Art of the Chase…


by Sacha


I had to share this with you.

sachapaintIt is a painting, made by Rick’s grandson, Eli. Eli is 6 years old.

This is Eli’s very first painting.  On the left is Rick, and on the right is Eli.  They are both holding shovels.  Between them is a tree.  Below the tree is a red box.  According to Eli, that is “the” treasure.

Jason and I were on a video call with Rick when Eli came into the room to share his first masterpiece with his papa.

It is amazing how children can view life in such simple terms.

I asked Rick if I can borrow Eli for my next BOTG. He has this thing figured out.


image1 1

Rick added this new photo of Eli’s painting and the following comment about it:

When I took the picture Eli was signing the painting, I guess he wasn’t done signing it because he added the 6 to it after I took the picture for Sacha.

Sacha Johnston is a long time searcher.
She has a YouTube Channel devoted to the search.

Rick is IllinoisGho$t and has both a Blog and a YouTube Channel.

By the way…Eli is auctioning his one-of-a-kind artwork of eBay. Monies go directly to his college fund…Click HERE.







No Child Left Inside

The press release below came today from the office of the Governor of Washington State. It looks like he picked up on Forrest’s belief that it’s a good idea to get kids outside…

Maybe he should consider taking some of that grant money and hiding a couple thousand in each State Park and publishing poems with hints to where it’s hidden  🙂




April 22, 2016

Contact:  Governor Inslee’s Communications Office

ADVISORY: Inslee to announce statewide No Child Left Inside Grants


Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday will announce nearly $1 million in new grants that will help young people get outside and connect with nature and their communities. Inslee will be joined for the announcement by children and educators.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will award the grants for programs in 15 counties. This is the first-of-its kind grant program in Washington. No Child Left Inside is the result of legislation passed last year and the grant funding was a recommendation of the governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation and the Governor’s Council for the Healthiest Next Generation.

The grants will help more children gain exposure to outdoor activities and supports the governor’s Healthiest Next Generation efforts to help kids be more active.

Monday’s announcement will be held in partnership with Wild Whatcom, an organization that connects kids to nature in lasting and meaningful ways.

When:  Monday, April 25 at 4:10 PM

Where: Northern Heights Elementary School (4000 Magrath Road, Bellingham)

*NOTE: TV and photographers – visuals will include footage of the governor engaging with students outdoors where the school property includes woodlands.

What the Brits Think


“A few seconds ago I tore my trousers trying to climb what could only generously be described as a fairly medium-sized boulder. Shortly before that I’d watched with pathetic abandon as my sunglasses were swept over the edge of a waterfall. I’m now looking at my feet, where a couple of inches from my hiking boots lies what used to be a snake. I can tell that’s what it was because its head is still attached to what might otherwise be mistaken for a rogue spinal cord. I’m beginning to question whether I’m entirely cut out for adventure. Just a week earlier, I was in an office writing about enterprise IT. Now I’m almost 5,000 miles away wondering what kind of animal could strip the flesh from a snake.”

This is the introduction to John Kerrison’s lively story about looking for Forrest’s chest and little green men while on a trip to the USA a few months back.

According to his bio, “John Kerrison is a writer based in Cornwall England. His words have appeared in a range of publications including The Guardian, Sabotage Times, and The Fly — and will continue to do so until he finally finds that treasure.”

Mr. Kerrison is witty and provocative and entirely correct in his assessment of the chase. If you don’t believe I could possibly be correct this time either, then I suggest you read his articles for yourself..

They are linked below, unless aliens have removed them-

Open Road
Adventure Seekers


A New Map…

Please Note that these maps have sold out and are no longer available.


Cynthia and I have been working on a secret project for Fennboree III, and we can finally tell everyone what we have been up to.

I am happy to announce a special new treasure map is now available, made just in time for Fennboree.  This map is similar to the one in Too Far To Walk, but has had some significant changes made to it.


Forrest, in collaboration with Benchmark Maps (, has redesigned his treasure map, and we are releasing a limited edition of 30″x24” poster of the new map, signed and numbered by FF himself.

These maps were printed in Albuquerque, by a great lady named Tami, at A Good Sign (  We talked to several local companies, and while they each told us they couldn’t print something this nice and big, they all told me that Tami could.  If you need something large printed in Albuquerque, she is the lady to see.

