The Next Steps…


January 20th, 2016

by Cynthia and Sacha


This briefing from Cynthia for end of day Wednesday, January 19th
Today’s update: There were only 4 of us searchers who met in SF this morning to discuss today’s plan. Most guys had to return to work. The weather at that time was cloudy with expected precipitation, so we decided not to go out and search the muddy mesa top again. During the afternoon, the clouds cleared and 3 of them  drove out there. I had to return home and did not go with them. I spoke to one of them a few mins ago and Randy was not found.


This from Sacha about plans for Thursday, January 20th
Forrest, Cynthia, and Radcrad will take off in a helicopter tomorrow at noon, to search the deep canyon of the Rio Grande, and any other close areas we have time and access to.  We will rally about 4 tomorrow afternoon to discuss the findings.

Here is a report from the Santa Fe New Mexican about the helicopter search:


Beyond Thursday
Katya and Sacha are working with a team of professional drone operators who want to spend some time in search area. These are incredible tools and experienced highly skilled operators. Depending on the amount of time they can remain on site (batteries and fair weather) they can provide a very useful and quick way to examine nooks and crannies and very narrow places that a full sized helicopter can’t go.

The team is also working with a high resolution aerial imagery company, that can pick up something as small as a helmet.  They hope to deploy this tool for additional detailed examination.


Randy has not been found. New information continues to be gathered, scenarios tested and tools deployed to look better and closer.


Thanks to everyone on the team and the generous searchers and supporters who seem to be determined to leave no shadow unexamined.


Just want to share this comment that Slurbs made earlier this evening on the blog:

The feelings felt within myself today were unexpected. They were unexpected because I didn’t know Randy on a personal level. We met in Santa Fe during the Leon Gaspard book signing. It was a brief meeting, not much more than quick introduction. Being a fellow searcher brings the feeling of family amongst us “Fenners.”
Randy’s disappearance has carried weight which I felt overloaded with today. I was feeling like we (more I) had not given enough effort in trying to reach the area where Leo was found next to Randy’s little raft. Then the thoughts of the mud we were driving through came back to mind. The roads in the area are so bad that I felt we shouldn’t go any further fearing we would have to send out a call for help to get out the muck. At one point, Mike D made note that he had his display saying he had 90 miles left until he was out of gas. About a mile of mud later his display said he had 80 miles left until empty. Yup, we spun our wheels 10 miles worth to travel a single mile. Small hill’s became enormous obstacles. We both had our vehicles facing about 60 degrees off of the direction of travel because of terrible muddy ruts down some of the path before us. Who knows when these roads will become more passable.
I didn’t join the search today. The whole day I felt bad for anyone searching for Randy. The winds were relentless and frigid in the area. I’m sure the searchers are red in the nose from all the tissue used to control the running nasal drips.
My heart goes out to everyone involved in the search for Randy. I’m sure the high winds kept the drones grounded… I have not heard the updates of such grounding yet though.
After sharing my thoughts with my wife and you, my fellow searchers, I feel that anyone involved in searching for Randy are, in fact, giving it their all. Some of us Treasure hunters involved in the search are painters, plumbers, sailors, project managers, semi coductor workers, collectors, pilots, custodians, a Commodore of Water Preservation,  prayer givers, disabled men, women who take care of their man, many many more and yes, even pond scum whom are tough as nails and don’t come anything close being a scummy scallywag (I got your back DaisyMae, you’re alright in my book). All giving all.
Just heard on the local news that Forrest is chartering a helicopter to help in the search for Randy over the next two days. Yay! Thanks f. I can not picture f not doing the things he was attributed to do in this life. You are the most upstanding citizen I have ever met, f. Stay safe everyone. Pactice Safety first so that you can accomplish your desires.




195 thoughts on “The Next Steps…

    • I would love to know this to. It’s one of the most likely and obvious places yet it’s not clear if anyone actually walked that first mile on the ground on the west side of the river. If he was climbing around those falls looking, he could have had an accident there and may not be visible from the air–especially if he sought shelter. Perhaps the helicopter could drop a couple of people at the west side entrance?

  1. Forrest, Cynthia, and Radcrad
    May you journey today be a success so we can bring a end to this tragic happening. Our thoughts are still with the family of Randy and of course you too. May you have clear skies and calm winds to help in this task before you. Good luck and God Bless. Bur

  2. Thanks for the updates and continued dedication. Especially with the drone operators, please have them take photos/video and supply them to us. Small things may be missed at the time that people at home may find.

    Additional resources for drones, if the current team doesn’t work out, are drone hobbyist/flying groups in Santa Fe or surrounding areas, and even realtors, roof inspectors, etc. The DJI drones have a range of several miles. They don’t need to spend too long out there. If we can get them to grab photos/video of the river and surrounding areas, people at home can scour every pixel of that footage.

    • I agree Jeremy, being in south subs of chicago sucks. I want so badly to be out there. But you are correct, if they could get the photos and put them in a PDF file then we can take very close looks into them. I wish I could do more as do you. I only hope they take your advice.
      God be with THEM ALL.

  3. I agree with all the above comments and 2nd them. Thanks to all, be safe, and we’re here praying so please update us as soon as you know anything. Let us know where we can send funds to help if needed. I’m very glad that Forrest is going on that helicopter. He has been in that position before, but from Randy’s position and would have more insight on things I feel.

