Report From Forrest on Monday…

January 25th, 2016

by Forrest


We searched for 2 ½ hours today and again I am not happy with the results. John Pearson was with me. We circled the boat where Leo was found, flying at 100’ for 30 minutes looking at the banks a thousand feet around. I think I can say that Randy is not there. Lots of trees, brush, and large rocks. We went up Frijoles Canyon all the way to civilization and back. Cochiti Lake has very thin ice. I am not as optimistic as I was a few days ago, but I just don’t feel like we should stop looking. The weather is good with almost no wind. I’m thinking about trying again tomorrow.


Below are a few pics from Cynthia as Forrest and John prepared for their search.


Forrest and John at the airport previewing their search area prior to departure



Thanks Cynthia


215 thoughts on “Report From Forrest on Monday…

    • I agree whole heartedly. Thank you Forrest, for all you have done, and thanks to all the searchers, pilots, photographers, drone operators and everyone who can’t be there but have tried to contribute through analyzing data, pictures, and Randy’s maps. Still hoping Randy will be found, but it may not be until spring.

    • Hello from JeffBurch I traveled the banks and snapped photos from Randy’s car down river about four miles of walking down and three hours back Forrest flew over us at two ten I waved from the bank the us is a local named Robert guided me how awesom I will post picks via dal when I get toWfi any plans for tomorrow please I want to go to the raft sight he made it that far

  1. Forrest, you are an example of “American Perseverance”!
    Your spirit and dedication is what made this country great, that fueled the need to explore, that wouldn’t let our freedom be denied!
    Yes, I believe you WERE born 100 years to late! The same spirit that pushed our forefathers to create a great country, lives in you.
    I applaud your dedication and heart, and thank you.

  2. Mr Fenn, thank you for all that you have done to find Randy. To all the Searchers and Mr Fenn who have devoted your time, money and sleepless nights…thank you everyone!

  3. Forrest, you went way beyond what would be expected. I don’t think covering that area will produce Randy. After reading Linda’s note posted on her blog along with a photo, it appears Randy was focusing on a waterfall in Frijoles. Several searchers tried to search this area, but they can’t fly in their air space nor use drones. Given this NEW INFORMATION (discovery), I believe NMSAR should revisit this area to look for Randy. Keyword here is NEW INFORMATION. In addition, if there are resources willing to search this area, why would NPS decline? Couldn’t they manage the search like leading a tour? After all, we (the public) are the people who visit the area and pay the fees.

  4. Dal, has anyone looked at the lake closely to see if anything is in the water or under the ice? Any trees in the river that might catch things floating down river?

    • Frank-
      A few have visited that area but the ice makes it very hard to evaluate. If he fell through, the ice could very well have refrozen by now and show no trace of a hole. The river itself is very low now which means that the chances of him being dragged anywhere by current is unlikely from the spot the raft was found.

      If he is under the ice he will remain there til spring. There are a number of methods that could be employed to locate him in the lake once the ice melts if that turns out to be the next logical place to search.

      I suspect that the team needs to take a day and evaluate what has been searched, by which method and then determine how best to expand or re-search the area…

      In my opinion, Randy is gone. To live without warmth and shelter, food and water in these conditions for 20 days is unbelievably unlikely. Everyone wants to find him..alive or otherwise. But I think reality must take hold and we must admit that we cannot possibly be looking for a survivor.

      I understand the desire to locate him before the next snowfall because snow would most likely blanket everything and make it much more dangerous to search as well as difficult to see anything. But I am a dogged realist and in my opinion we should stop, review, and then create a new plan based on recovery rather than rescue.

      • @dal, “I understand the desire to locate him before the next snowfall because snow would most likely blanket everything and make it much more dangerous to search as well as difficult to see anything. But I am a dogged realist and in my opinion we should stop, review, create a plan based on recovery rather than rescue.”

        Yeah; it will have to wait, darn it.

      • If you guys could pry the evidence out of the local law , we could evaluate it as a group and maybe come up with a search plan. the dogs didn’t alert on the raft or sand bar… maybe start at square one, where the car was left. Try working from there.

      • Dal, thank you for being realistic. I also do not see how a person could survive this long under the conditions in winter. It is great all that people have done to search for him. The teamwork in search and rescue appears to be stronger than the teamwork in searching for a bronze box that teases hope of fame and fortune. Sad, it is difficult to find someone who acted purposefully in not being seen while searching for treasure. A good time/day outdoors and in nature perhaps should be enjoyed with others. IMO. I feel for his family and think that time outdoors would have been better spent and appreciated with them together than individually seeking riches. I know many will hate my comment but I believe that people should out rank possessions. A life sacrificed for a box instead of a life spent with loved ones. I wish I had family to spend time with. Yes, I would like this treasure hunt ended with a different approach to learning and enjoying Mother Nature. IMO Everyone in this hunt is worth much more than $1M as individuals. I do not know how anyone can ‘enjoy’ a find after one TTOTC family member is lost. All in IMO. God bless everyone.

        • Randy would not want the chase ended because of his mistake / accident. We should respect his decisions and toast his bravery.

        • crowfeast you said, I know many will hate my comment but I believe that people should out rank possessions. A life sacrificed for a box instead of a life spent with loved ones.
          It’s my understanding that Randy’s children are grown,with children of there own and he did visit with them Christmas. He also stayed with his parents until his dad passed and his mother went to live with his sister.
          I think most people would agree that people out rank loved ones and I am sure Randy felt the same, and dearly love’s his family. However Randy is a 53 year old man with no responsibility to small children or a wife.If he has passed then I believe he was doing what he truly loved to do,which IMO is the best way to go.It’s how I would want to go, not stuck in a hospital bed someplace.

          We all pass. My Husband passed from cancer eight years ago , at 56 years old.He was diagnosed almost one year to the day before passing.His passion was fishing and hunting. His brother’s and some buddy’s had and still have a week long trip every year to a camp on the river. He made that trip,that last year as sick as he was and passed three day’s after returning home. He could have just as easily passed while at that camp. Being out there, also may have expedited his passing ,but there’s no way to know that.
          I did not have that last week with him. I did not want him to go but I sucked it up and kept my mouth shut , there’s no way in hell I would have made him stay home with me that week. He was doing what he loved to do,even though at that time he and I both knew it would not be long. To this day I do not begrudge him making that trip, because it’s what he wanted to do. If I had asked him to stay home with me ,I have no doubt he would have, but then I would have had to live with how selfish I had been for the rest of my life.

