After the Search on Friday…

January 22nd, 2016



As I pulled into the Santa Fe Animal Shelter parking area this morning, I was astonished to see the number of vehicles awaiting my arrival. Despite the brisk 34 degree temperature, most of the folks were already milling around, introducing themselves. I immediately joined the gang and handed out a few packets of photos of Randy’s maps that I had printed for 3 teams. We discussed the plan for the day. We all would caravan in seven vehicles as close to Montoso Peak and the canyon edge as possible within the red circle on the maps. If any of the vehicles could no longer tolerate the muddy, slippery conditions, we would stop as a group and place those folks in the vehicles that could climb and grip the sloppy tracks to a spot close to the canyon edge.

We put John Brown in the lead because he knew the way to the mesa area we intended to go… he had been there previously with Gene, I believe. I followed in the FJ, Radcrad and Mike Hendrickson were next in line, followed by Katya and Billy who had organized three guys to help search using their drones (Tizz, Sam, and another). Eventually Tom G and Amber and her little dog June fell into line.


One nice thing that Katya mentioned before we were under way was that Cid’s Market in Taos paid for a bag of groceries for us to make a nice lunch in the field. Kudos to Cid’s…really cool.

About the time we hit the asphalt, Katya received a call from her 3rd drone operator that he was running late but he’d catch up on the dirt road to Montoso Peak. If you don’t know the area, you’d likely get lost in a second. So anytime we came to a fork, Roger (Radcrad) tied an orange ribbon to a branch to mark the way.


During one of the stops, some of the guys revisited the map of the area.


I wish I had pictures of the “road” once we started the journey around Montoso Peak because I’m not sure I have the proper words to describe the drive…for me, it was basically terrifying… and I was the one driving the probably most capable vehicle for the conditions out there. The path twisted and turned and tilted between the juniper trees, all the while our tires slinging mud and snow. To make it even worse, there were sections of jagged rocks poking up here and there, as well as an area the guys referred to as “the steps”…large rocks that we crawled over and around going down a short section of steep grade…which I knew we had to climb up over on the return trip. The only saving factor for me was that there were no cliff edges on either side, so even if we’d slide off into a ditch and flip, we likely wouldn’t be killed. Sometimes the path through the trees was so tight the branches would sweep both sides of my car….one branch was large enough to knock my side mirror against the side…

John finally stopped ahead of me, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized he was parking…we had made it.

After each person gathered their gear, we teamed up, traded cell phone numbers (yes we had a good signal), and Tizz handed out radios to each team. We agreed on the return time to the vehicles as 4:00 pm since we knew returning home would be difficult as well and we needed daylight.


Amber from Texas and her dog June, Roger, and Mike Hendrickson.


Billy blessing us and our surroundings before heading out. Drone operators Tizz, Sam, and ?…

Even though we were sort of close to the mesa edge, we still had quite a distance to the river. I teamed with John Brown and Roger…our destination was to sweep the gully along the hill in front of us as we made our way to the edge. Tom G and Amber headed to the edge farther south, and the drone team meandered where needed to find the best place to launch the drones. According to my GPS coordinates, we were exactly where I’d hoped we could go… within the red circle on Randy’s map.

You will see my day through pictures of John. Roger searched a bit away from us so I have few pictures of him or the other teams.


John heading down the mesa hill into the gully.



As I walked, I searched every nook and cranny along my route…


Heading towards the rim…three searchers near center of photo.


John ahead of me as we made our way down into the gully.


I was above John about 6 feet when he said he saw “something”…”what” I anxiously asked. 
He described it as a place where branches and pine needles may have been placed on the ground. There was a small yellow spot in the snow where someone may have urinated and what looked like dog kibble scattered about. He picked up the kibble and told me to look at it…it was a stretch but we made the exchange. Excitedly, I examined it and said I thought it was rabbit scat, but I couldn’t be certain….I handed it back. He broke it in half and smelled it… confirming what I suspected. We discussed the yellow snow…even if it was human urine, it could have been from SAR…we left it alone.

John and I continued our hike and search for Randy down through the gully…we eventually got to an area that was too steep to continue, so we started a diagonal descent out of the gully and across the hill side. We wanted to get to the river… to the raft.





