from the water.
          Might anyone please confirm the exact location of the raft?
          Thank You All

          • The officially recorded location was 35.7482˚ N, 106.2586˚ W. That is within 20 ft of the actual location.

          • That’s just an illusion created by the color of the canyon. Once you get to the map from clicking the link…zoom down to see the river and then you’ll notice its on the East bank. 🙂

  20. Thank you for the post, Dal. By the looks of the photo, and where the searcher sits, it looks like it would be possible for Randy to have climbed up from where the raft was located, unless it doesn’t show a sudden drop in front of the searcher.

    • “Thank you for the post, Dal. By the looks of the photo, and where the searcher sits, it looks like it would be possible for Randy to have climbed up from where the raft was located, unless it doesn’t show a sudden drop in front of the searcher.”

      There is a trail to the south that makes the climb much easier.

      • Forgive me if I seem ignorant. Was it possible for Randy to travel the shore to get to the trail? I know Mr. Fenn spoke of getting his own boot stuck and his foot coming out of it, but not sure if it would have been around the area from which you speak.

  21. From a long distance away, it’s very heartwarming to witness the kindness and courage of those searching and donating resources.
    Really good folks!!!

    Question: if the River is low and raft was easily beached, why would Randy purchase expensive Chest waders and wear them? Seems like inexpensive boots, knee waders, or tiva sandles would suffice.

    Chest waders seem to indicate he planned on passing thru deeper water somewhere; either in the Rio Grand or where?

    Are any of the tributary streams deep enough to warrent chest waders??

    Regarding a cougar taking him…I don’t think Leo would have survived If a predator was hunting the area. It’s a miracle eagles or osprey didn’t take Leo.

    • Hello lia. One thought I had in regards to buying waders, if not going into deep waters, would be to keep his clothes dry while in the raft. Perhaps just to be prepared in case he did come to waters that were more than knee high. This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

  22. Ok, here goes my imagination again…
    1. Randy is missing, I MEAN MISSING! Almost like aliens abducted him.
    2. Professional searchers, dogs, PD and civilians have scoured areas to no avail.
    3. The other day I had a creepy nagging feeling, the ones I used to get in CID, that something just isn’t right. I posted questions about pic of Randy’s selfie, not knowing it was an older one, but had creeps none the less.
    ☆☆ Here’s the deal, there are sick individuals that prey, (or hunt) for their victims in isolated areas like the canyon Randy was in.
    They have to brag about their accomplishments to feed their sick ego.
    Maybe, JUST maybe, Randy was the victim of foul play.
    His perpetrator posted that forged message from F as a way to blow his horn. Maybe Randy is in an area described in the message.
    ☆☆ I suggest the IP address be given to the PD and explain how it was received and request a trace and an interview with the sender.

    It’s been sticking in my craw why the ‘friend’ in Denver waited so many days to report Randy missing. Maybe he wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, but still… I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. But that was the thought that sparked my suspicious thinking on WHY there is NOTHING out there at all! Not a shoe, signal fire, evidence of a struggle, nothing. Because maybe, he was removed from the area and hid/buried.
    I’m sorry, trying to stay positive, but I look at 360′ of every situation. I scoffed at this suspicious idea until now, after the “love FF” notice was posted.
    Nothing is too small to look into when a life is at stake, please notify PD asap! They need to know about it.
    Sorry so long.

    • “… It’s been sticking in my craw why the ‘friend’ in Denver waited so many days to report Randy missing. Maybe he wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, but still… I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. But that was the thought that sparked my suspicious thinking on WHY there is NOTHING out there at all! Not a shoe, signal fire, evidence of a struggle, nothing…..”

      Well, people vanish in the area pretty must constantly. Rio Grande Gorge, Rio Chama Gorge, the Chama Wilderness, Carson Forest, Santa Fe Forest…. no sign of them gets found. “Foul play” therefore seems to me to not be worthy of considering,

    • The friend is in Florida actually. I don’t know why he waited so long. I agree that it should be given to the police as well just because we don’t know what happened.

      I personally believe he’s nearby, just under snow or an overhang and can’t be seen, but who knows at this point.

      They found his computer in the car, but they aren’t releasing it yet to the family. The family has asked.

      • “I personally believe he’s nearby, just under snow or an overhang and can’t be seen, but who knows at this point.”

        The dog might know. It seems to me you are right; Randy is within three miles or less of where the raft was found.

  23. Unfortunately, I’ve been thinking along those lines myself just couldn’t bring myself to say it.
    This is so sad.
    I don’t want to give up hope though, There’s always hope, right?

  24. Hello searchers,
    Not the place for a long introduction so I’ll just say I’ve only been on the hunt for a few months and been watching the blogs from the sidelines but this search has been truly inspirational. You all are a great group of people.

    This theory comes from reading the comments here and on chasechat. You guys are amazing and I think some of you have already arrived at this conclusion but I have not seen it directly said, that is why I had to chime in. Also, this is based on the information that the Bandelier guys found human and small dog tracks in the lower Frijoles canyon.
    Here goes, Trying to keep it brief;
    Randy had first gone to Bandalier but couldn’t access the lower canyon from there. See pic of upper Frijoles waterfall. Trail is closed. He found access to the rim of the canyon on the east side and scouted. See pics from Randy showing the mouth of Frijoles but from two different canyons. I think he was looking for a way out, not a way in. The X’s on his map are possible escape routes that he was scouting. The whole thing was thoroughly planned. He bought equipment specifically for this plan/trip.

    He rafted down the river, landed at the Frijoles canyon, did his exploring/searching with his dog, then slightly downstream landed on the east side to make his exit. He had to have known he was walking out when he started. This is obviously where the questions start:
    He left himself a good 15 mile walk to get back to his car. Was he later than he intended to be? Or did he have another vehicle? Or another person coming for him? Did he plan on an overnight stay? This could affect the direction he would go after leaving the boat.
    The map would indicate 3 possibilities for exiting the canyon, possibly dependent upon where he managed to land the boat. If he could tell where exactly he was in the canyon at that point.

    But something here went wrong. Something that separated him from his dog;
    My best guess, he tipped the boat over getting in or out. The bottom of the boat was torn. Possibly lost his gear and maybe the dog to the river. He may have stayed too long to search for the dog but if he was wet and had no gear, he would have to get to higher ground quick. He left the boat propped up as a shelter for the dog if he returned. Wet, cold and time pressing, he would have to begin the exit, or set up a camp. But with no gear, if it was still light he might try to make it out. A slip in that canyon with wet boots…

    Alternately, if he made the crossing successfully, a fall on his way out, an animal attack could easily separate him from his dog. Even if he was OK after, he might stay too long looking for poor Leo.

    All that said, a suggestion for those more familiar with the area and the search (who most of this info came from anyway); Plan his exit as you planned his entry. The searchers (except the helicopter) are in the right area today but maybe a plan of the best exit routes would put some searchers on the right path.

  25. I figured out what the dashed line on Randy’s map is. It’s also the point of view in a few of his photos (FROMRANDYDEC, AND FROMRANDYDEC2). So on the map, he’s marked the place the photo was taken and the specific direction of his viewpoint.
    The other Xs are probably points at which he took other photos!
    Wish I was there, because I’d get right to that spot and fully explore all along that dashed line. I’ve been writing here for a couple days that he’ll be found in this spot. Now this dashy line revelation reinforces that in a mysterious way.

    • I wrote: “I’ve been writing here for a couple days that he’ll be found in this spot.”

      I should add: Or one nearby just like it.

    • “I figured out what the dashed line on Randy’s map is. It’s also the point of view in a few of his photos (FROMRANDYDEC, AND FROMRANDYDEC2).”

      The dashed line marks where Randy (presumably it was him) extended on his map the existing road, marking a line to Rio Grande. The dashed line starts where the real road ends, and heads northwest; there appears to be a foot trail that starts at the end of the road and goes to the river, and Randi marked that foot trail on his map with a dashed line. I suspect Randy planned on parking at the end of that road for a future hunt, or had parked there in a past hunt. The foot path leads to Pueblito Tank, and so does Randy’s dashed line.