          So,please don’t judge Randy. If he has indeed passed ,according to what I have read from his family’s posts he was doing exactly what he loved to do, and that’s the best anyone could ever hope for. His children and grandchildren will carry with them forever, that Dad passed doing what he loved .

        • I would agree with the part that the chest is not worth risking your life over, with that being said we can not micro manage a persons life and tell them that they cannot search because it might be what you consider dangerous. I am about the same age as Randy and I am going to search till my heart is content, my family requests that I be careful when I go and I respect that request. I look at my life as if God had a plan for my birth then he has a plan for my death. I do not take chances but I also do not worry about my demise and if an accident occurs while I’m out doing something that is important to me then that is Gods will in my eyes and I can except that. Is that selfish? In some ways it is but we all have our lives to live and only you can decide what truly makes you happy. If your family loves you they will understand.

          • Something that you are passionate about should go a long ways. If Randy even existed, then I admire him, because he pursued his dream, and went through extreme measures to do so. You are putting a value on the chest, Randy was putting a value on life. And lifes value should be explored beyond your limits. That is what people do, that is passion. It doesnt matter if it is a toothpick or a relic of Jesus. The point is, he found something that he loved and he went the distance. He just taught every single person that followed his story a lesson. He taught thousands of people a lesson. How many people have you taught a lesson to?

          • We have to ask andtake precaution I had a stroke in april tenth so as a healthy 52 year old man who would never guess I would loose my brain we take so much forgranet the words are hard to type this quest helped keep me alive now living in the NW with my kids I wish you allloveand oodluck but ask your doctors what you ccan do to avoid this fate nd others be safe and love and gTITan is fine and Rennasavedmy life take care every one and thank you Dal and Forrest fenn For making me thinkand helping me survive I KNOW I’m nothing in the big picture but I DO CAREPLEAill survive with gretSE BE SAFE FIRST aaaai wii aurvive with great diffulty butLIFE IS WORTH LIVING

          • Jeff – I’m very sorry to learn of your stroke. I hope your recovery continues and I’m glad to know you’re with family. Take Care.

          • Jeff I wish you all the best and I send warm hugs to you and titan. Stay strong, you are in my prayers!!! 🙂

          • Hang in there Jeff…You are amazing..and one hell of a good guy..
            Please make it your goal to attend fennboree next year…

        • Crowfeast, it is not a life sacrificed for a box. Randy is the personification of what made this country great. He dared to have a dream and pursue it, instead of being a lump of wasted humanity sitting behind a screen doing what he is told.

          He should be celebrated not condemned. He refused to be just another lemming in the feedlot the government wants to put us in. Folks like you told the pioneers that threw all their belongings in a wagon and headed west that wasn’t a smart thing to do. Folks like you told the men that dared strap themselves atop a Saturn V pointed at the Moon that’s not a smart thing to do.

          I do not morn for Randy, he was living life to its fullest. I pity people like you living in your safe little cubical that have no idea what it’s like to be alive.

          • @Goofy , “I do not morn for Randy, he was living life to its fullest. I pity people like you living in your safe little cubical that have no idea what it’s like to be alive.”

            You are not amusing. I morn Randy for the sake of his family and friends; I morn because his eagerness surpassed his caution; I morn Randy because it could be me out there, or one of the hunters of the treasure that I have met and are fond of; I morn for Randy because her probably thought his best friend, Leo, would never survive and Randy will never know Leo did survive. Randy was not “living life to the fullest;” Randy died {probably} stupidly, after ignoring advice from his friends and his family.

          • Still doesn’t change the fact that someone went missing for something that may not even exist.

          • Hello Steve. I’m a bit stumped. Could you help me to understand why one who believes there’s a chance it doesn’t exist, why one use their time to make comments about it? Would that be a waste of time? Why search when one feels it may not be there?

          • To who ever. The chase is cool. But a missing person is more important to me.what about you? I just didn’t like how goofy jumped on the guy for his opinion. Take my comment how ever you want to.

          • Hello Steve. Your comment:

            ‘Still doesn’t change the fact that someone went missing for something that may not even exist.’

            Finding Randy has been our utmost thoughts since it was announced he went missing. Many here have gone physically and many have used their thoughts to find where he is. We are here for Randy and his family and to give support however possible. Randy has not chased or ‘went missing for something that may not even exist.’

          • @ Goofy; “wasted humanity sitting behind a screen” I am offended by that remark because I have been there far too long. Just for that, I am going to help find Randy and then go find a treasure.

            Mourning is for the family. He was doing what he loved and that should be celebrated.

          • Wasn’t it King Arthur who posed the following question?”

            “Can passion be….selected?”

            I am always grateful for what I define as.. passion.

          • I would just add the same observation on this sad event that I have made many times elsewhere after SAR missions:

            While I agree that we must respect the spirit of adventure and should never take such a protective attitude as to criticize any and all risk taking, it is important to realize that ones actions are not always without consequences to others. And not just to family and friends who mourn their loss, but also the risks to which such actions expose searchers of all kinds, and the costs to the taxpayer.

            To me that means that, as individuals, we do have a responsibility beyond ourselves, implying a duty at least to exercise reasonable care, and to heed warnings about unreasonably dangerous activities.

            In terms of the motivation of the blog searchers, it is clear that the overriding concern has been simply to help to find Randy. I admire the level of effort that was achieved and I can say for certain that the search efforts have not offended NMSAR, even though it does lead to concerns about spawning further missions if searchers were to get into trouble. I also notice that very few comments here have been critical of NMSAR, and those few that have were clearly caused by misunderstandings regarding the detail and extent of the search and a lack of knowledge of search theory and procedure.

        • Pdenver, I believe you are misinformed when the blog group started searching. This group did not go all out until State SAR called off their search. I assume either in an attempt to make SAR look bad or gain publicity (for the missing person or Fenn’s upcoming book – I will let you all decide for yourself).

          • “I assume either in an attempt to make SAR look bad or gain publicity….”
            Whoa, Nelly. I think it’s pretty darn obvious that “the blog group” has been searching for no other reason than to find Randy once earlier efforts had ceased.