  4. Forrest sounds determined to find Randy in that article and he will use the helicopter for Friday as well if needed. Thank you very much for doing this Forrest!

  5. I wanted to share this. We have a lady named Julie who has been on ChaseChat who was there the day it seems Randy left and saw his car. She works for the Santa Fe National Forest, maps division. She heard a noise as she was hiking near his car like a distressed animal. She didn’t feel it was human, but suggested that maybe it was a whistle. Does anyone know if he had one or saw him in any previous photos where he did? Here’s about the link where she starts talking about it, and you can click on the page numbers to advance to more of her details.

    • Please consider unmoderating me Dal. I promise to go by the rules. You can remoderate me when you feel I’ve nothing left to say about this.

      Linda told me this morning that her daughter bought him a whistle that you can see here.

      So if she heard Randy, then it seems more plausible he fell.

      • If someone heard a whistle while hiking near Randy’s car, even a 90db whistle could be heard over a half mile!
        The next foot search should be a mile circular perimeter around the parking area, spoked off in sections, and searched from the outside towards the car. If Randy was hurt, he may not have been able to carry Leo over the lava, told him to stay and he hobbled toward his car where he could get help. If it was a serious break, or head wound, he could have bleed and lost conciseness after blowing whistle.
        Amazingly, a huge percentage of missing persons are found within a few miles of their car/home!

      • I’m posting this here from NMSAR’s Facebook page. A person named Julie Luetzelschwab posted this message regarding the day Randy was missing:

        For what it’s worth, I was at Buckman on 1/5/16 and I believe I saw his car. There was a dark SUV with Colorado plates backed into a parking spot right by the raft put in. It snowed the night before. Here is a photo looking downstream from about 1/2 mile south of Buckman on 1/5/16. I hiked about 2 miles south of Buckman and did not see any signs of a raft. Hope he is found.

        She also posted this message as a reply to NMSAR in the same thread:

        Julie Luetzelschwab The only person I saw on 1/5/16 was a CSI guard, who as you know are there every day. It was probably a wild animal, but I did hear this distressed call around 11am about 1/2 mile south of Buckman and I spent about 20 minutes looking for where it was coming from, but after the 3rd time I heard it I figured it was a (distressed) goose (but not Canada Goose), although I didn’t see one and at least no one on eBird has reported a goose there (this is a very popular birding area). I thought to record the sound, it was such an odd noise but I didn’t. I was under the powerlines at the top of the hill, overlooking the river, just southwest of Buckman. I wonder if he had a whistle, maybe he fell out of the boat right off the bat and it kept going – 9 miles down

        She also posted a picture of her two dogs.

    • I read the blog and didn’t see where it said WHERE the Lady heard the scream or whistle. can’t search it if I don’t know where it is. I will be in area tonight Friday and Saturday. If someone has a specific area they want me to look from the ground let me know otherwise I will be following my own ideas. If Forrest or any of the other so called “leaders” want me at a specific area or think we need to focus on a specific area, based on information that no one is sharing, then let me know, otherwise I will be looking on my own . Where did the cop spot the two guys wearing blue jacket? Why was this not disseminated? What areas have not been searched so I don’t waste my time recovering old search areas ? No one told me Sacha or whoever it was couldnt read these messages so it was impossible for me to know to contact them .. I have wasted six days sitting in Texas when I could have spent SIX days in SF searching for Randy – because no one is communicating outside of the “special people” at the top and my toleration for incompetence is ZERO .. There is a man injured freezing to death and available resources are not being used to their fullest potential. I will be on the east side tomorrow ..

      • Hello Brad. I’ve read the story about the woman hearing something unusual, possible whistle sound on New Mexico Search and Recover’s Facebook page a few days ago. She wasn’t positive to what she heard. Hope everything goes well with connections and should you decide to go alone, please be safe.

      • Hello Brad I just learned of this yesterday. We need to set a email alert for all searchers or subscribers so we can be notified of when events first happen. With that said Please be careful on your search. I would start where they found the boat. I may try to get down there Friday night I need to know if one can reach that boat location by foot. Be safe. JB and Titan

      • Brad,
        I just wanted to add one other thing. Sacha did post a “Searchers Wanted” on this blog several days ago. Treasure hunters are not professional searchers and are doing the best they can. Sacha does give an update every night so I’m not sure why you haven’t seen anything.
        Be safe and God speed on your search efforts.

      • That is rather odd that they have not contacted you. Why would they want to keep people from helping? It is right up there with as odd as them not sharing details of where the state search and rescue has already looked.

  6. I’m so glad Forrest is joining the searchers today!
    Our love, support and prayers go with everyone today as they effort to bring our fellow searcher home.
    No man left behind ! Forrest knows that better than most of us.
    Let’s pray that they are successful today.

  7. I will have another report for you all this evening, after the helicopter flight.

    They will actually land at Randy’s raft location and look around. We hope they have good luck.

  8. It’s good to see this level of commitment to searchers Forrests visual skills are still exceptional i’m guessing.Stick with it MEN.