      I wonder if Randy thought “Spring 8” is hot or warm water.

      Because so many people have already searched the area near the river, my plan is to park at the dashed line, where the road ends, and follow the foot path. I want to look where the fewest people have looked.

      • Desertphile, there is no road or anything remotely resembling a road where the dashed line is. If you want to see exactly what’s there, look at Randy’s photos.

          • Stephanie, the Pueblito Tank is an unusual rock formation near the river’s edge. And Spring 8 is a very modest spring also near the river’s edge. It’s barely a trickle during most of the year, and dry for some of the year.

          • “Stephanie, the Pueblito Tank is an unusual rock formation near the river’s edge”

            Er…. it was made by humans and it is a little short of 2,000 feet from the river. It is made out of concrete and river rocks. 35.760839, -106.230929

          • “Desertphile is that tank the same as the “wells” I just put on the pictures page at http://www.thirtyacre.com/randy/

            Yes, by golly! well.jpg and well2.jpg is Pueblito Tank. Gosh, you’re good. 🙂 That means Randy visited already; it means he had already parked at the end of 24NB and hiked to the northern “X” point. That suggests he had already visited the other “X” places.

            That makes me wonder if Randy crossed the river in his waders and went up Rito de los Frijoles and his dog went with him— and only the dog came out, eventually. Perhaps Randy left the raft on the other side of the river because he had planned on floating down river to Cochiti Gold Club and get a ride to his car— they might even have a bus to Santa Fe.

            The poem says one should find the blaze, then look quickly down. Maybe Randy thought Rito de los Frijoles was “quickly down.”

          • “Also, what is spring 8? Is that part of those wells? or the tank if it’s different?”

            Spring 8 is near the river, north of the Tank, 1,606 feet. I was just wondering if the tiny trickle of water there is warm.

          • No Stephanie, the Tank has nothing to do with the wells. The Pueblito Tank is a name for north-facing rock cliffs just upstream from the mouth of Frijoles Canyon. That is all.

        • “Desertphile, there is no road or anything remotely resembling a road where the dashed line is. If you want to see exactly what’s there, look at Randy’s photos”

          I am staring at the map image that Randy wrote on; I see a road. I also see the road on Google Maps. Google Maps also told me how to drive to the end of that road. The road is 24NB, which is what Stephanie posted a few minutes ago regarding Randy buying a map at the Visitor’s Center.

          I thought Randy’s car was at the end of that road. I was wrong.

          I think the three (not four) “X”s are potential blazes Randy wanted to hike to. I also think he didn’t take the Rito de los Fijoles trail, on foot, because the gates are closed and locked until April. I also think he meant to discard / abandon the inflatable boat and hike back to his car— he may have had no idea just how much time it takes to cross the terrain (12 miles would take me no less than 30 hours over that ground). I think he planned on hiking to the first “X”, then the middle “X”, then the upper “X”, and then back to his car.

          I cannot imagine why he didn’t drive into the area, like he told the people at the Visitor’s Center.

          At the moment I am thinking of driving to the end of 24NB and hiking to the north “X” then the middle “X” then the lower “X”. If he was looking for a blaze, then so should I.

          • Hi Desertphile –

            I hope one day to meet you ! There actually are five X’s on Randys map but the two below the three dark ones are much lighter in color. I don’t have a clue what that means.

          • Desertphile, there happens to be a road adjacent to the dashed line, but that’s beside the point. Two of Randy’s photos show precisely the spot of the dahsed line. One is from higher elevation than the other. Have a look at the photos to get your bearing straight.

            F.Y.I., Randy marked another spot 14 miles away as the blaze. It’s also over 3,000 ft. higher in elevation. The poem is really also beside the point.

            Randy parked his care about 9 miles north of the dashed line.

            The whole scale of Randy’s map and his movements suggest he had planned too much out on maps while he was loosing track of the scale of his journey. His boat was 9 miles downstream from his car, and still 14 miles from his “blaze”. Some things suggest Randy had a good grip on his whereabouts, but the map and his actual movements suggest he was in way over his head.

          • I was on the search with the team today, Cynthia will post a full update once she gets herself sorted from the day and after meeting with FF. Everyone reading – please be patient regarding updates. Keep in mind these are all volunteers and by the time we got home tonight I was (am) absolutely exhausted, just typing this is taking an embarrassingly long time.

            Desertphile – We hiked, searched, and flew drones all around the X’s and the E. (Specifics will have to come from another searcher, I am not familiar with the area in the slightest). The road does exist but it is NOT an easy road to traverse, even with experienced off-road drivers. I would not recommend driving this alone because getting stuck is likely and becoming more likely due to the deep tracks created by our traffic today.

            The terrain is pretty rough and takes concentration to navigate (cactus in the ankle is not fun), which takes away from actual looking when moving around. The trees are all about 10 feet tall and about 10 feet wide, which means every tree is a potential place he could be and unless you walked right up to the tree we didn’t feel certain it was clear. We did walk the potential exits from where the raft was located but didn’t see anything new.

            Sorry for the anticlimactic brief overview here, not really anything new to report. I would like to add that the group of people I was with today were an awesome bunch and I am glad I had the chance to meet them. Next time, bring whiskey.

          • “Desertphile – We hiked, searched, and flew drones all around the X’s and the E. (Specifics will have to come from another searcher, I am not familiar with the area in the slightest). The road does exist but it is NOT an easy road to traverse, even with experienced off-road drivers. I would not recommend driving this alone because getting stuck is likely and becoming more likely due to the deep tracks created by our traffic today. ”

            Thank you, Amber. I have canceled my plans to go on that road; I am convinced Randy isn’t in that area—- he already searched that area for the treasure chest, via automobile and on foot. I think he is down river.

            Thank you and all the searchers. I feel so sad for Randy’s family.

      • Why do you think Randy might have know about Spring 8? Just wondering what I’m missing here. Spring 8 is barely a trickle at best. You could walk right over the top of it without notice.

        • “Why do you think Randy might have know about Spring 8? Just wondering what I’m missing here. Spring 8 is barely a trickle at best. You could walk right over the top of it without notice.”

          Only because it is on the map, and Randy parked the foot trail going to the tank near Spring 8.

      • “so many people have already searched the area near the river”
        Nothing I’ve seen or read shows this is true. Please show me what I’m missing. The photos listed above show the precise path of the dashed line. If anyone reading this has followed this precise path and fully explored it (see the photos), please say so here.

        • The State SAR and all their volunteers did numerous river searches, with boat, divers, planes, and people on foot with dogs.

    • In order to sign on to wifi at a public library you have to sign in and show your library card. Then you get to use one of their computers which would be assigned to you. I’m not sure how it works though if you bring your own device how they would know though. Very Sad. His ex wife just saw this and I feel terrible for not warning her.

      • It’s the Jefferson County Public Library in Wheat Ridge, CO in Denver. Meh. To get any more info than that requires a search warrant. Truly disgusting.

  26. This is EXACTLY! what I said A WEEK AGO!! From the Canyon above his raft to Montoso, Twin Hills and Colorado Peak. But I’m am just an amateur, I’ve only been hiking the Western United States of America for 40 years. Absolutely Amazing the level of incompetence ..

      • That specific area has the sinkholes, all right around Twin Peaks…..they’re pretty deep. and the high power lines are directly overhead there (heavy loads and water high?). That sort of aligns with Randy’s X’s….and ???

        I so wish I could be of more help on the ground, as I’m s bit familiar with it and live close by. But, I’m on hospice duty for my mom in Chicago.

  27. If the PD has Randy’s computer, it may be worth sending the detective the IP address from the “despicable” sender to see if it compares to any of Randy’s correspondence. I agree all angles should be looked at.

    Thank you for all of the energy and love that has been put forth to bring Randy home!

  28. Leo was sitting by the raft alone, scared and thin. How could he survive there without a predator discovering him? Coyotes run rampant and Leo would be a tempting morsel. I can’t see him making it through even one night without a predator locating him. He’s so small even an eagle might be able to lift off with him. So does that mean Randy met with trouble just before Leo was rescued?? Have others discussed this?