            Your screen name might need a change after that comment.

          • Hello VoiceofReason. The searchers went out to find Randy in an attempt to make SAR and other officials look bad or gain publicity? Gosh, I didn’t think of that. I thought SAR, officials and searchers went looking for Randy when a missing person report was filed and when SAR and officials felt they had to discontinue their search, the searchers chose to continue. What would you do if your family member went missing and SAR and officials gave you notice they couldn’t continue, but the searchers offered their assistance, would you accept?

            A book? Are you psychic?

          • pdenver,

            “What would you do if your family member went missing and SAR and officials gave you notice they couldn’t continue, but the searchers offered their assistance, would you accept?”

            SAR & officials & others involved called off the search due to no more leads when the clues dried up except for inaccessible areas until spring. They had dog teams & covered vast amounts of areas. Dogs that are trained to smell human scents from miles around as long as the weather & conditions are permitting.

            I would trust what they have done & realized there could be nothing more accomplished at this time. They are professionals & know the area allot better than we do. They also know that from the time when Randy was missing is too long for a rescue. The only reason Forrest is searching is probably because he feels somewhat responsible even though we all make our own decisions in the end no matter how stupid they may be.

            I would not accept the offer for anyone in my family because logic overrides someone else getting hurt or killed & then how would you feel about that?
            So not only did you lose a family member but also someone who was looking for him……

          • Hello Jake. Do you feel the searchers are out to make SAR or officials look bad or to get publicity? Or do you feel they’re honestly out there to find Randy, whether rescue or recovery?

          • pdenver,
            You say “the searchers” does that mean all searchers, a few searchers, a small percentage of searchers? There are searchers on the ground, behind there computer screens, professional, amateur etc…. You must clarify yourself & I will answer you.

            All searchers are a microcosm of the earths population. So I would have to say a very small percentage of them have ulterior motives.

          • VOR, searchers did not immediately put BOG because of SARs investigation. We could only search what was available to us. When SAR completed their search, that’s when blog searchers took BOG action. Please be supportive in the search for Randy. We are in loss of a family (blog) member.

          • Hello Jake. Please begin at crowfeast at 2:04 am and continue the discussions to Rose’s current comment at 3:43 pm. I hope this may help to know of which I speak.

          • Thank you Jake F. I share your sentiment. Everyone else seems to be sharing ideas that are not grounded in facts, rather leaps of logic. Why then am I not allowed to share a few on why people continue to search beyond the hope of a rescue. I have seen countless posts that question SAR and suspect they haven’t done obvious things that have already been done. When people are encouraging other volunteers to put their life’s on the line, I can question their motives. Stay out of the water. Stay dry, stay alive. Continue the search when it is safe.

      • First a Thanks goes to Forest, John Cynthia, Dal, Jeff and Robert and everyone else involved whether we were there or at home on mobiles or computers. God Bless EVERYONE for their compassion and humanity that shines brighter than the sun. We have done all that is humanly possible to this point but I said the samething Dal said a couple days ago. This has to now become a RECOVERY before something happpens to one of the searchers. I believe Randy’s family has seen what everyone will do when the need is there and that Randy’s family understands that at somepoint REALITY must step forward and take lead. The reality here is just like Dal and I have finally admitted Randy nor anyone else can survive 20 days without resources. I think it’s time to stop looking until Spring thaw and the try to do a recovery then and if they can find Randy in spring then we should all donate monetarily to Randy’s donation fund so that we can do a final act to get Randy back home to his family. That will give everyone final closer to this horrible incident. I am sorry and if it will make you feel better you can be mad at me.

  5. It seems Randy has been unpredictable from the beginning of his journey, and now it seems he still is. Everyone has done a amazing job of trying to figure this mystery out and I know our answers are falling short, but the area is big and no telling where his footsteps took him. To all who keep searching the best of luck to you and hopefully you can help bring Randy home. Bur

  6. Mr Fenn, there are no words to truly express what Randy’s family and the majority of us guys on the blog could ever say in words on “THANKS”. We can only try. Your efforts go above what would ever be expected.

    With my heart feeling heavy for the situation.

    James (TZP)

  7. Thanks Forrest, John, and Doug. Appreciate the update. Wished for more. I won’t give up hope and praying until you do. May God bless you 3 in your endeavour and keep y’all safe.

  8. PM on January 24, 2016 at 10:12 am said:

    A significant concern is where Leo was found, because dogs, generally, stay guarding their owners no matter what happens. That suggests that he went somewhere that his dog could not follow, and the strongest candidate for that is the river. Subjects lost in the river on that stretch of the Rio Grande in the past have ended up downstream in Cochiti Lake – unfortunately currently unsearchable due to ice.

    If the ice is thin & the weather is permitting & assuming neoprene waders are buoyant you may want to look there in the copter of course.

  9. I second that, Forrest Fenn, you are a hero as well! Right along with all that have given their time! You had a close encounter in time and they never gave up on you and I know in my heart you want him found. God bless you and all other searchers in this quest.
    Being a searcher several times, traveling to an unfamiliar area over a thousand miles from Southern Ohio, know it can be dangerous not knowing enough about the area. So anxious to check an area, that it’s like a horse with blinders.
    I wish I could meet you and shake your hand.
    I would also like to help you personally.
    Do not let this get you down!
    You have given many, hopes and dreams they would never have had including me!
    Randy was doing what he loved and managed to do in hopes of the cache.
    He was doing what you have done all those years and loved it. What better way to go, just as you had planned?
    If this is perhaps the circumstance, I hope he got to see your paradise.


  10. Forest me being one of the people that have been helping with the search for randy i can truly say with all that you and the rest of the searchers are doing i can say i would want you and the rest to be looking for me than the state police or SAR. Forrest you at your age going out there in the chopper and paying for it and also bring us all together to help is worth more than any thing. We cant and wont give up.

    • I gave an interview to the Associated Press this afternoon after I got home. They are read around the world. Look for something tomorrow. Inside Edition wants to tag along with a cameraman in the chopper tomorrow. The producer will talk with Sacha and Cynthia when we land.

      The more PR we get the more people want in the act. An hour ago I received a phone call from Texas. Three “Mountain Men” are on the way to the river where they will pitch a tent and search “until we find the guy.” I told them to bring matches and some Lone Star beer insulation.