  9. One of my sons said maybe the dog was with Randy and when he realized he was lost ran back to the boat in hopes he would follow. The compass he had just bought maybe it didn’t work correctly or something in the area caused it to read incorrectly. In past cases sometimes the missing person is further out then anyone expected. I was thinking last night from all states surrounding NM have people in their states come in to ant 150-200 miles from Santa Fe and work their way towards the area searching thoroughly and meet in the center. Glad you have drones out that will help. Can we put on public on Facebook asking for donations to help fund the search and have the funds sent to an account there in Santa Fe? Praying he’s ok, and we find him very soon. Thank you all for being there when some of us can’t be there. Maybe this weekend more will show up to help be safe

    • Linda told me it was more like a gps then a compass that he bought. His daughter bought him a whistle that had a compass on it….but we aren’t sure if he had it with him. The daughter said he usually did.

      • Not sure what “like a gps” means but Garmin GPS, after registering the device with the company, in an emergency, a person can contact Garmin with the registered users name and they can see where the device was last used.

  10. Thank you Forrest. No one could ask more of you.
    Thanks Dal and Goofy for keeping us informed.

    Thanks Cynthia and Slurbs for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Like you, we only just met in September but seems the ‘Fenn family’ cares deeply. I’m too far away, as Forrest has told me in the past, to do boots on the ground.

    Thanks to to Sacha and all the others I haven’t met for all the efforts and information.

    Keeping the search in heart and mind.
    Take care all.

  11. If someone can get a link to the high resolution photos I know every one here that can’t put boots on the ground would be more than eager to search photos. God bless all the searchers and family members.

    • Not obsessed, an aerial imaging company is likely going to be shooting video of the area tomorrow morning. Waiting on confirmation this afternoon. Once the video is hand it will get posted online for the community to download and review.

      • Nice!

        I was wondering if there is anything that can detect a cell phone that’s off, a gps that might be off and/or a car key fob. I don’t know if any can transmit anything that can be located. Anyone know?

        • If a gps was used by him. I would think it has to ping something to get it’s location. Do satellites have any capabilities of keeping a record to see where the last location was for a coordinate that was plugged in for that area around that time?

          Then it might have tracks set that show where he is. Does anyone know how to research something like this to see if it’s possible?

          • Might Randy have been using software for tracking his hikes and syncing online? Gaia Maps or Trail Behind for instance.

          • That information would be available with various service providers like Google and Apple, but it’s only accessible with a court order or subpoena.

          • Hey Stephanie,
            Sorry to say but we would have to have the gps number to be able to do a 10 mile ping on it. When I’m out seaching I always have my gps ping with me. I used one like it at aspenn vail and snowmass in case of a avalanche. I truely belive everyone should have a locator with them when ever their in the mnts or forest areas. Old marines still think saftey first.

      • Thanks three rocks. I know I’m waiting for them so that I can get started on the search videos and or pics. Being in the burbs of chicago really sucks. Cant wait to move out there. Just gotta get the wife to retire.
        God Bless All. And a special Blessing for Randy and his family.

  12. From the photos I have seen Randy was very comfortable climbing high up the sides of the main canyon, probably trying to get high enough to see mountains. I think along the cliffs would be the most likely place to search. I believe Randy was scaling the canyon bottom to top and had been doing so for a while. The area way up the east side directly above the raft is the probable goal of this trip into the canyon. Also, check high up where the car is parked as he may have attempted to climb out of the canyon near his car and got caught by nightfall. Good luck with the search today.

  13. If you want more than 10 or 4 people to show up you need to schedule the search and let people know IN ADVANCE. Like 24 hours. So they change plans and have enough time to get there. I am not driving 10 hours straight and then spending 10 hours searching without sleep. In sub 50 degrees weather in the middle of the desert that would stupid. I have been offering my services since last Friday but Not one single time in the last six days have I received notice of a scheduled search early enough for me to actually get there and be of help before the search started ..

    If you want my assistance Friday or Saturday let me know NOW, before 4 pm today, otherwise I will be north of Raton, headed for Laramie and unavailable til Monday..


  14. Good luck everyone. The use of a helicopter and the drones with some high quality camera images will hopefully be able to search and record areas inaccessible to ground searchers. Stay safe. Prayers continue for a successful search.

  15. This is from Linda about the Xs.

    All I got so far is the first X is where the raft was!!! He probably hiked up the Mesa??! Have no idea what that means. When you share please write this info is from me because I keep getting emails and texts asking if I knew and I am the one supplying the info My time is so limited Thank you!

  16. I wish everyone success today and that all return safely.

    I hate to say it, but it seems more recon should be put into searching the water. Just seems like more circumstances point to that.

  17. Keeping a grieving Leo in thoughts and in prayers. He can’t understand anything except that Randy; his most cherished companion in life is no longer beside him.

    • I know… 🙁 That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking. So sad. I remember petting him at the book signing noticed how soft his fur was. He’s a very sweet and well behaved dog. I can’t even imagine what he went through during those days out there. What he saw. What he… I don’t even like to think about it. Just breaks my heart.

    • SL…thank you for putting into words what I am feeling about when you have that special bond with a dog. That connection is priceless!

      • WiseOne – Ellen:

        Randy would want the best for Leo – The heart truly loves…what it loves no matter the circumstance.