    • Kathleen: I am with you 100%. It’s a miracle that Leo was able to survive such harsh conditions without food, and somehow avoid the predators. For > 2 weeks!

      Leo is being overlooked. That little dog knows where where his beloved Randy is.

      I picture the poor little guy mourning his master in the shelter, when actually he may be the key to resolving this mystery.

      If only someone would give him a chance to tell his story…take Leo back there and he just might lead the searchers to Randy.

  29. I haven’t posted my feelings yet on what has happened to Randy, so I’d like to do so now.

    First of all, I would bet that the “friend” who didn’t call for awhile kept expecting Randy to pick up the phone. He/she was hoping he’d answer and didn’t want to take that next step of calling someone out of fear .. fear that something might have actually happened to him. I’m glad the person called when they did, it might have ended up that they never called and no one would even know he was missing.

    Secondly, accidents happen. Do I think Randy was prepared? Was he making a bad decision getting in the river that day? Honestly, I doubt that Randy thought he was doing something dangerous that day. I’m sure he felt like it was a quick little trip down the Rio. I’m sure he was very excited, loving what he was doing and was no doubt very happy that day. We can all second guess him, but I prefer to think he knew what he was doing. Just a few days ago, an experienced rock climber fell to her death at Diablo Canyon which is near where Randy parked his car. Did she make a bad decision that day? She was experienced, loved what she was doing, but something happened, an accident. It wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. She died doing what she loved. If Randy did die, we all know he was having fun and loving life.

    Thirdly, what do I think happened? I don’t know, but I sure do appreciate everyone giving it so much thought. Your suggestions have helped the searchers in so many ways. There are so many wise and wonderful people who are helping. I hope they find Randy soon. I pray they find Randy soon.

    Fourthly, I am so happy they found Leo. We have hope because of Leo. We are inspired to search because of Leo. The sweet, little companion of Randy has given us the strength to continue.

    Finally, my heart and mind have been so consumed with this search for Randy. My heart aches and I’m waiting anxiously with everyone else to know what happened. I pray for Randy’s family and the agony they must be experiencing.

    This community of treasure hunters has touched my soul in a very deep way. I am blessed to stand beside and with you.

      • “End of Buckman Road, at the river’s edge, near the water station.”

        Thank you. Alas, it doesn’t help me any since Buckman Road is in Santa Fe, no where near Rio Grande. 🙂 I am thinking it is the end of County Road 77, Caja del Rio Canyon.

        I found another web page that stated where Randy’s car was found. It looks like he floated down river about 8 miles— I thought he hiked from Upper Falls foot trail, Frijoles Creek.

    • Your not stupid Dp,
      I think your a little behind, but I think his vehicle was on Old Buckman Road near RIO, 9 miles north where the raft & Leo was discovered.
      OH the Mod Goofy……

    • Randy’s car was 9 miles north of where his boat was found. He intended to get back to his car (obviously). But he must have been so inexperienced with such a raft that he didn’t know that people don’t really go upstream in those things. It’s Just north of White Rock.
      He had probably already learned the hard way that getting back to his car by boat was unfeasible. And in all likelihood, he was unexpectedly exhausted in the process.

  30. Just posted on my forum and wanted to share it. Julie works for SF NF Maps and is also the lady who heard the noise and saw Randy’s car the morning he left to go down the River.

    On 12/24/15 Randy was at the Santa Fe National Forest Supervisor’s Office off Highway 14 from 1012 – 1019 am. He brought a visitor map in with him, and he was asking if there was a road on the Caja del Rio Plateau that would take him to the east rim because he wanted to take photographs of Bandelier National Monument and wanted to get photos from different positions out there. He pointed at the Frijoles Canyon area. Thomas and Josh gave him the SFNF Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) and pointed him towards Forest Road 24NB but then said he’d have to walk from there because you aren’t supposed to drive on any the roads if they aren’t on the MVUM. He told them that he was driving around out there earlier and got lost and pointed to the area east of Colorado Peak. (there are a lot of roads out there are few have signs because people shoot them)

    He came in with that Santa Fe NF visitor map that was in his car – the one with the “SUN” symbol on it. My guess is he might have bought it at PLIC – the BLM Public Land Info Office that is up the road, and maybe since he was asking such detailed questions about SFNF they advised him to come to the SFNF office.

    Since we only started selling that visitor map a few months ago, I thought he bought it in our office and this morning I asked our front desk employees if they recognized him, a guy asking questions about the Caja and Bandelier. And they did.

    They never caught his name but this seems pretty likely it is Randy. They really thought he looked like him. He did not bring Leo inside. He did not mention the FF treasure. They assumed he was a professional photographer.

    Here are a couple of photos from the security camera:
    [IMG][/IMG]
    https://flic.kr/p/CrK6RZ
    https://flic.kr/p/DmPpou

      • OK my first post was moderated and the second wasn’t. I dont’ know why the first was…but there was a spotting of Randy at an office in December in SF..the Xs are vantage points he wanted to take photos of. Once unmoderated you can see or go to Chasechat.com under the Ideas for Search and Rescue. She even put photos of the security camera…this was his trip in December.

        • Just a guess, but I noticed if I misspell my “handle” and enter one that is not one previously used with a specific email address it doesn’t show up right away, but if I use an @ and handle that have been associated they pop right up. This could have been a complete coincidence, so ymmv

    • Hello Stephanie,
      I posted this elsewhere but I wanted to make sure you saw it since a lot of it was developed from your conversations on chasechat. I wanted to post it there too but my membership is “waiting for approval”.

      Not the place for a long introduction so I’ll just say I’ve only been on the hunt for a few months and been watching the blogs from the sidelines but this search has been truly inspirational. You all are a great group of people.

      This theory comes from reading the comments here and on chasechat. You guys are amazing and I think some of you have already arrived at this conclusion but I have not seen it directly said, that is why I had to chime in. Also, this is based on the information that the Bandelier guys found human and small dog tracks in the lower Frijoles canyon.
      Here goes, Trying to keep it brief;
      Randy had first gone to Bandalier but couldn’t access the lower canyon from there. See pic of upper Frijoles waterfall. Trail is closed. He found access to the rim of the canyon on the east side and scouted. See pics from Randy showing the mouth of Frijoles but from two different canyons. I think he was looking for a way out, not a way in. The X’s on his map are possible escape routes that he was scouting. The whole thing was thoroughly planned. He bought equipment specifically for this plan/trip.

      He rafted down the river, landed at the Frijoles canyon, did his exploring/searching with his dog, then slightly downstream landed on the east side to make his exit. He had to have known he was walking out when he started. This is obviously where the questions start:
      He left himself a good 15 mile walk to get back to his car. Was he later than he intended to be? Or did he have another vehicle? Or another person coming for him? Did he plan on an overnight stay? This could affect the direction he would go after leaving the boat.
      The map would indicate 3 possibilities for exiting the canyon, possibly dependent upon where he managed to land the boat. If he could tell where exactly he was in the canyon at that point.

      But something here went wrong. Something that separated him from his dog;
      My best guess, he tipped the boat over getting in or out. The bottom of the boat was torn. Possibly lost his gear and maybe the dog to the river. He may have stayed too long to search for the dog but if he was wet and had no gear, he would have to get to higher ground quick. He left the boat propped up as a shelter for the dog if he returned. Wet, cold and time pressing, he would have to begin the exit, or set up a camp. But with no gear, if it was still light he might try to make it out. A slip in that canyon with wet boots…

      Alternately, if he made the crossing successfully, a fall on his way out, an animal attack could easily separate him from his dog. Even if he was OK after, he might stay too long looking for poor Leo.

      All that said, a suggestion for those more familiar with the area and the search (who most of this info came from anyway); Plan his exit as you planned his entry. The searchers (except the helicopter) are in the right area today but maybe a plan of the best exit routes would put some searchers on the right path.

      • I have had similar thoughts but nothing as dramatic as loosing gear, flipping the raft. It appears that his plan was to exit the east, which would make for a long hike unless you had a partner and you left a vehicle somewhere south of where he parked his vehicle. I have no explanation of why Leo was left or where the extra vehicle or partner are at but just a possibility. The only other likely exit point would be down at the lake.
        jl

        • I wonder if anyone has looked into the x- girlfriend? She lives in Colorado. Could she have been the car at the other end? Maybe she’s the one who wrote the fake message? Just thinking out loud.