      Today John and I saw a pickup heading for the rim above where the boat was found. Looked like they may have had rubber boats in the back. Thanks to all of you are helping with the search for Randy.

      • Thank you for taking in all these thoughts about where, and putting them into action. You are so appreciated. Seeing your somber expression was very telling in the photos….your tank is over flowing with empathy. I wish we knew….

          • It’s set up to point to that now, but new domains take up to 24 hours to propagate around the web. If you’re not getting that page yet give it a bit and it should kick in.

          • Hi, having just read Linda’s link, the information at the bottom of page about Randy telling his previous room mate Patrick that he thought the treasure is behind a waterfall; I believe to be hugely relevant. This remark is straight from the person who heard it, Randy said it.

            Hoping like blazes for the best and in total awe and admiration of you all. Sending hugs to Randy’s family and to all you remarkable people here and elsewhere in the search for Randy. Hugs from Oz.

      • Forrest yeasterday when i was out there after i took the pictures of the dog and foot prints i sent to CYNTHIA i ran into a guy and his wife that is up in that area alot riding there atv or cutting wood said they would an eye out for Randy and it also sounded like they no a way how to get down there that is some what ezer. I sounded like the gut and his son would might go down there some place to look around for him sents they no alot about the area he was goinf to give me a phone # to help on info on the area bur we both forgot to do that. But the truck could have been him trying to help. They didnt know Randy along with not looking for the chest just good people looking to help. Even this is not a good thing with randy missing but it brings the good people out to help when theres so much bad going on in the hole world and your hunt has brought alot of good people together that normaly wouldnt have met.

      • Your dogged determination reminded me of a line from “The Kid” in Young Guns…. You remember the stories John Tunstall use to tell us about the the three chinamen playing Fantan? This guy runs up to them and says, “Hey, the world’s coming to an end!” and the first one says, “Well, I best go to the mission and pray,” and the second one says, “Well, hell, I’m gonna go and buy me a case of Mezcal and six whores,” and the third one says “Well, I’m gonna finish the game.” We all know you will see it to the end.

      • Forrest, Cynthia,Sacha Dal,Goofy and all the people involved in the search, Thank You so much for all you are doing to find Randy. And to all the fellow Chase family who are at home sending prayers and ideas,we will all get through this together as an even stronger Family than before.
        I am sooo glad to hear the Texas Mountain men are coming and are bringing boats and plan on camping. Lets get er done!
        Godspeed to all.

      • Forrest, Inside Edition often gives an opinion after a segment. I hope they are truly interested in Randy’s plight and wont introduce negative sensationalism toward you or the Chase. If I were you, I would allow the AP and deny I.E…tabloid t.v.
        Just my opinion.

      • Forrest, I hope you are not encouraging people to take boats in the river. There is a reason why professional rafters do not take people down the river this time of year – liability.
        What kind of training do these “Mountain Men” have?

    • Do you understand that our local SAR is highly trained VOLUNTEERS! They have responded to hundreds of missions over the years and have had a good success rate when called out early enough. I would rather have them looking for me.

  11. Randy is lucky to have such a dedicated Chase family lead by Forrest looking for him. You never really know until you close your eyes at night and slow your breathing how much dreams can mean to you.

  12. Dal, I agree with you. It’s hard to imagine how a person could survive the cold elements more than a few days. Sadly, I think recovery is all that’s left now.

  13. If someone has a good tracking dog, it cccured to me that it could track LEO in the area of the boat. Excuse me I think the hair just stood up on the back of my neck. A tracking dog may not be able to trach Randy after this much time but leo’s sent will last for sometime.

    • Chad, I agree Leo has a lot to tell us, I had this same thought, “go find Leo” and posted it on the last thread about 8:30am. If his trail doesn’t venture very far from the boat but is found all up and down the river, that’s one story, if his trail leads out into the wilderness that’s another. Leo was with Randy, go find where Leo was. Good tracker with a cold nose needed. Again go find Leo.

  14. I want to commend everyone for the stellar job they have been doing. It makes me proud to be a part of the community.

    I have to say… Leo, the raft, Randy missing. It’s a real mystery.

    • Also (to echo Forrest’s words)… “but I just don’t feel like we should stop looking”. We’re willing to look at any and all high resolution photos, for anything at all, even if it’s a long shot. If those with boots on the ground would like to pool their high resolution photos/videos and put them out there, we’ve got the time.

  15. Forrest you demonstrate what ” No man left behind ” means.
    Now I can see why you are blessed, your selfless contrabutions
    to this man hunt speaks volums.

    Thank you

  16. I looked at the Bandelier map and noticed that the Lower and Upper Frijoles Falls are marked with three dash links stacked. Similar to Randy’s map with a circle around the three lines–initially thought to be a circle around an E. Open the Bandelier park map on the lower left-hand side of the page and look for Frijoles Falls and you will see the three stacked lines. You will need to zoom in.

  17. All,

    Begining to think we need to have a some sort of way to communicate to fellow searchers if one of us finds our selves in a similar position. I would suggest maybe an envelope in our vehicles marked in a way that we fellow searchers would recognize. This envelope could possible contain our solve and/or search area.

    Forrest and volunteers thanks again for all that you have done and continue too do. Its reassuring to know that you would be out there for anyone of us if we unfortunaetly found our selves in Randy’s position.


  18. Thank you Forrest and all those helping find Randy. It’s incredible to see such an effort! I wish I had something to offer besides a donation and prayers. I hope he is found soon!

  19. Does anyone have access to or know anyone with access to a hovercraft? The river and lake access would be phenomenal, even across the ice and much safer.

  20. I just got home after a long day…in SF talking to Forrest and John after their search and later talking with Sacha and Eric and his wife about our next moves. I got a report from Roger late in the afternoon after his day of exploring the Montoso Peak area that we as a group with the drones had done last Friday. Roger made it 2/3rds of the way down to the river today following John’s and my path (you know, the picture of John and me with the blue thing) and found nothing.

    I don’t want anyone to think we local searchers have given up because we haven’t. But we do need a day or so to regroup. I believe the next good-weather day will be Wednesday. But I don’t know if we can have a plan in place by then. Tonight, Sacha, Eric, and I discussed making a map of all the places that have been searched with color codes of the specific person or SAR who made the search, along with facts and assumptions of Randy’s voyage.