        Hopefully there will be an update on Leo before long ~

  18. I am sorry for not being able to help search, but I continue to offer prayers and positive thoughts to everyone involved. Be safe and take care,

  19. I have some mid-morning updates for you all.

    Forrest is scheduled to go up in the chopper still. However, in addition, we will also have a helicopter and crew from KOB4, here in Albuquerque, thanks to the hard work of Gadi Schwartz. Gadi used to be a correspondent at KOB, and has hunted for Fenn’s treasure himself for years. He was able to use his connections to get the story out, and get KOB to give us a hand.

    In addition to that, another searcher has arranged to pay for high resolution aerial video to be taken of the area tomorrow. When we receive the images, he will post them in a public forum for all to view.

    I know many of you still want to help. I noticed that no one has donated to Randy’s family in a while, and I think they will need more than what has been raised so far. Please, donate what you can to them here:

    Also, we will need everyone’s eyes on those images, once we have them. Hopefully, we can use the power of many to narrow it down.

    Thank you all for your warm thoughts, well wishes, theories, and use of connections to pool resources. I never expected so many people to care so much.

    Also, good luck to Cynthia, Radcrad, and Forrest today. They could use all the luck they can get.

    • Great news about Gadi’s help in getting KOB4’s crew up looking. I hope they coordinate their search with Forrest’s. The additional news coverage can only help as some people who may have been in the area around the time Randy disappeared may come forth with additional information. Thanks for keeping us updated Sacha, and good luck to all the searchers.

    • Sacha, thanks for the update. I was corresponding with Cynthia last evening and she was really stoked about the prospects for today’s search.
      Here is wishing them all the luck in the world!


        • Jeff, if you bring Titan and Leo is rested and fattened up, maybe they could go together. But they need foot pads because the lava rock tore up the Search and Rescue dogs’ feet.

          • If Leo feels better don’t you think Titan and Leo would make a good team? Leo would need foot gear too. I don’t know who has him or if they would let him go with Titan (he’s certainly big enough to be a protector) but they might be able to find Randy. Are you coming tomorrow? Should be the perfect weather day IF you have 4wd to get through the mud. I’ve read every one of the posts at several sites since this thing began. What time will you get here??? I could be tempted to search with you if you are going out tomorrow and have room in your vehicle. Need a heads up. If I don’t hear from you remember to watch for Ravens circling. Remember our discussion re animal awareness at the book signing in September??? This search requires that kind of sensitivity.

          • I cant leave Colorado until 4 30 pm I have a important Doc appointment so sat morning I think is when I will be in the area. I know time is a fight right now. I sure hope they find him tomorrow. Sat and Sunday I think its about 8 hours away

          • We’re Leo’s foot pads torn up? Might be informative as to him walking back to the raft or not. Sorry if this is a repeat thought.

          • I’m taking your advice and waiting to travel until today’s update and film. I may be better helping view its content. Your # GOT LOST can you give me a ring and let me know what you learned today. Thank you J B and Titan

          • Jeff, I’ve been reading the many recent posts but don’t see any giving update on today’s findings with drones etc. Will call you soon.

  20. In high hopes of them finding Randy today or tomorrow alive.
    So impressed with Forrest Fenn and his determination to help with the search.
    I can not imagine his feelings with this situation knowing the reason Randy was in the chase.
    I am also equally impressed with all that have given their time for Randy.
    I believe we all should take the safest steps in looking, as we all tend to think it’s just over that edge, or perhaps under there and put ourselves in a possible situation.
    No one but Forrest, knows of the area the Treasure is in, however, if this situation turns out for the less fortunate alternative, I hope he is found draped over the chest with a huge smile on his face knowing he gave it his all for what he loved, just as Forrest had planned.
    In hopes of more detailed arial photos for all to help at home. (Ohio) for me, and an area we need to look. Not knowing exact coordinates, I have looked at it on GE and seems to me that up one canyon at the lower falls there is a huge rock that with pics from others on GE has changed looks that look like a face now compared to other photos of that stone. Could he have decided to come in to that area from Rio to search below falls?

    Best of luck and prayers to all

  21. My 2 cents worth From looking at the Infamous Map. Follow the path east up to the first X then continue South towards the next X and so on for the third, then loop back towards where the raft was located at. If he made it to the last X, I would summarize that he most likely dropped back down towards river then followed the river back North.

    • This is very encouraging! It looks to me that he intended to search the east side of the river, not cross over to the other side. It also looks like from the pictures that he’s explored the river before. I believe he knew where he was going.
      I’m hoping they find some clue today.

    • Stephanie the picture that shows that sign stating caution, unexploded ordinance (areal bombletts instead of aerial bombletts?) and do not touch at the bottom, where is that sign? Is it at the mouth of Frijoles Canyon? Probably not, I didn’t see any signs from the pictures. Is the sign closer to where his vehicle was?

          • Yes Melanie is correct from what I’ve learned. I also learned that if you look at the map Randy made with the X’s that the place where the circled E is, is in Los Alamos National Laboratory property and not accessible. I had thought maybe he went in there, but was told that Linda his ex wife checked to see if he could have ended up in any jails which would include if he was caught there and no he wasn’t.