I included a lot of pictures of the terrain, trying to capture the unfriendly ruggedness…there are no trails per se in the area we were at. There was a lot of scree…the loose stuff that causes people like me to fall on their butt and slide part way down…it worked, and I was happy to be wearing my heavy canvas pants.
I think John and I got about half way down the side of the hill to the raft area when we decided we just didn’t have enough time. Disappointed, we both agreed to be safe…we didn’t want the burden of time along with the uphill struggle when we had to climb back up the hillside to the vehicles.


We ran into Katya and Billy taking a breather. Notice the steepness of the side of this hill. Tough hiking conditions, IMO.


John and I continued a diagonal path up and saw the slab of rock in below photo. It would be our break stop. We each used binoculars…looking for Randy.


The teams began streaming to the vehicles a bit early…the drone folks radioed to us that they’d be a bit behind schedule. We agreed we all leave together…we’d wait. No man left behind.

As we began the dreaded drive out of there, I noticed it was already 4:30. The progress was so slow due to the horrible road conditions that sometimes my speedometer barely moved off zero. It wasn’t long before twilight fell upon us…seeing all the ruts and jagged rocks became even more difficult. At the last stop while I waited for the others to catch up, I took the photo below… Despite all that mud, and snow, and ice, and rocky terrain, this was the view as we went home…an almost full moon over the mountains above Santa Fe…


I’m sorry to say that none of us found clues to find Randy. The drone crews each took over an hour of videos which they will download and analyze over the next day or two. They filmed the entire side canyon just south of where the raft was found. They also filmed, I believe, the edges of the Rio Grande canyon as well.

We all said our good-byes at the SF Animal Shelter where a few of the cars awaited their owners. Forrest requested a small group go to his place and provide him with an update of the day’s activities. I was delighted he was so kind as to have a platter of snacks available for us… with 6 little cans of Dr. Pepper. I was famished and ate accordingly…

There is no organized group search planned for tomorrow. A few individuals are going to go out on their own. Katya and her crew will analyze their drone videos, and we will go from there.

I want to thank all you awesome people who helped search today…everyone used good judgment and stayed safe. We really worked as a team and made sure we didn’t leave anyone on the mountain or stuck in the mud. I’d also like to thank all those who post their ideas on Dal’s blog. Because of the maps that Stephanie made available, we had a good idea of where to go today. We realize this area had been searched by the professionals previously… I guess I just had to see it for myself.
God bless Randy and his family and all you wonderful folks in the search community…



79 thoughts on “After the Search on Friday…

  1. Awesome effort. Kudos to all of the dedicated searchers. Be safe out there.


    Windy City

  2. Thank you It means a lot more then you know to all of us at home that cant get there this very second but would if our families didn’t require so much attention, I hope you know. we have been waiting to put our eagle eyes to work. and all of us are with you no matter what. again thank you

  3. In the picture of the bank close up it looks like some one is sitting on the bank on the west side point of land mass I blew this pic up maybe nothing but look right on the tip of the point where the land meets the water a perfect place to be.

    • I have been informed that this Pic of a man sitting on the point was not of the search area. It does contain a lot of beauty. Looking forward to more footage stay safe out there.

  4. It looks like it was a very interesting day. From the looks of the road (I use that word loosely) I would say that traveling that was an adventure in its self.
    I’m glad that everyone made it back safely.

  5. At times like this I sure wish I still lived in NM so I could be there to help. My prayers go out to Randy and all of the searchers. Doug Hill

  6. Totally amazing people! An incredible effort! Stuck in Idaho, I wish I could be there. I believe the mystery of what happened will be pieced together from all your efforts. My prayers to Randy, his family, and may our family of searchers stay safe.

  7. God Bless you Cynthia. Also all of the searchers their to help. You’ve been amazing through this whole affair. I only wish we could have a better ending. I’m holding onto a very small positive outlook but, well you know. I will also be looking at “all” of the video feeds and any stills if there are some. Please slow down now Cynthia I personally think you’ve done your part and wayyyy more. Get some rest. A friend, a searcher and someone that has great value in the kind of person you are.

  8. Let’s talk about Leo.
    I’m sure they weighed him at the shelter. Did they compare that to his recent vet visit to determine how much weight he actually lost? Maybe we can pinpoint how much time he actually went without food.
    I think he may be the key to solving this mystery. I know he is not at the shelter anymore, so can the family give permission to have him taken to the raft sight and see what he does?
    I think maybe Randy wasn’t searching treasure at the point he discovered his raft was torn. He was probably trying to figure a way out.
    Since Frijoles is across from his raft and he knows there’s civilization up there, did he decide that was the quickest way out? Or did he follow the river south to the lake?
    We know he didn’t stay at the raft site, no evidence of him bedding down.
    Since Leo was found on the east side, not likely he would cross the river without Randy. He has to be on that side somewhere. Would most people follow the river, I think so.
    I only hope they flew the drones along the river bank, maybe someone will see something. The long and short, more long, of it, is I believe we need Leo in a big way.