Tami has a print shop, on the corner of 2nd and Lead, in downtown Albuquerque, which happens to be located just across the street from a castle (which you might notice is in the picture behind Tami).  I didn’t even know there was a castle in Albuquerque, but it was explained to me that it used to belong to the local jewelry maven, Gertrude Zackary.  It was only built about 10 years ago (which explains why I didn’t know about it). Sadly, Gertrude passed away shortly after the castle was built, and it was never really lived in that long.  Her children now own the property, and they rent it to movie studios for filming.  I hope to someday get an up close view of the gargoyles guarding the rooftops of that place.


Tami is printing the first batch of these as we speak, and will have the first batch ready by Monday.  We hope to have them signed by Forrest within a few days, and the first ones will ship out by the end of next week.  The map on the table in front of her was the test one she printed for me, and looks way better than the picture on the website.

You can order yours now, only at:

The cost is $100 each..
They are stunning.

This map will only be available in poster form, at least until later this year, so if you are waiting for the mouse pad version, you might have quite a long wait.  Also, don’t forget they are a Limited Edition, so once they are gone – they are gone.

Drone Footage on Saturday…

February 7th, 2016

Here is the Drone footage shot by Dave on Saturday, February 6th, 2016



Report From Saturday by Sacha…

February 7th, 2016



Search Report from Saturday February 6th

No plan goes as expected, especially when it’s success is contingent on outside forces that can’t be controlled.

I set out yesterday with two plans.  The first was my primary plan.  I wanted to get my group to search areas that have been inaccessible to us, which are the mouth of the river and the eastern section of the lake.  This plan required two things to happen.  First, we needed permission from Cochiti to fly the drone. Second, we needed permission to access the area closed to the public until April 1st.

We did not receive permission on either front.  I had no way of knowing whether or not we did until we met for the search that morning.  Even though it was looking promising on Friday, I still had a backup plan in case things didn’t go our way.  That backup plan is the plan we ended up using.

Rover Dave had already agreed to spend his Saturday using his drone wherever we needed it.  We decided that we could best use it on the river to examine the water, south of where Randy’s raft was found.  In addition to Dave, we had Kevin, Anthony, Scott, and Cynthia.  But, Cynthia had her trusty companion Molly with her, and didn’t think it would be a good idea to take her to the Montoso Mesa.  Molly’s paws would not be happy with the cactus out there.

We all met at the La Bajada marker, and waited for Ranger Nikolas to arrive.  We waited for an hour before we decided he wasn’t coming.  Cynthia kept busy while we waited by picking up a saddening amount of trash from the meeting place.  It would seem that some people had been using it as a dumping ground.  She filled a big black bag, and it barely made a dent.  She could have filled the bed of her pickup with the monitors, mattress, and other debris.


We decided to split our group up, sending Cynthia and Molly to scout the lake area, and see if it would be worth trying to take a team to the west side of the lake.  Cynthia’s scouting trip proved that it would not help us, because it wouldn’t get us close enough to the area for us to see well.  There are a couple of miles between the shore and the mouth of the river, and there isn’t a vantage point high enough to compensate for the distance.  Cynthia also discovered something else – there WAS ice on the lake still.  I don’t know where Ranger Nikolas got his information, but there is definitely still too much ice to see well.

The rest of us headed to the Montoso Mesa.  First, we went to the raft location, and flew the drone just south of where the raft was found.  We used one full battery to cover the water area.  The video resolution is so clear, you can see blades of grass.  Last week, we identified a turquoise object in the water.  It was small, and we could see it looked plastic, but it didn’t concern us.  When we returned this week, we found that same object, still in the same location.  It was actually on dry land, in the middle of a sandbar.  When we were in the same location a week ago, that item was covered with a few inches of water.  That told us the water level is much lower this week.


We didn’t find anything else to note in that location, so we packed up in the trucks and headed around the canyon to the south, out to a point further down the river.  We had to forge new roads and find old ones, but eventually we arrived at our location.  We hiked to the rim, and we could see miles downstream.  Dave decided to hike much lower, to get the best range from his drone.  Kevin and Scott joined him.  Kevin was Dave’s spotter, and Scott hiked all the way down to river level, to see things much closer.

Dave flew his drone up and down the river banks, hovering over every item he could find.  He made sure to fly as low as he could, and covered the entire river surface in a grid pattern.  He used every battery he had, and risked losing his drone if the wind kicked up, but he stayed down there for over three hours, getting as much footage as he could.