    • Stephanie, was the self of Randy taken on THIS search when he disappeared or previously?
      In his sunglasses reflection, on the left lense, you can see the head and face of another person, their glasses are down, not on the forehead like Randy’s and head tilted at a diff angle but could be from curve of lense. It may be a rock with shadows for eyes, but I see a Def nose bridge and temple pieces going to ear. Again, the glasses are down, snug on the nose, Randy’s are on his forehead.
      If this self WAS taken on his missing search, are WE sure he was alone? Did he run into another hiker or “ruffian” who did him harm?
      PLEASE, ck out the image, or am I grasping straws? If this IS his last pic sent, it’s worth looking at closer.
      ☆ Thank you all who have contributed in some way, and to those who are praying and keeping Randy in their thoughts.
      Gladly waiting to search HRPICS with my vivid imagination…
      No, seriously, ck out what I’m saying on the selfie!

        • I agree, eaglesbound. I’ve looked at the reflections many times. While looking at the photo, the left lens (which is his right) shows his arm and camera taking his selfie and there’s a rock in the background. In the right lens (which is his left) it shows more rocks, but it also looks like he was near a parking area. Two of the three bright white reflections looks like they’re coming from vehicles with the sun’s reflections ricocheting from the windshields. What are your opinions?

          • While looking at the selfie, near the very left edge, about center and above, it looks like he’s near a ruin; mostly covered. Do you see the lines and the circle? I’ve zoomed in at 200% on my computer to view these things. This is an opinion, offered as a thought. What are your thoughts?

          • The Selfie pic was taken when he was out in December which was only about 11 days prior to the trip where he vanished. To me it looks like there’s a structure in the reflection as the top looks very straight. I’m not familiar with what structures can be out there, but I do know they have water tanks on the East side(might be on West too, but only saw on the East a couple of them) that I saw on Google Earth.

        • Look in the OTHER sunglasses lens, not the one holding camera. If it were a reflected view of Randy, why are the glasses on in the relection, yet on his head in pic? I may be grasping straws…

          ☆☆☆ I have contacted my local Fox news channel here in KC and asked them to air Fox-Denvers news story about Randy. Everyone can go to their own city’s FOX Web page, go down to email contact, and ask them to air it, because a vacationer from that city may have been out there at the same time and saw Randy. EVERYONE needs to do this to go national!!! Mention Leo’s rescue too, they are big on animal stories as well as missing persons!

          • The reflection you see in his glasses are images in front of him, not him. The images in his glasses are his hand holding the camera with his right hand and rocks of some sort in the other. I’m sorry, that’s all I see.

    • Hello Stephanie. Just viewed the newest photos you’ve added from Eugene. I wonder if the dogs tracks really do belong to Leo. Certainly rugged grounds and the Rio tells a tale. It’s great to see what is inside of Randy’s car. Thank you.

      • My dog Titan sports a track that big it could of been a searchers dog but little Leo He has a much smaller Paw I think. its almost 2 inches in the photo if I’m reading the tape right. It only matters if they are starting a search from that point.

  22. Apologies if someone’s already said this but looking at Randy’s map I can’t work out what his Blaze etc refer to but all of his markings are arranged on a north westerly / south easterly line. He’s marked ‘NW’ at the top left corner.

    This may suggest that he believed the alignments of these objects such as the blaze generated the north west / south east orientation pointing towards the location of the treasure, so the search area could be on that north westerly / south easterly line going East from the river (where his three crosses in the shape of an arrowhead are pointing).

    Again apologies if you’ve already searched this.. Good luck in the search and good on you all.

    • That’s what we’re looking at. It looks like he wanted to be there at Sunset and look from those 3 or 4 X’s through a possible Window Rock as I was sure I saw one while I was researching this area. I talked to a searcher just now who said there are window rocks around there. So it could be that he was wanting to look through one towards Questa feeling he’d see the blaze.

        • Stephanie – I’d brought up a thought similar to White Knight’s in my reply to your earlier 9:45 am post. But since then, I’ve wondered if the X’s might actually be forming a Y….or Y’s (in different orientations), as in “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze…” Only problem is that “blaze”, if it’s the remains of Los Conchas Fire, didn’t happen until 2011 – after TTOTC came out.

          Your ideas about Randy looking thru a window rock on the winter solstice are intriguing. That might be the reason he couldn’t wait for spring and would account for being brave and worth the cold so he could triangulate the treasure’s location (but should’ve waited until spring to fetch it!).

          Also, I think his map says “Quest” in the upper left. Is that what you were referring to when you wrote “Questa”? Questa is actually NNE of the X’s – roughly in the direction they point if looked at as a Y NOT pointing to Frijoles. “Questa” also sounds like “quest to” with a drawl. At least Questa is north of SFe, for what that’s worth.

          Sorry to be so wordy, but one more thought: Maybe this is all backwards. Maybe he had been there before on the summer solstice and thought he needed to come back in the winter for the final clue and to consumate finding the TC. I wonder because the NW axis created on his map from the X locations just about matches where the sun would appear to set in the summer, due to the mountains in front (based on the sunset view angles I routinely see here in SFe, but not geometrically plotted or proven).