    My original idea for Wednesday was to get to the west side of the Rio Grande, through Bandelier, set up my tripod, and use my zoom lens to photograph as much of the east side of the canyon as possible. I could then post the pictures online and you all could download them, zoom, and search every bush, rock, and tree. I’m not sure this is feasible because I’m not sure how accessible it is to get to the rim. I have not given up on this idea, though.

    Some of us have talked about camping overnight in the Montoso Peak area and doing more of a grid search between Montoso Peak and the river. This will take a group effort and a lot of pre-organizing, so earliest this will happen would be the weekend. Everything is weather dependent.

    Tomorrow Forrest is going up in a chopper again weather permitting.

    We all will give it our best…we are not giving up.


    • A good plan is the best plan, seems I heard that from a wise gent somewhere. All of you are doing an awesome job!

      If I can make one suggestion, It would be that perhaps someone with a good quality spotting scope could gain a high point in the area and using binoculars and the spotting scope cover a lot of territory looking for anything out of the ordinary.

    • Thanks for the update Cynthia. You all are the best! It does sound like there is an awful lot of information that needs to be compiled so searches are not duplicated and areas not searched could be singled out. Good Luck to you all for your superhuman efforts in the search for Randy.

    • Cynthia, I’m not sure if you know about this already, but if not, there is an online program called SARTopo. It’s a free mapping and planning solution for SAR. Just thought I’d mention it since you said you were thinking of creating a map. Hope this helps.
      Thanks for the updates/photos.

    • Hi Cynthia
      If you guys could get those shots I and others will definitely go over them with a fine tooth comb. I’m trying to work things out here in south chicago so yhat I can get a couple of weeks there now.
      Thank you for your continued efforts. Says so much about you as a person.

  21. Thank you for the update Forrest. Quite discouraging that nothing was spotted today. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully a better one.
    God Bless all Randy searchers…OXOX

  22. Forrest, thank you for your continued effort to locate Randy, everyone’s outreach to his family, and today’s report.

    Sadly, the reports echo through the canyon walls like the report of a rifle. Everyone hears the shot fired; yet no one but the rifleman knows where he is.

  23. I started thinking about the raft. Someone said it was torn. If that is so, it is possible he hit some ice, maybe even dumped the raft. So it’s possible he was in the water trying to recover his items and was pulled under the ice. All assumptions here. Another possibility he was climbing a cliff and it was icy and he fell into the water. Ice on a river is very dynamic. It can dam up the river then a big flood when the ice dam breaks.

    I have a hovercraft here in Montana. I have done damage to it on the ice. Gotta go really slow and it is risky. Many times the vibration ends up breaking the ice. If the water level in the lake has dropped then it is like falling in a hole and the ice is like a cutting blade. Really caution anyone attempting that.

  24. Thank you Mr. Fenn for the the update. I do hope Randy is found for closure for all. What is remarkable is the family the treasure hunters have become. We may disagree on where the treasure is and what the poem means, however we are united when when of of fellow searchers is lost. Everyone one on this blog is trying to contribute as much as they can.
    I thank you, Dal, and Goofy for the information exchanged here.

  25. I guess that the only thing remaining is to re-enact his journey. Take a boat from Buckman to Frijoles. Then cross the river in the boat to where his boat was found.
    It may help as a method of getting the same perspective that Randy had.
    However, I don’t recommend it.

    • There is some discussion of a plan to do this with a replica raft on Sat. or Sun. – but only with experienced kayak support, a proper extraction plan and blessings from the weather gods.

  26. I am so proud to be a part of a community with such love and compassion for others! I thank everyone for their hard work and continued focus. I’m with you in thoughts and prayers.
    After deep thought, I wondered what I would do if I was cold, possibly wet, and night moving in closer with my every step.I would jump into survival mode and try to build a shelter with my surroundings to try and stay warm and keep out of the elements/wild life dangers as much as possible. If he chose this route, he may have fallen asleep there yet never awoke due to the cold temperature. It could be hard to spot a shelter unless your focus is directed toward this possibility. This could also explain no gear found, he would have it with him in the shelter. Leo may have stayed with him until his survival mode kicked in which may have been…. water for his own survival. Leo went back to the boat by following his scent which he knew would take him to water, and there he remained.
    Any thoughts?

    • @Friend, your scenario sheds light on how Randy’s whereabouts could elude all searchers in spite of an extensive search of the targeted areas. The country is big, the terrain inhospitable, mistakes unforgiving.

  27. I truly wish I had a little money to help out with the search. I feel so useless and helpless sitting here and just checking in every few hours hoping for good news.

      • The continued efforts that are being put forth by all the searchers and the personal resolve and commitment that Mr. Fenn has demonstrated is truly remarkable. I know it must be providing at least some comfort to Randy’s family. For the life of me, I cannot believe that nothing has turned up with all the eyes in the sky and boots on the ground.

        As a kid we used to hike down to the Rio from White Rock regularly when there was no trail to speak of. It was fun to play in the mud flats, but that mud could reach up and grab you to where you needed a few buddies to help pull you out. I feel that Randy certainly could have hiked out unless he was injured somehow. Having read some scenarios here regarding Randy possibly falling/slipping into the water with chest waders on, that would be of great concern.

        I see that divers searched near the raft, but I suppose Randy could have fallen into the water just about anywhere if he was moving about in the raft and not being careful even in a calm stretch of water.

        Perhaps Mr. Fenn could comment on how visibilty into the water from above is when flying overhead in the helicopter. Is it even possible to see the bottom of the muddy Rio Grande?

        This situation is so difficult on many levels for all who enjoy and have enjoyed The Thrill of the Chase.

        Blessings and prayers to you all. Thank you so much for everyone’s efforts and continued safety.

  28. Feeling sad. Words are hard to find. Love to you Forrest. You all are so great to help. Such a mystery. Things have changed.

  29. For this wonderful show of humanity, truly God has blessed each and every one of you through your acts of concern and fellowship.