        • If he knew he was walking out and had approximately 15 miles to walk starting late in the afternoon he might have had gear with him for an overnight stay. This would increase his chances of survival. But only if he kept it with him in whatever event that separated him from the dog.

    • “Doesn’T anyone see the other light colored X at Arroyo Eighteen on Randy’S map ? Here is a map where he seems to have been headed.”

      I suspect everyone saw it. 🙂 It makes me wonder if Randy tried to erase it off his map. There is a fifth faded “X” to the south near 35.710818, -106.282510

          • “Could mean Exit or Entrance?”

            I inverted the image, to see if my “right brain” would come up with anything for “(E)”. That didn’t help. 🙂 I think Randy thought “(E”) marks Home of Brown, since Randy “put in” below it. There appears to be a human waste treatment system near there, with four pools. He wrote “H.O.B.” with three periods.

            Randy’s notations are wrong: they don’t follow the poem. In the poem, Home of Brown comes before the Blaze, buy Randy has “FIRE ‘BLAZE'” up there to the northwest around 55 miles. One cannot “put in below the Home of Brown” on Randy’s map and reach his Blaze. “‘SUNSETS’ {Zia}” does not work either, for any geographic item nor for the setting sun.

            If the raft had been found on the northwest bank of the river, not the southeast, one could assume he went up to the waterfalls of Rito de los Frijoles.

          • DP, he may have been following in correct order by exploring a hypothesis that, after putting in, passing meek, approaching end, finding water high, he had to be wise to find the blaze by finding exactly the correct perspective from across the canyon to view the blaze. he may have believed the wisdom in this would have required viewing the blaze from across the canyon to know where to go from “water high”. Once finding that perspective he could look quickly down to find where he next needed to go. All of the X’s could be different spots where he was trying to gain the correct perspective. If the above is true, we don’t know if he found the correct view and went to the west side to check it out or if he was on the east side still looking for the right way to view the blaze.

            Between a line of sight from the east side of the canyon to where the blaze is marked is a spot called “sunsets”. That seems to correspond to a slightly elevated part of the land that may be more prominent at sunset. This is past lower and upper Frijole falls and is about 1.5 miles into the canyon as the crow flies. Of note, there is also a “rainbow ruins” on the way to the location.

            All of the above is just one person’s interpretation of the information available.

          • I believe the ” E ” that Randy has circled is actually signifying how he was interpreting the poem. In my opinion he was sounding out the word.. for instance
            The answer I already know, ‘already’ being the key word here. Possibly he looked
            at the word as ‘ I a red E now. Or one other word in the poem he could be using the ‘E’ for Effort your effort will be worth the cold. Or maybe in his thinking – your
            ‘E’ Fort will be near the. If you think in those terms. He may of been heading towards the E.

  31. I don’t know if it has been posted yet, but I am curious to know if Randy had any PMH (past medical history) that we should consider. It may not be the topography or weather that halted his search. Did he have diabetes, past stroke or cardiac history, any ortho problems? Does he take any medication that may alter his mental status or by not taking prescribed meds have affected his mental status?

    • This is always such critical info in a search. Health conditions, meds and mental/emotional health status. Didn’t want to say anything til you brought this up. At the Sept gathering in the pic of ff and Randy, Randy has big dark circles under his eyes. This might happen if he didn’t sleep for a week. Normally circles that dark are an indicator of some form of chronic health condition. If family knew his current status I’m sure SAR asked for this up front.

  32. Just another 2 cents worth. I’ve been staring at maps trying to figure out how I’d get back to the car from the raft. I’m getting lost just trying to follow the trails on the maps.

    The raft seems to be a last minute decision. It looks like he couldn’t get back to his spot near the mesa because of the mud so he improvised. If I had improvised like that I’d make sure I had an exit plan. And if I started looking for trails to get out and getting lost just looking at maps, I’d look at just following the river.

    I realize others who are familiar with the terrain have said there are a number of places that aren’t passable on the bank, but I’m not familiar with the terrain. I’m just looking at a map.

    So if I’m rafting down the river, checking out my return route, I might get a little nervous. But that’s my plan. I’d have no chance going any other way, so I’d be up for the adventure of still following the river back to my car.

    Of course, Randy had been there before so maybe he was aiming for the 15 mile walk.

    • “Of course, Randy had been there before so maybe he was aiming for the 15 mile walk.”

      He could have floated down river another 10 miles or so, then got a ride to his car, or to Santa Fe. He could have floated to the golf course and walked two miles.

      • Why take a raft if he could go up and down…that thinking supports him going to frijoles canyon. The raft would be on that side though if he needed it there.

        Great thought foot prints being diver.

        Julie got response from Bob..she posted on Chasechat that pings of his phone match him being there at her office.

        • The raft upside down in the bushes would make a good shelter from the wind and weather. I would assume after a day or two he might have decided to climb out IMO.
          I only bring up the possibility of a partner cause some things just don’t add up.

    • I believe Randy intended to return upstream in the boat. Otherwise, he would have parked closer to where the boat was found. So Randy probably didn’t know how hard (impossible?) it would be to paddle back upstream.

      Also, he must had already given the upstream trip a good try. It wouldn’t have taken long to learn it’s unfeasible. And it must have been exhausting.

    • Here’s the links to the two photos that match the dashed line on Randy’s map. Thanks Stephanie for making these available.

      http://www.thirtyacre.com/randy/FROMRANDYDEC.jpg
      http://www.thirtyacre.com/randy/FROMRANDYDEC2.jpg

      The dashed line matches exactly the spot these were taken, and direction of the point of view. So the dashed line was probably Randy’s reference to the photos. There are better and more obvious reasons to begin a search for Randy here along this line, but it does reinforce the spot’s significance.

      • Here’s the links to the two photos that match the dashed line on Randy’s map. Thanks Stephanie for making these available.

        http://www.thirtyacre.com/randy/FROMRANDYDEC.jpg
        http://www.thirtyacre.com/randy/FROMRANDYDEC2.jpg

        The dashed line matches exactly the spot these were taken, and direction of the point of view. So the dashed line was probably Randy’s reference to the photos. There are better and more obvious reasons to begin a search for Randy here along this line, but it does reinforce the spot’s significance.

        And by the way: These photos make it look like the descent to the water is a hop, skip, and a jump on down to the water. The photos are deceiving. The vertical drop is over 1,000 ft. (that’s a lot), and it’s steep, and it’s rough. The trip down there and back up is a long brutal climb for fit and experienced hikers. And right now it’s got snow and ice (as you can see). That’s why I suspect it’s still not been searched well enough. In fact; I doubt anyone’s been up and down there on foot at all. If anyone has, say so here.

        • I am very sorry to see that Randy is missing. I am amazed at the effort from such a large and dedicated group. If I lived out west I would want to help with boots on the ground, but I am on the east coast. Below is my small input.

          Maybe this has been mentioned before, but matching up the alluival fan features in these photos (taken looking NW toward mouth of Frijoles Canyon) with google earth images, the view in the photo is in a direction of approximately 324° taken from about this location: 35.74903, -106.251654. This photo position was taken in a VERY rough drainage. The location is above and to the east of where the boat was beached, suggesting possibly that Randy knew where he was (he had been at the top before to take this photo). Could he have climbed up into this drainage after beaching his boat? There are several steep side drainages in this region that he may have also tried. The steepness of the terrain and ruggedness of the region suggests that extreme caution would be needed to search the area. Given that he had been above where the boat was parked before, these rugged side drainages on the south/east side of the river need to be searched.

          If you ever search alone, it would be wise to invest in a SPOT device. They are worth it for peace of mind alone (their cost is similar to a GPS). Loved ones can be notified of exact GPS coordinates of your travel points during the day. Always notify someone of your expected return time and where you are going. Plan to check in after your return. These devices have enabled over 4000 timely rescues and probably saved thousands of lives, in my opinion.