          • I like your thoughts….this is just generic thinking…but if he was trying to see where the sun went through a “window” rock….I could see him paying attention to that and not his footing.

        • If my calculations are correct, at the winter solstice, the sun rises at ~120° (just S of ESE) and sets at ~240° (just S of WSW), so no sun shining up the Frijole Canyon at sunset, not so much sunrise either. I don’t see a solstice “angle” forgive the pun that works.

          To my mind, to cram a solstice angle in, is working too hard. Not to say Randy wasn’t, I just can’t see the math working in this spot.

          • Your calcs are correct, at horizon level. And you’re mostly correct about sun shining or not up Frijoles canyon, but it depends on the season (believe me, it can be brutal in the summer when the afternoon sun shines up that tiny slot).

            However, land elevation and solar inclination play a big part into when one perceives sunset out here (viewed from SFe). The closer you are to the Jemez Mountains (west), the sooner the sun sets. And the sooner it sets, the less it appears to move across the horizon. Hence, a protracted sunset, not at the “level” horizon.

            Sorry if I wasn’t clear…I meant to be specific to what one would see if NOT in Frijoles Canyon, but up on the mesas, either side of the Rio Grande, near either the summer or winter solstices. That 1000′ elevation gain out of the gorge makes a huge difference in how/where/when the sun appears to set.

          • Melanie thanks for the confirm, and yes they were not considering elevation, which is important.

            My read was that the NW-SE orientation of his map notations didn’t lend themselves to a _winter_soltice_ arc-of-the-sun phenomenon, which was ESE-WSW.

            But good we’re both thinkin’

          • Yeah, that was my final take on it, too. The alignment points more to a summer sunset at solstice.

            Now, if only it would point to Randy.

          • If he was using a Winter Solstice solution…I was thinking there might be some window rock on the West…or something over there that he was looking for a “blaze” to hit at those 3/4 Xs on the East side.

            I think he had just gotten a gps…those the coordinates in and was walking to them while trying to read his new gps…it’s confusing if you’ve never used one or have a new one. I just did this past summer and kept looking at the gps and tripping over logs on the ground.

            I think he was going to that one X in the red box I made, because one the prints might be theirs(although that’s a guesstimate)…and two, that’s where the topo seems to fall off the most.


  23. I am glad some of you are looking for Randy’s whereabouts. The fact that his dog was found and he wasn’t isn’t a good sign. A dog would never leave his master’s side. I am afraid Randy got swept down the river and his god couldn’t follow, but keep up the good search!

  24. the second pic from Randy at the river appears to be from the put in at Buckman Road looking north; I’ll send a GE screen grab to Dal

  25. I think I’m stupid I thought Randy was found. It was his dog. I think we must look at how his boat and dog got to that part of shore line. A raft upside down maybe Randy turned it over on shore as to leave and return to a dry inside Or capsized He may be real close to that boats location. or the the location where he went wet. / Does anyone know if he packed supplies. There is water to drink is there wood for warmth. Could he survive this long? I pray the answer is yes but every minute counts. Our prayers are with you Jeff and Titan.

  26. Worried sick and feeling hopeless.
    Please,God watch over your sherpards so that they may find the lost one and bring him home. Give them eye,s to see and the strength to keep on keeping on. Amen.

  27. I really do hope the searchers are concentrating on that area of the “Xs” to the east of the river. It looks like Randy marked a path for ingress or egress. Maybe he couldn’t find the trail while in his car and decided to use the raft, believing he could pick up the trail from the river end once he’d finished searching.

    I would expect that he either had an issue while searching in the arc generated by the Xs or he tried to get back to the car and fell or suffered hypothermia after dark. Leo may have waited with him for days before following their own scent back to the river.

    I’m sorry to press this easterly notion, but it’s the only one that makes sense to me. Crossing a broad river by foot when you have a raft available just seems too far out there.

    Really hoping we get some definite news by this evening.

  28. His dog may not of left him. He may be right there in that under brush. With no shelter He may have covered himself with the brush for warmth. Did they look right where the dog was found in the brush? I know they said a hour but has any one returned to the starting point or is it only excess able by helicopter?

    • Thanks Stephanie for the additional pictures.
      I once again am encouraged that Randy and Leo made it to the top since Eugene ‘ second to last pic shows there may have been a dog print and a foot print.
      Could something have happened that caused Leo to go back to the boat?
      I sure hope the helicopter will find something today!

      • I was thinking those prints were a little deep to be Leo’s…but maybe. Eugene has a nice graphic of where they searched. It would be nice if other searchers did the same.

        • Those are not dog tracks, Steph. Ask any of the guards that check the numerous Santa Fe well sites up and down Old Buckman road, several times a day and night. And they will tell you of the many mountain lion sightings.

          • If you look at the depth of the shoe print 1/4″ the look at the depth of the animal track 3/4″, I don’t think Leo could make a track of that depth unless he weighed 200 lbs.

          • Like everyone else I pray for the miracle that Randy is found alive and well. But the facts should be considered. I tracked mountain lions to their prey several times in Bandelier. Their prints are distinctive.Carry a printout if you don’t know what they look like. They tend to hide near their prey so they can feed again, esp the females. Awareness is your number one skill, various modes of self defense are also critical.