    You all, Randy, and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    – Wisconsin Mike

  30. All you people have done so much looking for randy,mr. forrest,its time to shut your engine off until spring,before you get sick with worry and getting out in the weather,all has been done that can be done for now.Randy is not alive anymore,its just too long of time.we all feel bad about this,but things in life happen we have no control would of been nice to find him alive or even find his body to put to rest.a person can only do so much,you all have went far beyond what could be done.there is a time to laugh,a time to cry, a time to was randys time.he died doing what he loved to do.from this randy has taught a lot of people a lesson.may God bless randys family .I know this sounds so grim,but we got to face the facts of life.there is a lot of people on this earth that is never found.this may be one of those heart is saying just stop,stop and go home all of you,go home.that gut feeling has finally set in,I was hopeful for so long.but not no more.I’m so sorry.

  31. You guys actively searching, need to meet with the NMSAR coordinator. They can help guide you through your probability of detection.

    If you aren’t finding any viable sign, you need to move on.

    If you do start where the car was left, cut for sign on the rivers edge, on the slim chance Randy never made it in to the raft.

    At this point you can’t assume he did anything. You need to look for evidence and move forward with what you find. The fact that nothing has turned up bugs me. makes me think he never made it into the raft with Leo. Just my opinion.

    I hope the local law enforcement is actively investigating other possibilities.

      • Hi Voice , i get that. But I read somewhere on here that there were 3 teams of NMSAR with dogs at the raft site. You said yourself how highly trained they are… So if their dogs didn’t alert, and they didn’t find any sign of how Randy got the raft out of the water, or a direction of travel from the raft… i can’t help but think he was in the water before the raft got there…. and unfortunately likely still is, or there would be some sign of his travels.

        • Just to clarify – there was one canine team deployed at the raft site, with an airscent dog, not a tracking dog. The choice of dog was based on elapsed time – nearly two weeks after Randy’s trip – at which point there is no chance of viable trail for a tracking dog.

          The lack of interest from the dog simply means that it does not detect the current presence of the subject in the vicinity, not that he was never there.

  32. I have a feeling that it was naughty little Leo who got them into trouble. He could have ran off, leaving Randy to get lost looking for him, up on the Caja…

  33. I want to commend each and every searcher and supporter for your efforts in trying to find Randy. The effort put forth is an example to the world of how we can come together for someone’s loved one in trouble, even those we’ve never met.

    Each and every one of you will know when it is time to cease your search. You all are at the top of our heroes list, and for some of us, that list previously was very short… but no longer.

    I want to remind everyone that we saw a photo of water bottles in Randy’s vehicle. I’m sure he took many with him for he and Leo. His backpack has not been found. I expect once he knew he was in trouble he began to ration it. Don’t under estimate a man’s resolve to live when he knows he’s needed for another’s survival.

    I’m too far away to assist physically, but please know that you are not alone when you go out. You have the hope and energy of hundreds if not thousands of us watching and waiting for good news.

    May tomorrow be the day.


    One more thing: has it been determined that the possible locations from where the animal sound or “possible whistle” might have come from, has been thoroughly searched?

    I also think he left the map on his dashboard “just in case”. That’s something I would have done.

  34. Just a thought…
    If Randy fell, rolled, down a scree, he’d be covered in dirt and mud making it hard to see any type of color. He may blend in with scenery. Ever play king of the hill on a muddy hill? I have. You end up looking like a swamp creature. The scree count have also covered him as he fell…
    Three lines on a map, are a key code for falls. He may have made it to Frijole and ended up staying. But, my gut says he is near the area of the raft. Alot of lose rock on that bluff.
    MAYBE…Leo hurt his paws by digging for Randy?

    My deepest thanks to all with BOG and in the air. Be safe, and know you are ALL in my thoughts!
    P.S. Those mountain men prob mean business! Glad they are going to help!

  35. I apologize in advance if this has been brought up…has anyone searched with a Search and Recovery K-9 unit? I have limited access and can’t read all blog entries. Prayers for all involved! Gordon

    • Yes searching with a tracking dog was done for Randy.
      Now the same should be done to “go find Leo”. Use a tracker trained to find lost pets. Leo’s scent will show the way.
      I’ve posted this several times, anyone think this should be done?

      David here

  36. Been checking in everyday, and reading how the search is going. I hope Tuesday brings more luck in finding Randy. You are all such a special group of people. Be safe out there today. My prayers are with everyone.

    Fred Y.

  37. Current conditions in the Randy Search Area…
    1-26-16 5:30am
    Light snow falling, visibility at 3 miles, roads are snow packed (they were clear yesterday). Travel speed on I-25 is 50-60mph due to road conditions. Temps are below freezing and frigid.
    Not a good day for searching.

  38. Like everyone who has tried to express their gratitude and admiration for Forrest and the rest of the searchers…I am at a loss for words that properly convey my great sense of appreciation and gratitude. You are all heroes. THANK you SOOO very much for you sense of caring.

    Randy has found his treasure. Maybe not the one he was looking for, but a treasure none the less.



  39. I’ve changed my theory on where Randy might be…somewhat. With the reports of low river water levels and the finding of man/dog tracks in Frijoles Canyon I think Randy can be found somewhere in or near Frijoles Canyon.

    The scenario:
    Randy’s original plan was to float down the river to Frijoles, search it, and then continue on down the river to the lake and find a ride back to his car….all in the same day.

    When he got to the Frijoles delta he beached his raft and took Leo up the lower end of Frijoles (leaving the tracks later found by the SAR team.) Unsuccessful, he and Leo came back down to his raft. Leo injured his feet while walking over the rocky ground. When they arrived at the raft Randy found that when he beached the raft he had accidently torn a hole in one of the air compartments. He tried commencing his trip down the river towards the lake but the loss of air in his raft caused him to drag on the bottom of the very shallow water, making it nearly impossible to make good time. So he decided to pull out on the little sand bar just south of Frijoles Canyon on the east side of the river. He now had to make the most important decision of his life.

    He was familiar with the area, having scouted it out from the east rim and from maps. He knew how far it was down to the lake and how far to hike up the east side of the river and back to his car. He also knew that it was only about 2 -3 miles to civilization going back up Frijoles Canyon (compared to the 11-15 miles going out the other ways.) From his previous search up the bottom he knew the possibilities of climbing back up towards the washed out trail in Frijoles. He also knew he couldn’t take Leo with him because of the difficulty of the terrain.

    So he left Leo on the sandbar hoping to be able to get back to him as soon as he could get help. He waded across the shallow river and went back up Frijoles but up the south side of the canyon to where he could connect on to the washed out trail. Unfortunately he encountered an obstacle that caused him to fall and get hurt, maybe broke his leg and couldn’t move. He may have survived the first night or two but probably not much longer.