    • I’ve been asking about this (taking Leo back to the scene) for days. Anyone who knows dogs would see this as obvious.

      A few others have agreed with the suggestion, but for the most part, my question has been ignored. Frustrating, since Leo holds the keys to this mystery. Leo KNOWS what happened.

      Someone briefly commented that the shelter won’t release Leo to anyone other than a family member. Well, as far as I know, Randy was his family.

      However, based on that comment, there appear to be two possibilities:

      1-The shelter is is being grossly unreasonable, especially in light of the circumstances; or

      2-Randy’s family members are blocking the effort to allow Leo to partake in the search for his beloved Randy.

      Each of the these scenarios is too bizarre to fathom. Is there someone who can shed more light?

      Along with everyone else, I’m very impressed with all of the time and effort the searches are dedicating to finding Randy, using drones, helicopters, etc. But my money’s on Leo.

      • Do not speak ill of the shelter. They are not being grossly unreasonable. Might I point out that that terrain is rough on dog paws and him being out there was already detrimental to his health. The shelter and/or the family are protecting Leo. Just because they are not letting you take someone else’s dog into your custody to take him over rough terrain where he may become injured is not grossly unreasonable.

  9. Thanks for the update Cynthia and for all of you working so hard with BOG and behind the scenes.

    Does it seem like all the land in the area has been searched?

    If it has, then I really believe the no waders on land is the biggest clue…Forrest said the water was so low that it doesn’t seem like he could have had a struggle in the water….Water never stops flowing in a river really…so even if there is ice then I believe there’s a way that if he had a medical issue that he floated into the lake(is it completely iced over?). Linda said he just had a check up and no heart issues…but as I know, you can have an aneurysm and there’s no warning.

    Is there a way to search the lake with cameras??? Divers? I think this has to be the next step and might require waiting. Just my opinion.

  10. Cynthia,

    Bravo to you and the searchers!
    Now that I have had a chance to review all the information you and associates have provided and maps from Randy I have a theory to share trying to think like Randy that might be worthy of additional consideration.

    INITIAL SEARCH 1: Randy figures Forrest could have driven out to the Mesa top above the Rio Grande toward Bandelier over 8 miles Northwest of Santa Fe and hide his Treasure. Randy is on the hunt on or about the 24th of December which I think is confirmed by his selfie portrait.

    Bandelier could be “Home of Brown” which is in line with the Blaze on his map
    facing west to the Sun sign. Bandelier was home to many Indians along time ago.
    Forrest refers to ancient History in the TTOTC.

    The trajectory of view is also in line with Forrest’s TTOTC looking westerly in a few pictures such as Bessie and Me page 31, surviving myself page 41, Gypsy Magic under the wagon page 43, facing and walking westerly page 57, and finally Forrest’s father facing Northwest page 146.

    Randy perhaps thought that the areas in line east of Bandelier and the Rio Grande on the Mesa were of importance to look at and he marked his choices with X marks the spots to search. No luck on this hunt but new realization prevails upon Randy to go further into the Home of Brown.

    SEARCH 2:
    Below the home of Brown “Perhaps Bandelier in Randy’s perception” in Frijoles Canyon are several waterfalls ” Water High” if there is water and perhaps frozen.
    In continuing the search in January, Randy may have decided not to climb down the canyon wall on the east side because it was snowy and icy. Instead, he drove to the Old Buckman Road access of the Rio Grande Canyon which was much easier to take a raft to the dotted line area on his map. For this venture he buys a raft and waders.

    Fairly easily he makes it to the dotted line area but misses by a couple hundred yards due south. He may have decided to park raft on east side and leave Leo there for the rest of the day thinking it would be better to leave Leo on the east side of the river and wade across to below the home of Brown waterfall area.

    A mishap occurs, perhaps falling in the river at a deep spot Heaven for bid. Or just maybe he is in Frijoles Canyon and slipped on icy rocks and fell on rough terrain or in a ravine searching the waterfalls areas. IF I were in New Mexico right now I would go to Bandelier with boots on the ground, and hike down to the waterfalls area. Perhaps someone already has.

