Monday, November 24, 2008
We are very certain that Winston was seen at Banded Peak Ranches on October 12th outside Platoro, Colorado west of the Continental Divide. He was spotted by an outfitter named Dennis. The Archuleta Sheriffs department was contacted. They they followed his tracks on the road until they disappeared. We do not know where he was heading, but it is possible that he was headed toward the Navajo River or toward Pagosa Springs. It is clear that Winston does not want to be found right now. The good news is that he has figured out a way to keep himself alive and moving. There is peace of mind in that fact. We are keeping our ears open and waiting for him to surface again. If he does, we have a crew of folks ready to move to go and pick him up. It is our hope that he will contact one of us sooner or later.
Here is a copy of the email form Dennis (the outfitter):
My name is Dennis. I manage land that was once part of the Tierra Amarilla Land Grant and is now commonly known as Banded Peak Ranches. I am also a licensed outfitter and lease most of the land each fall for Elk hunting.
On Sunday October 12, at about 12;30 p.m. a hiker walked into my camp following a road which comes into the main valley from the East fork of the Navajo River, west of the continental divide. It was a cold windy day with rain/snow showers.
I walked up to him and began asking questions, wanting to know where he had come from and where he was going. I was not angry; I figured this guy was very lost and possibly in trouble. He did not want to talk to me, and did not stop walking. I walked beside him.
He said he had come from Platoro, had been on the divide with friends who had horses, and had left them because of the snow. I asked him if he knew where he was. He said he had a map. I asked him to get it out and I would show him where he was. He said it was buried in his pack. He said he was following the Navajo River. I told him that the river flows south and pointed out the road to take to follow the river to Chromo and highway 84. (He was headed North when I first saw him).
He was wearing black tennis/skateboarder type shoes, black nylon knee shorts with white stripes on the sides, a gray/black hooded sweatshirt jacket, with the hood up. His clothes looked worn and oily. He had a small daypack on with a black rolled-up sleeping bag tied to it. I saw a frying pan or cooking kettle handle sticking out of the bag. He had a plastic quart milk bottle with red lid (empty) tied on top of the bag. He and his gear were wet.
I offered him a bowl of hot soup beside a hot fire. He said he had food. (I think he was tempted). I offered to give him a ride to Chromo--it would be no trouble. He refused. I told him to stay on that road, take no turns, and he would come to Chromo. He walked on down the road.
I would say he was somewhat incoherent; he was wet and cold and did not give me what I would call sensible answers.
After he left I called a friend with the Archuleta Sheriffs department to ask him what more I could do. He sent a deputy and I think an ambulance out. I don't know what happened, but they did not see him. He followed the road a while, we saw his tracks, but he left it and vanished. The sheriff brought a photo of Winston and all of us in camp who saw him are positive that this was Winston.
I don't know what else I could have done except grab him, which would have probably been a mistake. I will be glad to discuss this with anyone, help more if I can. Dennis