  29. Someone may have already looked into this but if not, it would be a good idea to find the receipt from Big 5 to find out exactly what Randy bought there. Did he buy a GPS unit or a compass? Did he buy a wetsuit or waders or use something he already owned to go into the water. If he did buy a GPS, what brand? I have no idea if there is any way of finding out his route from the manufacturer but if he pre-plotted a route, perhaps the info is out there in the Cloud and can be retrieved. Even if a receipt cannot be found, Big 5 will know all the transactions that took place that day and could tell what he purchased. I do not think that kind of info is somehow protected knowledge and Linda or perhaps Forrest could contact that Big 5 store and see if they will look into it. I hope this has already been researched but I haven’t read anything regarding what Randy bought for sure except the raft. I understand he texted that he bought other items at Big 5 but it seems it would be important to know precisely what he bought.

  30. My heartfelt prayers goes out to Randy’s family. After reading all the updates I believe that Randy and Leo were a team and would never have left each others side. I have dogs that are my best buddies with bonds for a lifetime. My thoughts are simple, the raft was placed by Randy when he reached his place to explore. Randy and Leo “both” hiked, and some event caused little Leo to back trace his steps to the site of the raft where he stayed waiting for his owner. Just my gut feeling, that Randy is in the near vicinity of the raft. It doesn’t appear he set up a camp when he left for the hike, knowing he would come back

  31. Has anyone contacted the Los Alamos authorites, to ask if security can search that bordering area? I know signs prohibit entry, but that may not have stopped Randy from cking it out, being a maverick. No one knows what he was thinking. You can say, “Nah, he wouldn’t go there!”, but he searched in the winter after F said NOT to, so it’s a possibility.
    He’s GOT to be somewhere, and poss in an area no one is looking!
    Another tactic…has anyone been scoping out the sky for bird of prey circling? Someone should go out daily, to a high point, with binoculars and look for that! Especially morning, noon and evening. Search experts use this technique frequently.
    KC FOX4 contacted me, thanked me for the heads up on Randy and are contacting their Denver station, poss air date Thur or Fri here in KC, MO!

    • I have contact with high ranking staff member at Los Alamos Lab (LANL) but will not contact this person unless head search organizer deems it necessary. Organizers may have their own LANL contacts.

  32. I would like to suggest that someone – preferably one of Randy’s family members – get in touch with The San Ildefonso Pueblo. They are having their annual feast day on Jan. 23rd. They welcome outsiders particularly on this upcoming day. They know this area better than anyone. I do not mean any disrespect, nor do I desire to start a feud, however, it is my opinion that it be someone other than Forrest that approaches them and that the subject of “The Chase” be downplayed or avoided entirely. After all, this is not about that. It is about a brother, father, husband, son…
    — a FAMILY member being lost near their home. If it were my family member, I would ask the 2 tribes of the area for help.
    Most sincere and heartfelt prayers for Randy and his family at this difficult time.

  33. The helicopter search is likely to be productive. It was a helicopter that found Randy’s boat in the first place after all.

    Other than that, by far the most worthwhile effort is to start at the boat and move out on foot. Try to retrace Randy’s steps. The dog was found with the boat, so it’s unlikely Randy got very far.

    I’m familiar with the entire area from where Randy launched the boat, to where he landed it. It’s most likely you’ll find him near the boat on the cliff side.

    There’s probably no chance of learning anything from your cars.

  34. Monday I sent my thoughts to one of the searchers for the Tuesday search. Tuesday I posted in a ChaseChat thread those thoughts. Many of you have reiterated some of what I said. Given the information that has come to light the last couple of days, I am submitting my revised thoughts. The area I believe Randy to be in… has not changed much. I only am making the search are a little larger and explaining why I think he is there.

    Randy started out on the 5th. He intended for it to be a day trip and did not take overnight supplies. He traveled light so as to pack out the chest should he find it. He made it to Frijoles but it took much longer than expected. He went up to the lower falls with Leo and couldn’t go any further. He initially intended to go above the upper falls. He took the Rio Grande way to avoid NP authorities. By the time he got back to the Rio Grande, clouds had rolled in and the temperature was dropping.

    Randy and Leo went across the Rio Grande to the east side as Randy had planned to leave the disposable raft and exit by way of the east side of the river. He was already familiar with the east side of the river above the gorge cliffs. He knew there was a trail up the gorge cliffs from his topo map and that there were old FS roads up there. It took longer than expected to locate the trail and get above the gorge. Now it was getting dark and he was in the early stages of hypothermia. He knew it would be a long dark slog out (the moon was entering its “New” phase) but he knew the roads and maybe he could bivouac for the night and hike out in the morning. I believe he made it above the gorge, found a bivouac place, and made a brush shelter. That night the weather changed. It was cold and started to rain and/or snow. I feel he succumbed to hypothermia in the early AM on the 6th.