  33. I’m still thinking the end of Frijoles canyon at the Rio Grande was his destination and I like many others believe Leo can lead the searchers to Randy. Randy didn’t leave Leo behind and whatever happened to him Leo was there when it happened. Randy’s dog stayed with him I believe leaving intermittedly to drink water at the river and then returning. He’s not far away I don’t believe and perhaps in an area already searched just overlooked .

  34. Something tells me he didn’t leave his dog Leo where he was found. They seem inseperable. I don’t believe Randy was exploring something and Leo returned to the area where he was found on his own. My thought and I am sorry to say this, but for whatever reason physical or medical, Randy did not come back to where he started (where Leo was found). I firmly believe the answer will be found in the river near where his gear was found. He went somewhere Leo couldn’t go and when he didn’t return, Leo was left all alone. Leo was found waiting for Randy to return.

    • Doing all you can do gals, guys & dogs. My hats off to you!
      I have one thought that makes sense. If it were possible to bring Leo back to the site on the east side like many have commented. Then raft him across the Rio at the bottom of Frijoles on the west side & see his reactions if he goes back to the river, it would prove Dal’s theory that Randy went in the river & never came out. If Leo attempts to go up the Frijoles canyon then it would be obvious that’s where Randy went.
      Just a thought…..

  35. This is just a thought: I wonder if Cesar Millan can tell us how far a dog can retrace the steps back to the raft. I know this if far fetched, but really what distance can a dog return to the original site.

  36. Forrest / Cynthia / Stephanie / Desertphile & Dal and just about everyone else on this site.
    Demoman here

    My thoughts are with you guys in the field and also on the e-mail notes, I wish I was there to help. I,ve been following you guys for years and my hat is off to you.

    I have read every comment today and looked at all the photos and evidence posted and am astonished how much effort and search detail is out there. My wife and I were in Bandelier several years ago. It is a pretty short traverse in relation to Randy,s maps. Seems if Randy was having trouble and not injured he could make it from the FrIjoles Canyon mouth to reach Bandelier National Monument if the trails were ok. Snow cover is minimal and the terrain visibility looks good in the general area.

    I met Randy and Leo at the Book signing in September. He was a nice fellow and I am sure he would be thrilled with all the efforts to locate him. I could not imagine anyone doing more than you guys to help this man. You all have my total admiration. If I can be of any help let me know.
    dougmelching@melchingdemo.com

    Fellow Treasure Hunter & Friend
    Demoman

    • “I met Randy and Leo at the Book signing in September. He was a nice fellow and I am sure he would be thrilled with all the efforts to locate him. I could not imagine anyone doing more than you guys to help this man. You all have my total admiration. If I can be of any help let me know.”

      Thank you for wanting to help him; I suspect more people might not help, since the search so far appears to have been extensive and well-planned. I want to help Randy brought home, for his family’s sake.

  37. Can anyone give an update. Jeff Burch and Titan are waiting for news. If Randy was not found today Jeff will start out right away and help search tomorrow. If he was found, the out of state searchers who plan to come need to know.

        • “I must be seeing things. My apologies, the dotted line threw me off of HOB as I thought it was an arrow or line.”

          I looked on several topographic maps to try and see why Randy marked the dashed line; there is a foot trail that goes from the end of road 24NB to a stock tank. A long time ago there was a fresh water spring in the area, and black PVC hose used to go from the spring to the tank.

      • Desertphile, we’ve never met. But i surely hope to in June. So, please, don’t go out there alone searching for Randy. Take a friend.

        I know…humanity sucks. but sometimes it’s our only hope. Be safe.

        • “Desertphile, we’ve never met. But i surely hope to in June. So, please, don’t go out there alone searching for Randy. Take a friend. I know…humanity sucks. but sometimes it’s our only hope. Be safe.”

          Well, gosh and thank you. 🙂 But when I go into rough terrain by myself, I don’t need to worry about anyone but me. I also pack an astonishing amount of survival gear.

          As it is, I’ve canceled the idea of me going to the area on Monday. There is a slight chance of snow; plus, I think Randy is along the river, not on the mesa.

  38. I have been trying to figure out the photos and maps posted. I can’t seem to keep east and west of the river straight.
    I have wondered if the “E” on Randy’s map in not and “E” but a simple sketch of a raft and a put in point.

  39. Folks-
    Cynthia and her team are briefing Forrest right now. After that she will go home and then write a report for the rest of us. It will be posted on a new page. So look for a new post titled “After the Search on Friday…”

    No one has found Randy yet but that does not mean that areas were not eliminated from the search area. There may or may not be plans to continue tomorrow. Please stay tuned for more details…

    Today’s report is still a while away from being posted…

  40. Stay tuned for Cynthias report and photos. Until then:
    View from the end of the road on Caja Del Rio. Across the Rio Grande from the Bandelier national monument.

    12523094_10206623508598894_3481479375807569489_n.jpg?oh=d0363af32347ab10aa29e79d02695af2&oe=5734661B

    I waited by the cars during the search. For what ever reason my body wasn’t up to it. But it was great to meet all that were there.

  41. “I have been trying to figure out the photos and maps posted. I can’t seem to keep east and west of the river straight. I have wondered if the “E” on Randy’s map in not and “E” but a simple sketch of a raft and a put in point.”

    The circled “E” looks very much like all of the other “E” characters Randy wrote on the map.

  42. Hi All
    I am a long time searcher and non-communicator on the blog. Something I would really recommend to all searchers that travel alone or separately from others is to get a GPS tracking device such as a SPOT Messenger or Delorme InReach. I carry one all the time both on my motorcycle and when I am hiking. This will enable both tracking data to be sent to loved ones and also give you capability to call for help in an emergency. These devices have saved many lives and gives everyone peace of mind. The cost is not excessive either and I know of groups who purchase these and loan them out when participants are out in the wilderness. I use mine to communicate with my wife when I am out of cell phone contact. Well worth the investment as it could save your life or the life of another.

    All my best to you hardy souls – I hope Randy is found Soon.

    Dan from California

      • Dan,
        Thanks for your comment on the SPOT device. I left a similar comment about the importance of carrying such a device above (in regard to a comment about photos that Randy took with a view across the canyon looking toward Frijoles Canyon mouth/fan). I hope all searchers will consider taking this step of investing in one of these devices. With today’s technology there is no need to ever be in the dark about your location when treking in remote regions. I am hoping that perhaps Dal might consider providing such information on his website that would emphasize the vital importance of taking proper steps to ensure that knowledge of one’s location and itinerary are known to vital persons. The SPOT satellite personal tracking device (or one like it) enables one’s whereabouts to be known in real time.

    • you are very wise as a motor biker to carry a locator. 30 yrs ago within the city limits of our town a man when off the road on his bike in a wreck and was missing hidden in the bramble at edge of road for three days. he was found and recovered but it was rough and touch and go.

  43. Sacha sent this from her phone:

    Cynthia is stuck in a parking lot on the highway. She called me and asked me to send along a brief summary of today. She will have a full report later, but maybe not until tomorrow.

    Today, Cynthia, Katya, and an army of drone operators and searchers spent many long grueling hours trudging through the mud. They successfully reached the mesa edge directly above the raft. Cynthia and John Brown bravely attempted to descend all the way down to the raft, but only made it halfway before being forced to turn back.

    While Cynthia and John were descending, Katya’s army of drone operators covered miles of ground. They each took over an hour and a half of video. Her team now faces the arduous task of pouring over this footage.

    The drone team is going to spend the entire weekend compiling and analyzing the footage, which is no easy task. We eagerly await their report, hopefully early next week, so that we can decide where to focus our efforts next.

    Sacha

    • Thank you for this information, Dal and Sacha. I truly do appreciate everyone’s coverage and keeping us informed. Wishing those who were out in the fields, a relaxful weekend. I know there will be others who will be busy at work looking over the videos. To you, thank you for doing so.

    • Thank you, Dal., Cynthia, Sasha, John, drone people and searchers . And to ff for all he’s shouldering in the background.

      This means no formal search this weekend? Important to let the out of state volunteers know.