Wheres Davea


Anthony and I used Scott’s binoculars to look further downstream than the drone could go.  We could see so far, it seemed like we could almost see to the lake.  There were several objects in the river, but we couldn’t see any of them with clarity from that distance.  The sharp turn at the end was too far for anything we had to see very clearly.

We didn’t make it back to the trucks until 3:30.  We spent the next hour praying our way through the mud, while we trekked out of there.  I didn’t see my car again until almost 5 pm.

It was difficult for us to make out anything on the video, while we were in the field.  The glare on the remote screen does not allow us to see colors or objects clearly.  But, when I go home, I popped the card into my computer, and I was amazed at what I saw.  You can see bushes, grass, small pieces of litter and debris, and even the ripples in the sand beneath the water.  The video is clearer than any of our eyes could see, without having to stick our heads in the river.

I have given the memory card with the drone footage to Cynthia very early this morning.  She is spending the entire day uploading the files.  It may take her into tomorrow.  She will give me the links to all of the video as soon as she has them.  When she does, I will share the video so that you can all help us go through it and make sure we didn’t miss anything.


Sadly, we have run out of new places to search, until we get permission from any agency, or until April 1st, when the Tetillo Peak Recreation Area reopens.  Cynthia and I checked, and that gate is very locked.  And, that hike is too far to be done on a reasonable day.  We most likely will never receive permission to fly the drone any further south than we have already done.  And, the water in the lake is far too cold to recommend that we spend any significant time in watercraft.  If someone were to accidentally fall in, the hypothermia could be catastrophic that far away from help or shore.

I think we may have reached an impasse in our search efforts.  I know that there are others out there checking on a few small possibilities that are left, but the areas that hold the most promise are the most difficult for us to get in to.

Also, I think the water based searches should only be performed by trained professionals, and hopefully with high-tech equipment to search places that people shouldn’t.  That would probably be an expensive venture, but would also yield the best results.


Many of you still want to help, and one way you can do that is to continue to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign.  Randy’s daughter has control of that account, and she can use that money towards paying professionals to check the water.  The local law enforcement don’t have access to the expensive and experimental equipment that the private sector does, but the private companies almost always require to be paid for their work.

Thank you all of you so much for your support and kind words.  Please send those good thoughts and wishes to Randy’s family.  They need them much more than us.







Search Plans for Saturday Feb. 6th…


February 5th, 2016

 BY Sacha


Search Plan for Saturday February 6th, 2016

I am sorry about being so late with the plans, but I only just got off the phone with Ranger Nikolas a few minutes ago.

I have GREAT news. The ice that covered the mouth of the river into Cochiti has broken up! This is great, because it means we can search the lake and mouth of the river. I was even told that watercraft can pass through with ease, but we don’t have any water craft available for tomorrow.

We will be meeting at exit 264, on the West side of the highway, at 8 am on Saturday, February 6th. When you exit, turn West and we are about 100 feet down on your left.

The best part about tomorrow’s search is that there is no special equipment necessary, but binoculars would be the most helpful item you could bring. We will be searching as much of the lake and mouth of the river as we can cover. Ranger Nikolas is working on getting us permission from ALL appropriate agencies so that we can access any area around the lake.

Please do remember to bring water and snacks, and wear a good pair of hiking shoes.

Please Note:
There will NOT be an organized dinner after tomorrow’s search.

Cynthia and I will see you there.

Report From Saturday by Sacha…

January 30th, 2016




Today was a long, hard, rough, day.  Did I mention it was long?

This morning, I was greeted by some wonderful people at the animal shelter.  Some had been searching with us before, like Scott and Eric, but others were brand new, and a very welcomed surprise.



John B. is from Tucson, but that didn’t stop him from being at the animal shelter promptly this morning.  He drove all the way from Arizona, and slept in his van at a rest stop, just to be sure he was there on time.  John has never commented on this blog, but he is always here.

There were two Davids today.  The first David is known to some as NTMI.  He showed up in his orange Jeep, and saved me more than once from the muddy depths of the roads around Monteso.  David is such a nice guy, he offered to cook us all up some lunch on his mini rocket stove.

The other David was the drone operator for today.  He was fully equipped.  This David works at the Land Rover dealership in Albuquerque, on Alameda.  He took his drone into places they would never tell you to take a drone.  His maneuvers today were both bold and dangerous, especially for his drone.  His drone was the most valuable tool we had today, aside from the brute force of three men pushing my 4Runner out of the mud.