    I think that an exhaustive ground search should be made along all possible routes going up Frijoles Canyon.

    • John –

      I think that is a very plausible scenario of what happened. I thought I read where SARS had done a thorough search of that canyon – especially after seeing the paw and foot prints (which btw have not been confirmed as Randy’s). I don’t know how far up they went and if they reached the upper waterfall and inspected that. Perhaps that will be on the map that Carolyn is putting together. That’s such a good idea. It’s a shame that the trail was washed out after the fire – which makes it extremely difficult. It’s also a very hard place to photograph, even from the air, as it is usually in the shade from the closeness of the canyon walls.

    • Unless he was tethered, Leo would not have stayed behind and let Randy go off on his own. And even if he *was* tethered (which I doubt Randy would have done), Leo would have found a way to UNtether himself, especially if he sensed that Randy was in danger. All of my dogs have Houdinied themselves out of collars and harnesses when they sensed an urgent situation. This is what dogs do. Loyal to the end.

      In any case, I strongly doubt that Randy would have left Leo behind.

  40. I know this isn’t brought up much, but for some reason last night, I kept changing my thoughts from Fijoles Canyon to Foul Play.

    It’s the Leo thing that keeps bugging me.
    I understand that Leo would kick into survival mode and go get water, but it seems he would go back to his master when he could.
    The two seemed inseparable.

    Either, Leo couldnt go to where Randy is, i.e. downstream or on the West side, or Randy ran into some uninvited guests.

    Poachers, Illegals (undocumented, for the politically correct), Antiquity Thieves, etc… Running into someone doing something very illegal can not end all that great.

    I’m thinking that this time of year, Bandalier cant be too populated and short on staff. That it would be an easy time of year to collect Native American artifacts from Bandalier.

    If he ran into someone, Randy and Leo may have taken off and tried to get back to the raft and who knows…

    And if they buried Randy, even in a shallow grave, He may never be found.

    Just a thought

    But I think if one of the searchers to find him, they might want to leave the area alone until the authorities get there and check for foul play.

    This whole thing just really sucks.

    • Mark, after the first 3-4 days of searching, I too, brought this up! Mountain lions are known to bury prey, as well as criminals. But again, he may be hunkered down in a brush covered arroyo, crevasse, covered with scree from a fall…all of these scenarios would make him invisible.

      If the weather would cooperate, a warm week will draw out the birds. Their circling could point the way.

      Goofy, all life should be mourned, no matter what they were doing when they passed! Burr…pretty cold comment. 🙁

  41. Hello well I woke up to snow this morning making it a unsafe search today unless there are others going. If so please let me know. I thank You Forrest for all your efforts and tried to help. After feeling the cold last night I feel Randy if any chance of survival would of had to have at least a lighter.

    The problem is by leaving his lunch in his car we cannot be to sure. If he thought he was going far.maybe he had a survival pack lets pray. I found what appeared to be a track of Leo and Randy after all the rough water passed where Randy and Leo could of ran into trouble, on the Bank small dog tracks and where Leo went to the bathroom.

    Who takes photos of dog poo. Me! The track is why I feel unless some one else rafted down stream and left those tracks the where in fact Randy’s and Leos

    I know it was tough going to get to that point by land but Me Robert and Titan did it. We had to fight through all the brush and thistles and thorns. Any way I took Photos and yelled Randy Leos alive all the way up. what seemed like more distance turned out to be shorter as the crow flies of course.

    we Made it to the corner of white cross. I don’t know if you saw me wave I was in the open on the bank when you flew over head.

    We found a couple of yellow ribbons and a make shift camp that appeared to be there for quite some time. Any way I wanted to go down by the raft Robert is saying the snow will be gone in a couple of hours. His family allowed me to sleep on there couch last nigh

    There are good people in SF NM And I got blessed with meeting this Family. They went out of their way to open there arms to this regretful situation and help. Thank you Robert Adrena and their Daughter anjallica awesome people. I would be willing to search but only with others. I must get back to aid with my mothers care after today I’m going to work on sending some of these photos of the bank to dal right now and I will await for word .

    The mix up about mondays secdual that brought me here posted in sundays plans is under the bridge This is about Randy I love you guys for caring so much and doing all you have done to try to bring randy home safe.Thats because we are a big Family even if we havent met. I had the pleasure of meeting Randy and Leo. What a great guy and Dog. Jeff Burch and Titan

  42. It’s awesome Forrest and Everyone searching for Randy… I wish I was closer, I would love to join the search or volunteer a few hours to help out. I hope for Randy’s safe return and my thoughts are with him and his Family.

    If Randy’s number was up, and this area is his final resting place… I hope his family finds peace that Randy was doing something that he LOVED doing and is still hiking around in God’s Nature and Paradise.

    Peace be with Randy and Family…

  43. THANKYOU,all you WONDERFUL people who are out there BRAVING the elements while I sit in the comfort of my home, unable to help. I COMMEND you all.
    Let FAITH be your guide. GOD BLESS!!

  44. This whole “Chase” thing is, and always has been, about faith, hope, and will. I’m just amazed by everyone’s efforts and selflessness in channeling those qualities into searching for Randy.

    Forrest, you might have only wanted to get kids off their games and into nature, but you’ve stirred up and rekindled a whole lot more than that in all of us. You’re personal involvement in the search for Randy speaks volumes. Heartfelt thanks to all the others who have pitched in as well. Prayers to Randy’s family.

    Back in 2012, I gave my mom a copy of TTOTC to get her mind off her pain. She’d been a poet and the memoir inspired her to want to write again. She started this poem about Forrest but never finished it. It’s been inside my copy of TTOTC ever since. I think it’s apropos for Randy, too:

    Bound by secrecy
    thoughts do roll ~
    As rivers & streams
    they ebb and flow.
    Where they take us
    who shall know?
    But to chase my dream,
    I know I must go.

    by J. Martin Hurd

  45. I start to wonder if this was a suicide. Who would go on a nine mile raft trip without their gear? Either that or he just lost his mind. Crazed for gold.

    • Or maybe they have realized the odds of survival at this point are pretty much nonexistent, and searches should be postponed until it is safe. Stay out of the river until there is no longer ice in Cochiti and wait till things warm up.