    • “The drone team is going to spend the entire weekend compiling and analyzing the footage, which is no easy task. We eagerly await their report, hopefully early next week, so that we can decide where to focus our efforts next.”

      They don’t really have to analyze anything. Seriously, guys, just have them post it online. If they need help with that, I’d be happy to help. A half terabyte of video footage can be converted to mp4 and online by tomorrow.

      There are hundreds of us out here that have been waiting for anything to look at. I’ve been hanging out on here all day. We’re happy to look at all the raw footage and many of us are snowed in this weekend anyway.

      Please put us to work. We’re anxious to help.

        • I feel I could help, too. Maybe more eyes the better? How many people have returned to the area above the raft? Perhaps to verify with our own eyes or to double check that others didn’t miss something? We would love to help in any way possible. If the only way to be helpful is to be patient, then this is what will be.

    • I believe Sacha and the drone captains are on the right track. And their efforts are probably the best yet.
      We know Randy started out at the bottom of that canyon. And if they couldn’t get down there today, then Randy probably didn’t make it up and out of there. He was cold, exhausted, and probably hungry and dehydrated.

      • Good possibility, Sefic. Although, for myself, I find it easier to climb up a mountain at such an incline, than it is to come down from it. I find gravity works against me and I feel my feet slipping on the rocks/loose gravel. I’m not sure if it’s the same way for others.

        • A lot depends on the distance traveled and other factors pdenver. It is true that downhill is surprisingly jarring. But to go from Randy’s boat up to where the searchers have been looking down from takes thousands of steps up. I estimate that if you actually tried the climb, you’d have a new appreciation for the downward trek.

          • First choice is to the north for 2 reasons. It’s the direction of his car, and he’d already scouted an ascent there (based on dashed line on his map, and photos he took). But not really all that far northward from the boat.
            This is also based on my personal experience. I’m probably the only person writing and reading here that’s actually climbed down and back up at this spot. Based on my experience, I don’t believe Randy got far from the boat.

    • Have they posted the picture of the two campers? Someone may recognize them even if it a long distance shot. I put a request in to the blog from his past better half. JB and Titan

  44. Dal, thank you for the update on when we will hear more. I think a lot of people are underestimating Leo. He doesn’t need to smell, he has a memory and a love for Randy beyond compare. There are many many stories about animals finding their way home to the owners they love, traveling for months on their own. I think if Leo felt safe with someone and had boots on his feet, he would be able to lead us to Randy or at least in the direction if not all the way. Just my honorable opinion.

      • As Dal mentioned, the drone team took a ton of footage today and are working on organizing that now. I’m sure they will post at their earliest convenience. We didn’t get back to the original meeting point until about 6pm and then they had to drive to Taos (about another 1.5 hrs) after that.

        • Thanks Amber. I missed Dal’s comment – we must have been typing about the same time. I hope the drones were able to see something. I’m sure there are a number of people here anxious to see the footage and help in examining it.

  45. Thanks for all the updates and pictures from all the dedicated searchers. It’s hard to understand what could have happened to Randy that he hasn’t been found considering all the people, planes, and drones that have been out looking for him. For the sake of Randy’s family, I hope he is found soon.

    I couldn’t believe someone would stoop so low as to send that fake Forrest Fenn email! What a mean thing to do to an anxious family. 🙁 I hope Karma catches up with that vile individual.

  46. Prayers for all! What a dedicated courageous group of people who are searching for him! Randy inspires us all! His adventurous spirit lives in each and everyone of us! May God bless him and his family! Wish we could help you out! God speed to all!

  47. @DESERTPHILE:

    D-phile, if you haven’t already seen it, John Brown posted this on CC — > ” What I did see were a few carrion birds somewhere roughly along a line which I think was on this ridge between here: 35°45’7.01″N 106°14’20.38″W and here: 35°44’28.21″N 106°14’17.33″W. I think that line is worth exploring. I’m not positive about the location here as I selected it from google earth after getting home. We noticed the birds when we were in the car on the way out.”

    JB was out with the others today. Those coords are a ridge to the East and North of where you were talking about parking at the end of the road.

    Just thought you might want to pick his brain if you were going out Monday.

    • “D-phile, if you haven’t already seen it, John Brown posted this on CC — > ” What I did see were a few carrion birds somewhere roughly along a line which I think was on this ridge between here: 35°45’7.01″N 106°14’20.38″W and here: 35°44’28.21″N 106°14’17.33″W. I think that line is worth exploring. I’m not positive about the location here as I selected it from google earth after getting home. We noticed the birds when we were in the car on the way out.””

      Thank you: I will take a look at the map; I bet it’s the highest land in the area, and where Randy’s center “X” is.

      I am convinced Randy isn’t on the eastern mesa: he searched the area for the treasure chest on previous trips.

      I will not look in that area Monday. The road is still muddy (I have snow chains, which helps) but there is a chance of snow late Sunday.

      I’ll go look at the map to see what you mentioned.

  48. Hi Dal,
    You and I have been making films for a long time – so… We both can understand how these fellows want to hold on to their footage to tweak it as professionally as possible before putting their monikers and brands on it. I am torn. There are so many folks hashing this thing out on your site that genuinely want to peruse that video a.s.a.p.
    You and I know that the video can be exported from the SD cards into Final Cut and exported at 1080 to YouTube – by tomorrow afternoon – for all to scrutinize. It really doesn’t need to take until next week.
    – so now I’m 2 cents poorer.

  49. I have examined all three topographic maps of the area; unfortunately the spot where the raft was found also marks the region where four topographic maps meet, and the area with Randy’s “X”s span three maps. I looked at the current topographic maps and also the 1954 maps—- in case Randy had learned about some historic feature that is now missing from the newer maps (the USGS some times does that to protect American Indian antiquities, some springs, some ghost town ruins, and the like).

    Thinking over what is known, it seems to me that Randy is somewhere along the river, down stream from the raft, and not up on the eastern mesa.

    Based on the images Randy took, and his map markings, it looks like Randy had been in the area previously to being lost, and the markings on the map are of no help finding him now, on his most recent trip.

    On his previous trip(s), he parked at the end of road 24NB and hiked north by northwest along his “dashed line” to Pueblito Tank and took its picture, and probably looked for the treasure chest. That is 1.6 miles one way. Randy may have thought Forrest Fenn could have done that distance and carry the treasure chest and contents, making two trips.

    I think Randy did not know there is a trail going down to the river, near the lower left bold “X” on his map. I suspect Randy was unable to find a way to the river, so he packed up, went home, and planned his rafting trip for a later date.

    Randy would have figured out that Forrest could not have climbed the trail up the cliff (with gold on his back), to the east mesa where Randy placed his “X”s on the map. Since Forrest likely couldn’t do it, I think Randy didn’t do it.

    That means Randy’s raft trip was meant for him to search side canyons down stream starting at Rito de los Frijoles. That means Arroyo Montoso, Lummis Canyon, Alamo Canyon, perhaps Arroyo Eighteen, and Hondo Canyon. He might have thought he could walk to these places.

    A helicopter already checked there places.

    I also suspect Randy had planned to float down river and then call for a ride back to his car.

    • Agree with everything you said except the “calling for a ride” part due to so many variables. Who would you call? This would mean you are sure you’d have service…which is not always the case. If you did call someone it would have taken them over an hour to get to him and then however long to get back to his car. This wouldn’t be a viable day trip option. Honestly, all of us there today were completely stumped as to why the car was 9 miles from the raft and what the plan could have been. Honestly it seems like this was not the plan because there’s no logical way for it to make sense. Also – we don’t have the info on what provisions he had with him, if any.

      • “Agree with everything you said except the “calling for a ride” part due to so many variables. Who would you call? This would mean you are sure you’d have service…which is not always the case.”

        There is a golf club, and a restaurant, 8.5 miles and 9.2 miles, down river from the raft. It makes me wonder if Randy was smart enough to go down river instead of trying to hike or paddle back to his car. Over that terrain, I can manage 1.3 miles every hour on foot and it would take me just under 7 hours to get from the raft to the car; if Randy thought he could manage the entire trip during daylight hours, he either badly miscalculated his abilities or the terrain, or he planned to float down the river.