    Cynthia, I would like to hear from you.
    Good luck in any continuing efforts.

    Demoman Doug

  11. Thank you for the report and the images, Cynthia. I am planning a search along the river, going up-river from where the raft was found. But that will be in March. Perhaps he will be found before then.

  12. Thank you for your post, Cynthia. It was like riding along with everyone. Glad everyone was safe and made it out okay. A big thank you for everyone’s dedication to finding Randy.

  13. Cynthia and team – your vehicles, photos and reports really tell the story. Such a difficult place. Thanks again for all that you’ve done and all that you’re doing.

  14. Cynthia, I am just in awe of you and all of those with you. Thanks for being who you are. f

  15. As many others have said, I wish so much I could be there to help you in the search for Randy. I’ve been following along from afar the best I can, and have been trying to piece together what his plan and actions might have been. Like the rest of you I have more questions than answers. This is so sad and tragic. Many of us have taken great risks in TTOTC, and this easily could have been me or you. I bashfully have to admit to getting lost a couple times while deer hunting, and it is a horrible feeling. It can happen easily in hilly terrain. Luckily I was able to walk my way out after many hours thanks to determination and stamina. It sure sounds like you have searched the most logical areas in the vicinity of the raft and mesa up above, so thank you all and well done. Did SAR send any kayaks down the river, from his possible launch site then further past his raft? Randy parked on Old Buckman Road, but where? Did he launch his raft at the very end of the road where it meets the Rio Grande, next to that house? (Google Earth) If so, his raft trip would have been over 9 miles. Obviously he needed to get from the raft back to his car. His car gives clue to what his route over land might have been. i am very puzzled that a life vest was not found in the vicinity of the raft. He must have had one on. Did he have one, or only rely on the wet suit? Why hike over land with a life vest? They are bulky and uncomfortable. Was he just doing a little recon with his (possible) life vest on, looking for a route up the mesa bank for he and Leo, when something tragic happened? If so, he was planning on coming right back to the raft and to Leo, and he is on that embankment somewhere. Leo can probably hike steep terrain and is sure footed, but could not hike over boulders and up ledges. the adjacent climb up the mesa seems likely, but you have already searched that area. It sounds like the drones have also searched the embankment, and likely places where Randy had an X on his map. if he made it up the mesa to the dirt road, he may have had a driver at that location to pick him up. That scenario hints at foul play, especially if the driver thought Randy might have a treasure. Otherwise Randy would have had a nine plus mile walk back to his car, which seems the likely plan. That is what I would do. The hike would have been over three hours to cover the 9 miles, depending on if he was traveling over the roads or cross country off trail with the river on his left and Montoso peak on his right. Those seem like pretty good landmarks to keep him from going in the wrong direction. If going off trail, the most likely place for him to get lost would have been the hilly area nearest Montoso Peak. If going over the dirt roads, as you stated they are very confusing, and it is very likely he took a wrong turn and got off in the wrong direction. Any chance he had a stashed mountain bike or some other means to get himself back to his car? He could have walked those roads for many hours, thinking about his errors, and then left the roads trying to correct his path. Given the time span, he could have covered quite a bit of terrain. it sounds like his sleeping bag and a sandwich awaited him in his car, so it sure seems that the car was his destination, and he was not planning on camping overnight. Also, why was his map on the dashboard and not on his person? I hope he had other maps with him, that showed greater contour interval than the one on his dashboard. He also had a tennis racket in his car, does he play tennis, or was he planning on swatting bats with it (caves)? I will keep thinking on this, and again thank you all for your great efforts. Wish I was there.

  16. Cynthia and search team, Thank you for your effort, hard work and determination to find Randy. You are all doing a wonderful job and are appreciated. Those of us to far away send our prayers and Thank You all.

  17. How awesome that all these searchers showed up. Yall have done your best. May God be with Randy and his family.

  18. Hello all.
    I’m at cochiti lake and trying to find access to the inlet to the lake so I can search the shallows with my drone. There is a gate (right before the golf course entrance) that leads to what looks like a great overlook to launch a drone from. Does anyone know someone associated with Cochiti Pueblo? I stopped at the pro shop at the golf course to ask and they said the gate/road is on tribal land. It is unlocked but I didn’t want to go in because I don’t have permission and it would probably be locked when I came out. I’ll let you know if I succeed.
    Have a great day.
    David R.