Kevin is new to the search, and hadn’t been hiking in a very long time.  He is also from Farmington.  But, that didn’t stop him from showing up to help today.  He worked just as hard and hiked just as far as everyone else, and you would never know he was ‘out of practice’.  I was very grateful he came today, as he kept me company in some very tight places.

Anthony was a surprise, as well.  He is younger than most of us, but he showed up with his camera prepared for a day of searching.  He hiked the longest route with Scott, and he was almost tipped sideways in the Jeep with me and David, but he never complained once. He was happy to help, and his attitude was just what we needed.

On top of my group, there were two others on the plateau today, that I knew of, and apparently one that I didn’t.


John Brown is an unstoppable force.  That man has searched more ground than any two of the rest of us put together.  Just before I arrived at the animal shelter, one of the other searchers saw John pick up his son and head out – long before most people were there.  He is a man on a mission.

I also had heard from DaisyMae.  She was out before anyone today.  She has a big job to do.  She brought Sean with her, who also doesn’t comment.  But, Sean did something today that was more helpful than we realized.

Slurbs was there today, as well.  This guy spent the entire day lost in the maze of muddy roads.  By the time he reached us, it was midday, and he was covered in mud.  He said he had to put tire chains on in the middle of a muddy road.


DaisyMae got permission from Randy’s family to closely inspect the raft, and its surroundings.  That job took her all day.  She navigated the same disastrous muddy ‘roads’ that we did, and she made it all the way to the rim.  She found the trail, and hiked all the way to the bottom, with her friend Sean.  They then spent an incredible amount of time inspecting the area, taking video and pictures, and even closely inspecting the items.  She did find that one of the oars were broken.  The handle came off completely, and broke the metal clean.  Now we know that it was broken.  She didn’t find anything as far as footprints, but she did find Leo’s ‘home’ that he had made.  He found a safe spot, underneath and behind a tree, where he had apparently spent some time, as it still looks like he lives there.

While Daisy and Sean were working on their task, the remainder of us searchers arrived to the same spot Daisy had parked.  This was the closest spot to our search area, but if you look on a map, it doesn’t look much like a road.  The trip in took almost 2 hours.  There were side roads everywhere, to avoid the bad roads, but it was all bad.  We had to stop twice to check our location, and make sure we took the correct fork in the road.  After the first hour, I had to abandon my 4Runner on the side of the road.  I could see the path ahead, and didn’t think she would make it.  I was proven right, when I was riding in David’s Jeep and it turned sideways, completely lifting the wheels on the driver’s side of the car 3 feet off the ground.  I could have kissed the ground if my window was open.


Once we all got unloaded, we headed to the canyon south of the raft.  We got so close to it with the trucks, we were able to spend all of our time investigating the canyon, rather than hiking to and from it.  David found a great spot right away and launched his drone within a few minutes.  We knew where we had to focus our efforts.

While David was droning away, I went to get a better vantage point.  I kept scooting further back and down the canyon, until I realized I had made it to the bottom.  Kevin followed, and down into the canyon we went.  I can say that no one has been in that canyon for a few weeks, except for a small bobcat.  The snow was deep and pristine, and showed no signs of being disturbed.  Kevin and I hiked down the canyon to the river.  We boulder hopped all the way down, as far as we could go.  Finally, we reached a sheer drop that went over 50 feet.  No one was climbing up or down that thing – not without professional climbing gear.  But, it was only about 50 feet from the edge of the canyon.

We could not see the object we were looking for, so David brought his drone down into the canyon, and launched right from that point.  There was only about a 3ft by 3ft space for him to launch from, but he is very good at what he does, and that was more than enough space for him.  He was able to get to everything, and even drop the drone down very low to get better shots of the objects we needed to see.


What we didn’t know, is just before we got down there, John Brown and his son had hiked down to the raft, headed south, and then hiked up the mouth of that same canyon, to the same waterfall drop.  They inspected it thoroughly, and were able to determine that nothing had been in that alcove for a while.  They also determined no one was climbing up that.

After we were done with the drone, and the battery was almost completely dead, we hiked out of the canyon.  When we got back to our cars, we discovered that we parked right at the top of the path that leads down to the raft!


Scott and Anthony had headed this way before we got to the drone search.  They knew John Brown and Daisy were both around somewhere, and wanted to inspect the rim and try to locate the others.  They hiked all the way from the southern canyon to the one just North of where Randy’s raft was found.  They didn’t find much, but they did find a pair of canvas yard work gloves, which didn’t look too old.  We don’t know that these are related to Randy, but we haven’t put them out of our mind.