        You are of course absolutely right: going back to the car on foot makes no sense at all. I wonder if he made a reservation at one of the inns around the lake or in the pueblo.

        • D-phile,

          I’m getting punch drunk trying to keep up with everything!! 🙂

          BUT….somewhere today I read that the police had found his wallet in his car. I read it here, on chasechat or on his sister’s blog. I think on his sister’s.

          Unless he took cash with him, seems unlikely he could call for a ride or check in at an inn, without an ID and/or plastic??

          • pdenver,

            Yep. That is why I questioned the assumption that he might have been planning to make a call for paid transportation…..no cash or plastic, no ride.

            And I’m pretty sure you don’t check into lodgings without ID and/or plastic???

          • “His sister’s blog is where I read it. ‘We do know that his wallet was in his car. So this means if something did happen to him he had no ID.’
            http://hubpages.com/health/Randy-Bilyeu-Missing-Person-Alert-in-Santa-Fe

            Ah, thank you. That means it is unlikely he meant to float down river and stay in an inn (he also told friends he would be gone one day). Damn; it really does look like he planned on hiking or rowing up the river, back to his car. If he actually had started up river, finding him will be vastly more difficult— in places where a person has to step into the river to get around sheer cliff walls, people some times try to climb around the obstruction instead of step into the water. There are also places he would have to cross the river a few times: it would be unavoidable.

          • Not these days, loco. Even if someone else paid for a room, I’m sure you’d still have to provide I.D.. No, as I stated a couple days or so ago. He had a sledding date in Colorado on the 7th. He would have left New Mexico on the 6th to be home in time for a hot meal, shower and a good night’s sleep. That would have left him with that day to search. I think his journey was suppose to be quick and it obviously didn’t end that way. How early he reached the waters? I do not know. If he planned correctly, he would have been back to his vehicle by 4 o’clock or so, also depending on how quickly the sun sets over the mountaintops.

          • “BUT….somewhere today I read that the police had found his wallet in his car. I read it here, on chasechat or on his sister’s blog. I think on his sister’s.

            Unless he took cash with him, seems unlikely he could call for a ride or check in at an inn, without an ID and/or plastic??”

            Ah, good point. Golly, I cannot think of any other reason why his car was left so far away except one— he had arranged for someone to pick him up at the lake. Well, another explanation is that Randy had no idea just how long it takes to hike 8.5 miles along a river.

        • Desert – People have made it sound like he didn’t really take a whole lot of “stuff” with him, rather he left it in his car. (For instance, someone said he had a packed lunch in his car). These statements aren’t verified, but if that’s true then there’s another hole in the story. About making a reservation – I doubt it. This was stated to his friend or family member as a day trip where he clearly overestimated his physical stamina and ability to float down river, walk around looking for treasure, and then walk back to car (up a rocky hill). That or he just lost track of time/location and before he knew it he was really far from his car.

          • ” This was stated to his friend or family member as a day trip where he clearly overestimated his physical stamina and ability to float down river, walk around looking for treasure, and then walk back to car (up a rocky hill).”

            Indeed, I know a person who could do that in winter between sun rise and sun set, but she’s very young and an athlete— I for damn sure could not do it. If Randy did start back to his car, Leo the Dog of course went with him; something happened to Randy, Leo waited as long as he could, then went back to the raft….. would a dog do that? I have no idea.

            Since Leo was at the inflatable boat, seems to me he last saw Randy near there. Down stream was searched by helicopter; it’s probably a good idea to search up stream next.

          • Randy may have dropped something in the river and went to fetch it. The water being clear may allow a discovery if indeed something was dropped.

          • Searching downstream on land is pointless. In the water… that’s a different story.

            Randy intended to make his way back to his car. And he knew that was to the north. Randy also knew the only nearby help worth mentioning is Bandelier Visitor’s Center.

            Randy probably didn’t make if far from his boat. Probably didn’t make back up to the top of the mesa. And if he tried to make it to Bandalier, he didn’t make it as far as the Visitor’s Center.

        • A thought about having someone planning to meet him at the lake. If this be the case, why didn’t someone down at the lake make a call to authorities letting them know about the “meeting” seeing he didn’t make it? For me, there seems to be something missing with this idea, should it be true. I feel he tried/succeeded climbing up on the east side, from there he continued east/northeast/southeast, depending what the lands looks like on top, which I do not. This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

        • Amber, it’s clear enough that Randy did in fact miscalculate. He hugely underestimated what he was looking at on the maps. It’s very easy to do. I know he’d scouted around nearby ground zero (the raft) before, but until you’ve actually made the trip from meas top to river and back on foot, you’re not going to fully appreciate the scale of the canyon. I believe that even looking at drone footage won’t instill a full appreciation. So yeah, Randy miscalculated.

    • Randy did mention to someone close to him that he thought the tc was in a log along that river somewhere (paraphrasing). I don’t know if that means close to water level or a canyon.

    • @DESRTPHILE:

      Hello again, D-phile.

      I’m not trying to argue with you about where or not Randy may be. I just don’t want you (or anyone) making decision on where to search based on flawed information.

      I asked Stephanie about those pictures she had posted of Pueblito Tanks.

      She replied that he did NOT take them. They are pics that had been posted on Google Earth (not sure why she posted them without that disclaimer). You can contact her directly to verify.

      At any rate, I hope you see this and that it helps. You, John Brown and couple of others would be the Rangers I would want on my trail if I were in Randy’s situation. Good Luck.

  50. Well, let’s see what happens–immediate post or delayed post of videos. All we can do is wait and see what they do and how quickly they respond. Hindsight is very telling….

  51. Desert, if you go out alone, I don’t have to say “be careful”, you know.
    Accidents happen, falls, sprains, etc.
    You, better than most, know the animals in the area.
    I just want to wish you luck and wished you had a pardner going with you!
    Be safe and good luck, Sir!

  52. desertphile,

    35.753389 -106.244763
    at the coordinates you shared it seems the rocks nearby shape out the letter “E” and there is a round depression/crater near it to the n/w. Since the letter E has been discussed I thought I should point this,

    • “desertphile, 35.753389 -106.244763 at the coordinates you shared it seems the rocks nearby shape out the letter “E” and there is a round depression/crater near it to the n/w. Since the letter E has been discussed I thought I should point this,”

      Thank you for the lat/lon; when I have time I will look at the map. The “(E)” still baffles me. As for “SUNSETS” I will write a program this evening that will plot sunset azimuth on top of Randi’s map, starting December 21 and going to January 5. Maybe we can figure out what Randy was thinking.

      I wonder if Randy knew his map, from the Visitor’s Center, is not correct. Its features are not drawn to scale.

    • @uken2it ” desertphile, 35.753389 -106.244763 at the coordinates you shared it seems the rocks nearby shape out the letter “E” and there is a round depression/crater near it to the n/w. Since the letter E has been discussed I thought I should point this,”

      Good gods, that sure does look like “(E)” there; that’s amazing! How in the world did you spot that?

      I am thinking that Randy wrote “‘SUNSETS'” for the map feature labeled “Corral Hill:” it looks like a Zia: it is a landmark that perhaps can be seen from the east mesa Randy was on when he was there at the end of December. Corral Hill has a peak at 6,598 feet and if a person stands on the east mesa just above where the raft was, the opening to Rita de los Frijoles lines up with Corral Hill— by three pixels on my image software, on his map. On the topographic map it might now line up: Randy’s map is not to actual scale.

      Yeah. “‘SUNSETS'” means “Corral Hill.”

      • Dphile,
        Did you take a look at my earlier coords for the old cistern? North west about 2 miles I believe. I posted the location earlier

        • @uken2it, “Dphile, Did you take a look at my earlier coords for the old cistern? North west about 2 miles I believe. I posted the location earlier”

          I did not see that post. I suppose that would place the cistern on the west side of the river.

          • Desertphile,
            I have a spreadsheet that is online. A friend of mine, Jerry Eoff in TX, created it. Azimuth, solar noon, rise, set and Lon lats. I would share this with the group but prefer to wait for permission. I would be comfortable sending it to your email address if you would like. I will repost cords for the cistern.