    • David,
      Looks like you are going to need a guide that knows those dirt roads in there. From GE it looks like a maze. Are you at Plaza S, on Cochiti Highway SE of golf course?

      • I’m at the lake plaza mini mart and talked with them. They stated I probably need to talk with the tribal office (closed today) or track down one of the officers driving around. By looking at the sat image I should be able to find the point no problem. Just gaining acces is the first step. Thanks

    • Hi David, I asked Linda as she said that SAR told her that they talked to them. I will find out if she has any contacts that can talk to you. If you want me to give them your phone number, feel free to email me at tyblossom at aol dot com. I’ll post if I find anything out otherwise. Good Luck and thank you.

  19. Amber, how far did you hike yesterday?
    If you’d gone all the way to the river and back, you’d have discovered the phenomena: You start out with a 7 pound dog. All is well. You return with an 80 pound dog.

    • HA, I’m not sure of what you’re actually saying but this made me laugh all the same. We did about 2.5 miles and when we started June was in her 1st trimester and when we returned I was in labor. Junebug is going on a diet after that hike.

  20. Has anyone made it to the boat on foot yet? In my opinion, that’s when and where the search actually begins. The alternative is to be dropped off there by helicopter and attempt to retrace Randy’s steps.

    • I agree Sefic,
      Without a first hand look and thoughtful observance of the area an important clue could be missed. A lot of time has passed, which means most soft clues; ( foot prints will be washed away or buried by snow. )
      Observations: We know
      Randy parked his car off of Buckman rd near the Rio Grande. ( Items left in the car seem to indicate he was planning for a few hours in his search. )
      He took a raft down stream and ” Put in ” adjacent to frijole canyon.
      He left his raft and dog at that location. ( He planned to return to it later. )
      Leo and the raft were found on the east bank of the river. Did he cross the river on foot to enter frijole canyon? Looking at photos provided by the dedicated searchers, I would consider this as a good possibility.
      Could the map in Randy’s car have been a map of where he had been? If so was he carrying another map for another area he intended to search?
      Which would lend to the thought he was familiar with the area. ( The map in the car seems to indicate a systemic approach to his search. )
      A really important question in my mind is did he have military experience???
      Someone had mention Randy’s car showing scratches, possibly indicating he had driven through the search area at an earlier time?
      When did Randy buy the raft?

    • State SAR did check the raft area. Do you think they would have called off their search without doing that?

  21. I am utterly amazed at the outpouring of support that all of the “amateur” searchers have provided to help find Randy. Seeing what you are going through just to get to the area is astonishing. I think your bravery and compassion is an inspiration to everyone, especially Randy’s family. I also want to point out that while we are all waiting to hear the latest everyone should try to remain positive. This must be very difficult for those closest to Randy even without the wild theories and horrible lies that I have seen associated with this unfortunate situation. Please stay to the facts and have some compassion if you want to be part of a helpful discussion. I like so many wish I could do more but think we should be careful not to spread misinformation or speculate about some nefarious plot to get Randy. The authorities can and should look into all of the details, we who are not detectives should not. The reality is that Randy could not be talked out of doing something that was foolish to say the least. He was happy and obviously thought he was very close to solving the chase. We are all human and mistakes happen to all of us. I can’t imagine doing what Randy apparently did but I can’t stop imagining myself in his waders either. I think that is why this has affected so many searchers the way it has, we can all understand the dangers that we might encounter when we venture into the great outdoors. Let’s all take time to be more prepared out there. Thank you everyone for letting your heart shine through during a tough time keep the same compassion and good will going in your everyday life and Randy will have left a positive impact on each of us. I feel grateful to part of a community like this.

  22. Growing up on a 17,000+ acre cattle ranch we preferred Blue Healers/Australian Cattle as working dogs. I had never seen the charms of a small dog until I moved to the city when I understood how people keep dogs as surrogate children.

    Randy has both Leo and kids which is quite a full life if you ask me.

    • Horses and Cattle and dogs were just a way we made a living. They were like tools. We never brought a dog in the house. When I married my wife she had 2 little dogs and I could never understand why they were in the house for the longest time. We raised 5 kids and lots of dogs, when I was 45 and my youngest was 12 for his birthday I got a good bird dog puppy from a friend of mine. I thought it would help my son to be responsible but feeding and watering a dog I guess was asking too much so I assumed the responsibility over time. Aurora bonded to me because of the time I spent with her, we went everywhere together. I never new the love of a good dog would change me so much but I am thankful that I now understand why we bring them in the house.