As we waited for Scott and Anthony to rejoin us, we all looked down to the river to see how the scouting mission was going.  The people looked barely bigger than ants down there.  But, we saw something very interesting.  We watched a man wade across the Rio Grande – all the way across – both ways.  It turns out that this man is Sean.  Sean waded from Randy’s raft, across to Frijoles Canyon, and back.  The water never got higher than his waist.  He said he could have done it half asleep.

randy12 at 9 min 8 sec

We scoured every inch of the canyon south of where Randy’s raft was found.  We found no trace of Randy.  He is not the object in question from the drone footage.  Sadly, the footage does not do a good job of showing scale.  It is far too small to be a person.  It is just a play on snow and shadows, on two jagged edges of the same rock.  I know that is hard to believe, so you will all be given the link to the footage from today, and you can see for yourselves.  It is not Randy, even though we all very much wished it was.

I watched 12 tired, sore and hungry searchers come in from the search today.  Some were covered in mud – literally – from head to toe.  Some were drained and slightly sunburnt from an entire day in the canyon combined with the hike in and out.  Every one of them came in and greeted me with the same smile they were wearing this morning.  They are all amazing people, and vowed to return for the next search, if they are able.

There were some important things I learned today.

1.       Randy is not in the canyon on the east side, south of the raft, with a 99% certainty.
2.       If Leo ever left the raft, he didn’t go far.  The cactus carpets the landscape so effectively that my shoes were filled with the needles.  Leo’s paws would have been destroyed by all of it.
3.       The water in the Rio Grande, at that point, is so low that a man can walk across it and the water won’t reach above his waist.
4.       The trail to the top of the canyon is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find from below.  John Brown and his son could not find it, and once they made it back up, they had to go back down and mark the trail for Daisy and Sean so they could make it out safely.

We didn’t find Randy today, but we did find where he wasn’t.  He wasn’t in the canyon to the south.  He wasn’t stuck in the water in front of the raft.  He wasn’t on the trail up to the rim.

The weather is going to keep us from searching again for several days.  In the mean time, we will work on the next plan of action, and keep you guys posted.


Thank you so much for all of your help, ideas, theories, pictures, well wishes, prayers, thoughts, and sympathies.  It is what is keeping this pack of searchers going.



From the Edge on Friday…

January 29th, 2016

 BY Forrest


Here is Cynthia’s now photo of Roger Craddock (Radcrad).


They hiked down from Bandelier on the west side of the river to a spot above where the Randy’s boat is on the east bank. They will zoom photo that whole area looking for Randy. It was 5 miles in to the river, and they are about to start the two hour hike out. It is sunny and warm. Wish I were there with them. f

Plans for Saturday…

January 28th, 2016



This Saturday (January 30th), we are planning to do another on the ground search for Randy.  The weather will turn on us next week, but this Saturday calls for sunny and clear skies, and warm temperatures.

We will meet at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, again.  I will be there by 8 am, and hope to get the group out by 9.  The address is: 100 Caja Del Rio Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507.

This time, we will focus on the area north and south of Diablo Canyon, close to the Rio Grande, but not focusing on the edge.  This is rough terrain, and is not your average gentle hike.  Aside from the muddy road in, it will require hiking miles of hills and canyons.

If you want to help, you can meet us there.  Bring your selves, drones, ATVs, and even your dogs, but be aware there is cactus everywhere.

Tomorrow, I will go to the San Idelfonso Pueblo, which owns most of the area we would like to search, and will make sure we have permission to access these areas.  If by some chance we don’t get permission, we can still search other areas in the Monteso Peak area, but these can be just as bad with the mud.

I will update everyone after I have spoken to someone in the tribe and have ensured we have access.

In addition to our search, I have heard there will be a crew rafting from Buckman to Cochiti, on Saturday.  The ice has been melting, and rumor has it that there is a clearing through there now.  Let’s wish them luck, and hope for them to have a safe trip.

Also, everyone wish Cynthia luck tomorrow.  I don’t envy her task, but I admire her heart for doing it.  And a big Thank You to Radcrad for promising to accompany her on her trip.  I think he is one of those stout-hearted men that Forrest once spoke of.  When she asked him to go with her, there wasn’t even a pause before he said yes.