  46. Is it known if the pics Randy took of Frijoles Falls and Frijoles Canyon (west side of the Rio) and sent to his daughter with the message “Very dangerous place today. Not worth the risk” were taken on the same day he took the pics from the east side of the Rio?

    • This much I know: It’s been confirmed that his 2 pix of Frijoles Canyon from the east side of the Rio Grande were taken on Dec 24th. His selfie also taken same day, same general location.

      This much I don’t know: When he took the pic of Frijoles Falls. His message to his daughter referenced Christmas, but any date/time stamp was cropped out (at least what I’ve seen), so he could’ve taken the pic but not sent it the same day. I could very well be mis-remembering…anybody out there got better info on this?

      Some pix from ChaseChat:

      Don’t know when this was taken, but most def taken above the Falls (note “screen” of Ponderosas at bottom and east mesa across the Rio):

      Here’s that same “screen” of Ponderosas from a different vantage point. It scares me to think where he was standing to get this shot. Unless the pic is reversed, he’s standing on the south edge. Is there even a trail over there?

      Both together here:

      “Big mistake”. I agree.

      Don’t know if this helps. But it sure puts the crosshairs of his attention on Frijoles Falls. Doesn’t mean that’s where he ended up.

  47. Woke up to snow on the ground here in Santa Fe. Got home last evening after completing 7th day searching with boots on the ground, including a couple hours with ff in the helicopter. Yesterday saw ff’s helicopter both above and below me in the area above the raft. We must be aware that the terrain requires boots on the ground looking at the same area from different angels. I discovered a couple of ledge or rock pockets that could only be viewed by walking or climbing up to them. It is a good time to regroup with 1″ snow on the ground. My gut from day 1 has been Randy is in the water and nothing has changed as a result of 7 days of searching. However, with time to analyze, I don’t think Randy would consider any exit without Leo. That means if using the raft for a departure point Randy would choose one of several exit paths, all of which have been searched from air and extensively with boots on the ground. IMO a mishap crossing the Rio is the prime possibility. I will resume when ground visibility warrants a boots on the ground continuation.

  48. @radcrad Thank you for this post, all sounds logical and about what I feel as well. Everyone should take a second and read up on hypothermia, also, the river is probably lower now than it was 3 weeks ago. I researched Kochito Lake last night trying to learn just how deep it is, interesting history with this lake and the size of the dam….

  49. Forrest, Dal, Goofy,

    I’d like to make a suggestion based on the concern for Randy’s surviving family and wide spread interest from many people wishing to continue the search effort for Randy.

    Judging from Searcher maps created, drone videos, SAR reports, SF police information, Forrest’s personal helicopter searches, TTOTC armchair searchers, family information… A vast amount of upload information pertinent to coordinating future searches may warrant a separate website dedicated to the search for Randy.

    Perhaps Dal could place a button at the top of this site hot-linking it to Randy’s dedicated site which would house everything.

    As I am only proficient at operating an iPad, my competence is nil at creating a website. Perhaps someone with technical expertise is willing to create a site dedicated to Randy and upload pertinent information.

    I’m not sure if this can be accomplished for free or not. Dal & Goofy, if someone steps up to create the site but needs funds for a domain name or first year hosting, etc please email me off line and I’ll assist monetarily with that cost.

  50. Just wanted to relay that an employee from one of the commercial satellite companies I reached out to last week has taken a personal interest in the search. I provided him the coordinates of the raft and he is going to search through available imaging since January 4th in the area to see if he is able to identify anything out of the ordinary. Will report back on whether he is able to find anything.

  51. The picture of the falls, zoom in to the top of the falls to the right and see a light color patch, it looks like a face? Just shows how pictures can look different than being there!
    Many times in my searches I have taken pictures of an area to see something I didn’t see while there!
    I agree, he was more than likely trying to cover the falls area well

  52. God bless everyone here! Randy has a spirit that lives through each and every one of you! The search for this treasure has been an awesome journey for all! I have gone on trips out West, with my husband looking for this treasure! Let’s remember that the true treasure is in the “journey” and not the chest of money and artifacts. The last time my husband went searching, out west, I stayed home. He loves to hike for miles, sleep in his truck and wander through canyons. He truly enjoys this journey! I told him that, I am getting too old for this type of wandering lifestyle! People have asked me, if I worry about him when he takes these jaunts out west, looking for Forrest Fenns treasure; and yes I do worry; but if an accident would happen to him and he died, I know he would die doing what he loves most. He loves to pour over maps, poems, books about the west, google earth and whatever! I know more about the Meeks than I care to know! And I know about many “brown” things – it’s unbelievable! Brown trout, brown bears, Brown family’s, brown canyon, etc. GOD SPEED Randy! Prayers for you! Let your spirit grow in all treasure hunters! Be safe treasure hunters! thanks Forest Fenn!

    • that is hubby & me. we have had so much fun searching.
      you can get killed or hurt doing just about anything. we dont think Randy did anything he thought was dangerous because no one really would do something knowing it could go bad, but we all take some chances. we dont think randy wouldnt be judged had he been bird watching or just hiking a trail but add treasure hunting and the opinions can change.
      a white house chef went hiking last year and drowned in a flash flood. we all take risk like turning in front of an oncoming car that we thought we could beat. we never believe we are really doing something dangerous until it goes bad.
      hindsight is always 20/20. the best we can do is drive ourselves nuts trying to cover all the bases, hoping we dont forget something important, pray our judgement is right and ask those who love us to forgive us if we foul things up. most of us do alright but every now & then it all goes to heck in a hen basket regardless of our best efforts.

      • Your comment’s made me think of the following: “We all live in a small cocoon of our own surroundings and a few friends and places. We are victims of our tiny environments. We stop when the light is red and pay the gas bill when it is due. Strangers move in and out of our lives, only to punctuate the moment with something useful, like a waiter or the paper boy. THE HUMAN MIND SOMEHOW WONDERFULLY CONJECTURES THAT THE BODY IN WHICH IT RESIDES IS IMPORTANT. It is constantly judging others and identifying faults without relating them to itself.” (The Thrill of the Chase; Forrest Fenn; page 98)

        Fred Y.

  53. Good luck with any further searches. After reviewing the drone footage I now realize what a harsh, unforgiving terrain you are dealing with.

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