      • Dogs in ancient history and the Royalty/Goddess connection

        (from the Conclusion of the article)
        In ancient India, Mesopotamia, China, Mesoamerica and Egypt, the people had deep ties with their dogs and, as seen, this was also common in ancient Greece and Rome. Ancient Greeks thought of dogs as geniuses, as `possessing a certain elevated spirit’.

  23. I’d also check out the waterfalls area just be sure. And if anyone can get a boat and retrace the route we all think he took, that might help. And maybe take the water down past where we all think he stashed the boat. A water search might be a good idea.

    • I would strongly urge that no amateur searchers follow this advice and attempt any water excursions. The low water height and flow rates do not make this safe – just increases the risk of boat damage. In addition, there are no easy take out points with Cochiti Lake frozen. The New Mexico State Police Search and Recovery Dive Team has already searched the river from Beckman to the ice just above Cochiti Lake, and it took them two attempts.

      • I agree with you PM. Everyone should stay out of the water. This time of year, it could be a fatal idea.

  24. Thank all of you searchers!! God bless you all. I know it is tough and cold, you are all a God send. Randy’s family and all know you are caring and dedicated in finding him and all is being done by the Thrill of the Chaser’s as can be. Wish I was there to do something. Keep us all in the loop an post more stories photos and findings here and we will analyze and contemplate from our pc’s!! Keep up the good fight fellow searchers, God Speed and Bring Randy home. You all are so appreciated. Forrest Thanks for feeding them and coordinating with them daily you are so special all the volunteers are, God Bless you all along with Randy’s family and friends and circle. As said before bring Randy home and keep the faith…….. Ms. Girl….

  25. The following is probably of no help. Randy apparently took photos of the area in December that Stephanie posted on her site and also links were provide here. I used google earth map and simulated ground view to try to find where these photos were taken. In my estimation they were taken looking NW toward mouth of Frijoles Canyon. One can identify features on the alluvial fan at mouth of canyon in google earth that match with Randy’s photos. 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, that appears to possibly be north of where the searchers looked. 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 of mesa before to take his photos). 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 again. Maybe this has been discussed, but I can’t get it out of my mind that these photos were taken from roughly the posted coordinates above, and that maybe in safe conditions this can be searched if it has not already been searched.

    I posted the above opinion on an earlier thread, which had links to Randy’s photos. Sorry to provide this armchair advice. I’m on the east coast in a blizzard and would love to help if I was out there. Thanks to all of the selfless efforts of so many in the search for Randy.

  26. Apologies for posting this again, which I posted earlier on a different thread. Many areas do not have cell coverage and for anyone planning to ever search alone, please read the following. I’ll shut up after this.

    I often go into areas that have no cell coverage. When alone I carry a SPOT Gen3 satellite tracker. I check in upon arrival, at lunch, and when I get back to vehicle. If I am staying overnight, it sends coordinates of my camp spot. If I’m in a difficult area I might send more check-in messages. The ‘check in’ sends an email to my wife, and a few others with my GPS coordinates, and a message to the effect of ‘I’m OK and my trip is on track’.
    There is a help button that lets your friends know that you are in trouble but in a non life threatening situation (maybe delayed with need to bivouac, but with adequate supplies for survival). Then there is the ‘red button’ (SOS button) that when pushed notifies search and rescue that you need to be rescued and it will send your GPS coordinates.

    I go in prepared to survive overnight (even when on a half-day trip) because rescue will not be immediate and can take up to 24 hours. The main thing this provides is peace of mind for family, friends, and self. It provides a back-up plan and forces me to be disciplined when I am alone, with knowledge that others know where I am in case things go wrong. The SPOT Gen3 costs about $150. The basic service plan costs $14.99 per month. In the service plan you set your email contacts up ahead of time. In addition I add local SR contacts for whatever area I’m going into.

    In my opinion winter is not the time to search. I have searched in winter, but I do not do that anymore. Finally, it is always good to remember that Fenn said that we should not go anywhere that a 79/80 year old would not go.

    Good luck to all searching for Randy and thanks for all that you are doing and have done.

    • I think everyone’s advice and ideas are great. SAR said they were out of clues or ideas so to me the more the better and who knows what Randy was doing out there best, but those who know the quest he after.