    For some reason, I don’t think he had his wet suit with him. Maybe it was too heavy and he abandoned it. On the other hand he could have had it with him. I also think he didn’t take any fire starters with him for whatever reason. Pure conjecture, mind you, but it explains why he may have succumbed to hypothermia. When hypothermia sets in, you don’t make good or rational decisions and panic starts to set in as well. Leo was with him to the end. He would never leave the dog behind, IMO. Once he passed, Leo would have only stayed near him for a day or three. Then Leo would have gone back the way he came (looking for food?) as it was the only route familiar to him and he would still be able to find his own scent tracks. Leo may have gone back and forth several times during the warm daylight hours. This is why I think that Randy is not more than a mile or so from the raft. Leo would not have backtracked too far without the safety of Randy.

    Now, don’t ding me for my statements about the weather. I don’t know what the weather was like in that area of NM. I live in northern AZ and usually the weather we get here, goes there 6 to 24 hrs after it hits us. We were cloudy at 7am and started getting rain/snow mixed by noon on the 5th. It was a moderate moving storm but was fairly large. The next day (6th) schools were closed and we were getting heavy snow. We had about 15 inches by noon when it eased up. Three more fast and smaller storms hit each day following that initial one.

    These are the coordinates that I think Randy is near.
    35°44’46.11″N, 106°14’59.88″W
    Draw a 1/2 mile circle around that.

    Generally you could draw a straight 1 mile line from the raft to the NE. Draw another one from the raft to the SE. He is likely in-between those lines. It will take a good ground search and/or low helicopter or drone searching of that area. If he hunkered down for a bivouac it would likely be near some rocks/overhang that he could put brush/branches over. I think he was trying to get out of the rain/snow.

    If you have good weather and you can stop for 10 or 15 minutes while searching to quietly observe the area, look for ravens hanging out. If in a low flying chopper or using a low drone, look for ravens taking off from the ground. They are a great indicator.

    All of this is just my thoughts and could be considered conjecture if you wish to think of it like that. It’s a very strong feeling I have had since I first read about this on Sunday (?).

    Good luck folks. Stay safe…. And thank you for your efforts. I wish I could be there for BTOG (but I don’t move as fast as I used to) or spot from the chopper.

    P.S. I just saw the map on ChaseChat and it supports what I have been thinking since Monday.

  35. Has any one tried to call him he has a cell phone that’s how he took his pic is there any way to get his # and ping it or have some one in the area tomorrow and try to call his phone just a thought

  36. In Santa Fe if anybody wants to meet up to work out search grid patterns or needs extra boots extra eyes on the search Friday and Saturday ..

    Bradhartliep at gmail . Com



  37. Good thing Fenn and company are so persistent. I imagine hitting close to home for Fenn (Jolly Green)

    Searchers are fired up to help here. I’ve got two eyes, let me know when the aerial images are put up.

    • Have they been posted I’m waiting up. This was a long way to float a raft. Does any one know if he had a car down river for pick up. If he was thinking of footing the trip back its 8 miles as the crow flies much more a foot. Every thing except the water tank is on the other side. Maybe he headed for that. Did he tell any one his plans? useful info. I’m sorry I heard about this so many days into the search. Main concern is finding Randy.

  38. Everyone has posted a lot of good thoughts. It just seems incredible that he could disappear like this without his dog. Is there any other possibility? Hypothermia? wild animals? abduction? Just thoughts. If any but the last he should be somewhere near the raft.

        • We know the Rio is very shallow. I believe rocks are exposed. If Randy ended up in the Rio, is the flow of the river powerful enough to move 200 lbs 10 miles downstream? If it is. Would that movement travel that far without leaving a sign that SAR could not detect. Would there be signs of fabric or skin drug across rocks or any tree limbs that might be down there. Would the dogs have picked up a scent leading into the water? .. from what I read the dogs picked up a scent on the trail leading up to the cliff and then the scent disappeared. If Randy fell from the height would there have been impact signs below? ..

          I guess the question is – what is the more likely scenario based on what we know today .. under the ice in the lake or lost on the mesa top? Is another air search, focusing on the possibility of blue fabric or other signs of recent human passing a reasonable plan of action or a waste of resources that could be better spent somewhere else? ..


  39. Flash Earth has current imagery of the area.

    The raft can be seen at 35 44′ 56.2″N 106 15′ 29.0″W

    If you use this imagery for searching, note, from being there, the average size of those green bushes on the hill are 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

    Has anyone looked in the ruins a half mile south at 35 44′ 31.1″ N 106 15′ 34.4″W?


    • Disregard last about Flash earth being up to date (not the raft – in the wrong location) but the question about the ruins stands.

    • Tom thanks for the link to the flash earth. I found something that looks brighter than nearby rocks. It is in the river at 35.760486 -106.24326 what do you think?

        • Yes I do mean the white oval thing. I am going down the river zoomed in. Since then I have seen similar things. The brighter ones must have more direct sun?

          • I am having trouble identifying the size of things. For instance if this shadowy figure would have to be a giant or could it be a person?

            35.72546 -106.266815

          • I should clarify that I don’t think the link I just submitted portrays an actual person. It is just an example of the difficulty to identify the actual scale of things.

          • If you go down to the lake and see the size of the buildings it gives you a little bit of an idea… I also was trying to imagine the size of a person on the trails you can see… You are right though it’s really hard to gauge…

  40. As I mentioned in the disregard above the imagery is old it won’t be of use other than getting a picture of the area. I’d say it was from Nov/Dec. The snow is missing. The ruins should probably be looked into.

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