          • @uken2it, “Desertphile, I have a spreadsheet that is online. A friend of mine, Jerry Eoff in TX, created it. Azimuth, solar noon, rise, set and Lon lats. I would share this with the group but prefer to wait for permission. I would be comfortable sending it to your email address if you would like. I will repost cords for the cistern.”

            Ah, thank you; I will search for “cistern” and look for the lat/lon, or perhaps you will repost them here.

            As for sun rise and sun set around winter solstice, I did the math; from the place where Randy stood on the east mesa, above where the raft was found, the sun rose next to Montoso Peak— a we bit south by two or three degrees. The sun set along a bath that did not appear to fall upon anything of note.

            I think Randy marked his map with “‘SUNSETS'” and a Zia symbol to mark Corral Hill. The Parks Service used a star symbol on its map to show the hill.

          • 35.760854° -106.230943°
            These coords are for the cistern I spoke about. A good bit upstream from raft but might be a part of a solve. wwwh, water high?

          • @uken2it, “35.760854° -106.230943° These coords are for the cistern I spoke about. A good bit upstream from raft but might be a part of a solve. wwwh, water high?”

            Ah, thank you; that is Pueblito Tank: Randy walked there and took pictures of it in late December. It could very well be “waters high” in Randy’s mind. The black PVC pipe that used to bring water there has not done so for decades.

            I think Randy stood on the edge of the cliff (at the “X” marks) and looked for Corral Hill. Lines drawn from Corral Hill to two of the “X”s run through Frijoles.

          • LOL, I’ll try again.

            @DESERTPHILE,

            I posted this to you, above, on the 23rd:

            @DESRTPHILE:

            Hello again, D-phile.

            I’m not trying to argue with you about where or not Randy may be. I just don’t want you (or anyone) making decision on where to search based on flawed information.

            I asked Stephanie about those pictures she had posted of Pueblito Tanks.

            She replied that he did NOT take them. They are pics that had been posted on Google Earth (not sure why she posted them without that disclaimer). You can contact her directly to verify.

            At any rate, I hope you see this and that it helps. You, John Brown and couple of others would be the Rangers I would want on my trail if I were in Randy’s situation. Good Luck.

            ****if you go to GE and the coords that uke provided, and click on the pic icon, you will see those EXACT pics…….Randy did NOT take them!!!

            Good Luck to ya guy.

          • @locolobo, “I’m not trying to argue with you about where or not Randy may be. I just don’t want you (or anyone) making decision on where to search based on flawed information. I asked Stephanie about those pictures she had posted of Pueblito Tanks. She replied that he did NOT take them. They are pics that had been posted on Google Earth (not sure why she posted them without that disclaimer). You can contact her directly to verify.”

            Thank you very much for the clarification; either I failed to understand, or Stephanie wasn’t clear—- I did indeed think Randy took those images. I had wondered why his “X” was not placed correctly if it was the tank he meant to mark.

            It looks like the rock formation that appears something like a circled “E” is what the northern-most “X” is meant to mark.

            Hummm. I’m still thinking Randy is north of the raft, on the east bank, less than one mile; and that he tried to climb around the first river obstruction instead of going into the river around it.

            I have been told that I will be granted leave at the start of April to camp in the area and spend a week or two looking.

      • Dphile and uken – for the life of me I can’t make out any “E” in stones, nor can I see a Zia at Corral Hill. The cistern is the old Pueblito Tank (that, I CAN see). Dimes to dollars, I bet you’ll find the axis on Randy’s map aligns with the winter solstice sunset IF you account for elevation and the mountains beyond (shortening the actual sunset at horizon level).

        I’d been thinking along this same solve earlier, but the thing is it did’nt lead me anywhere Randy would have gone given the physical evidence he left behind.

        • @melanie,”Dphile and uken – for the life of me I can’t make out any “E” in stones, nor can I see a Zia at Corral Hill. The cistern is the old Pueblito Tank (that, I CAN see). Dimes to dollars, I bet you’ll find the axis on Randy’s map aligns with the winter solstice sunset IF you account for elevation and the mountains beyond (shortening the actual sunset at horizon level). ”

          Good morning melanie. The “Zia” is not an actual feature of the landscape: it’s the star symbol the Parks Service used to mark Corral Hill on their map, which Randy then drew an actual Zia symbol and noted “‘SUNSETS'”

          I plotted sunrise and sunset for the winter solstice, from the point where Randy stood on the east mesa above where the raft was found. The sun rose at Montoso Peak, but there is no land mark I could find where the sun set.

          http://desertphile.org/winter-solstice.jpg

          • Thanks for clarifying. After plotting the sunset from Randy’s east mesa position, did you find it aligned with the axis of his map notations? I guess it’s just academic curiosity at this point, cuz I couldn’t find that it led anywhere, either….except if followed to the NW, which could put one more than 8 miles N of SFe. But it’s pretty obvious that’s NOT where Randy was most recently. So, just spinning my wheels…

          • @melanie, “After plotting the sunset from Randy’s east mesa position, did you find it aligned with the axis of his map notations? I guess it’s just academic curiosity at this point, cuz I couldn’t find that it led anywhere, either….except if followed to the NW, which could put one more than 8 miles N of SFe.”

            I don’t know what “axis of his map notations” means. Randy’s map is distorted; it is not a correct representation of the area— the Parks Service didn’t see the need to make it true to scale and position.

            I have plotted sunrise and sunset on Randy’s map, from the point of view of the east mesa above the raft:

            http://desertphile.org/randy-map-sunrise-sunset.jpg

            But again: the map itself is a schematic of the region: it is not accurate. On the topographic map the lines pass over different features.

          • In the chance the moon set and rise is helpful:

            For the Moon: January 5th, 2015 my app shows. Elevation 33.2 degrees at moon set and angle 213 degrees at moon rise.

            My numbers for the sun are 26.5 degrees sunset and 152.8 degrees sunrise.
            I apologize is this is duplicative info. I am trying to keep up with the latest.

          • Hi Dphile & uken – thank you for the sun info. My mistake re: winter solstice. Apologies.

            On an earlier thread, I had posited the alignment of notations & configuration of X’s on Randy’s map paralleled the SUMMER solstice sunset (accounting for mountains), but that he had to wait until the winter solstice for the final clue to reveal itself. Whether or not this theory may have been a part of his solve is a moot point now, since it really doesn’t offer any additional insight that might point to Randy’s last assumed whereabouts.

  53. Desertphile-i was wondering if the little sketch of the sun burst like thing under the word sunsets on the map was his icon for blaze. So it could be “sunsets blaze”? Is there anything on the ground in that area that acts like an eye catcher, such as sun reflecting off a certain rock, or sun shining through a hole in rock? Wondering if this is his wise blaze, and is it visible from the east rim? Does this blaze then throw a shadow over to the east slope at sunset, or does the sun shine through the hole to a spot on the east slope at sunset? I don’t see anything blaze like on the photos, just trying to brainstorm what he was doing. Wish I could help.

    • Homebrew… I was wondering that too… I see on Randys Map he marked with “sunsets” just below it says Corral Hill (blurry pic not sure this is the name) with a round image with spikes sticking out below where he wrote “Sunsets” (maybe a corral?). Also when I looked in that area I found this…

      35° 47’19.00 N. 106° 17’46.52

      Not a sun shape but looks to be man made? Thoughts?

    • “Desertphile-i was wondering if the little sketch of the sun burst like thing under the word sunsets on the map was his icon for blaze. So it could be “sunsets blaze”? Is there anything on the ground in that area that acts like an eye catcher, such as sun reflecting off a certain rock, or sun shining through a hole in rock?”

      Damn good questions, those; if we knew what Randy was thinking we could perhaps find where he is. But that also might not help; we can probably assume Randy got in trouble fairly close to the raft.

      This evening I was going to take Randy’s map and add solar azimuth lines; I do not know if I have time to do that tonight. I have his map, a compass rose, and lines of position (LOPs) for sun rise and sun set as viewed from Randy’s center “X” on his map. I will look at Winter Solstice, and then every two days after until January 5. I’ll post the result.

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