      I think NEED that’s a great idea and it made me think….most have trouble spending $150 and $15 a month on something they don’t need “yet”…would be great if someone rented them West. My first reaction was for National Forest offices to, but then I remembered that most of them are closed on most of the weekend. Isn’t that odd? The prime time that people would be out in the forest is the time they are closed the most? I only know, because I have wanted to buy maps on a Sunday many times.

      • Emergency beacons are great, but equally important is letting someone know where you are going, how long you intend to be out, and what to do if you don’t report back on time. In this instance, SAR notification was 10 days after the start of what should have been a day trip. Little chance of a good outcome after that length of time with winter weather and sub-zero overnight temperatures.

        And, in the context of this incident, I would also add careful planning, contingency planning, and paying attention when told that a particular excursion is unwise or unsafe.

  27. Hello Search Community,
    Our family has participated in the search for a few years now. We know our family and many others on this site are incredibly grateful to all those involved in searching for Randy. TTOTC has taught us to reach and live our lives exploring like children at heart.
    Our sense of adventure has been rekindled. These include several family odysseys across this GREAT NATION. To see everyone unite and search for a fellow chase participant is yet another fine example of the fruit that TTOTC instills within us.
    This is about so much more than the elusive chest. As my mind shifts towards the value of living and life itself, I just want to say a profound thanks to you, Mr. Forrest Fenn.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone especially Randy and his family,
    ~Hope Eternal

  28. Unfortunately, I have to believe the river took him. He was probably trying to cross in waders with Leo in hand when water to his waist quickly became water in them after sinking and sticking in mud planting him like a pile in the river. He likely saved Leo’s life by throwing him to safety which caused the injuries to him. If his waders were fully breached below the belt he would essentially become an anchor stuck in mud with only minutes to live. After a period of time the the weight of his body and slow current of the river would have broke him free and transported down stream. He likely saved Leo’s life and sealed his own fate by throwing him to safety instead of fighting to free himself….sometimes man is dogs best friend as well.

    • “Unfortunately, I have to believe the river took him. He was probably trying to cross in waders with Leo in hand when water to his waist quickly became water in them after sinking and sticking in mud planting him like a pile in the river”

      That does seem likely, but there are still options. Randy might have waded across the river to check out Fijoles, even though the falls are too crowded with tourists to be a good spot to hide the treasure. Randy might also have started up-river back to his car, and that seems just as likely.

      I am interested in the Ranger who said he might have heard a whistle. I wonder where the Ranger thinks he may have hear it.

      • No Forrest said the river is shallow. I would have thought that too till Forrest told us his observation.

        The whistle was thought to be Randy leaving on the raft and testing it out while going down the Rio per SF PD because of the timeline. They don’t believe he was at his destination as it would be too far, and they figured he would have been close to where the whistle/noise was at the time she heard it.

        • “The whistle was thought to be Randy leaving on the raft and testing it out while going down the Rio per SF PD because of the timeline.”

          Does that mean the Ranger thought she or he might have heard a whistle near Randy’s car?

          • Hello Desertphile. I believe I read her story on NMSAR’s Facebook page. I would answer, but I feel I may give out the wrong information.

          • “Hello Desertphile. I believe I read her story on NMSAR’s Facebook page. I would answer, but I feel I may give out the wrong information.”

            Thank you; I will look on Facebook when I have the time. Of course the whistle, if it was not imagined, is only important if it might have been Randy and if it was near Fijoles, not the car.

  29. I had another idea. Maybe we could take Leo’s sweater and let a search dog smell it and see if it could fins a trail.

  30. That is the most rugged road i have ever that the road where randys car was at.has anyone searched within area of miles from bottom of canyon to areas of middle to top area of ranys car.maybe he climbed so far and couldn’t climb any farther,was too tired and wanted to go down to get leo the next day.but couldn’t make it back for reasons we don’t know. If he pulled that raft out of that water and neatly laid the paddles there.he wasn’t going to be long.i say hes got to between that area on that side of raft within a few miles.i believe if he wanted to go on the other side of river ,he would of took the raft and leo over on that side.and not try to walk across.we got to be missing something here.we need sunshine to melt things ,so a better search can be done again.i sure pray he is found proud of all the people who are food ,time anything ,your helping someway or the this is not your fault in made your points clear and people will do whatever they want.they have a mind of their own.

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