First of all, I want to thank Kevin Fagan of the San Francisco Chronicle for his thoughtfully-rendered article (see SFGate.com for today's online version or the front page of the Chronicle for print version tomorrow.)
He definitely took the time to "get it", and for that I am very grateful. Steve would be pleased.
You will see "John"'s name revealed in the Chronicle article. Our mystery lead searcher is really Jim Higgins. (He didn't want this blog to be about him, but the paper needed real names for real people!)
So on to Today's Update:
Another full day of tracking by our tireless team. (Well, actually, a couple of them were looking forward to nice hot baths to soak those weary hiking muscles!)
Thank you to Jim, Peter and our trackers for working so diligently through a long, chilly day spent on those punishing slopes and climbing around in the rocky drainage (the creek that carries runoff from the surrounding peaks down toward the road and culverts below).
Disappointingly, the prints became virtually unsearchable in the higher zones today. We feel there have just been one too many rain storms obscuring them. It is actually amazing that they have been visible this long after Steve passed through there.
On a positive note, Jim and Peter found some possible "sign" near the water below through standard ground searching.
Because tracks have become impossible to follow with any regularity at this point, and Winter is fast approaching, what we really need at this are Human Remains Detection dog teams to help us finish up the search. Our eyes just aren't good enough anymore, so it's time to bring in those excellent canine noses!!
A team of five volunteer handlers & dogs stand at-the-ready (from Washington State and Montana). They could start as soon as the 26th, but we do need a way to get them here!!
Since it's ten "bodies" in all, a mid-size plane would be ideal (or 2 smaller ones). No luck so far finding volunteer pilots, so please pray that we would find this resource and ask around in your own personal networks.
If we can't find volunteer resources, then we will have to fly them in commercially. You may notice I have increased our goal to reflect the added cost of getting all ten of these important team members here. (And as always, if we bring in more funds than we need to finish the search, we would be thrilled to use that money in service of other families going through similar situations, or possibly to begin a hiking safety education campaign in the schools.)
So it was a disappointing day in the sense of seeing the clarity of tracks diminish, but hopeful at the same time, in that we may soon have just the right kind of help to finish up this never-ending process!
Thank you to all of you who have donated so generously to help us bring Steve home. Every evening when I get back to the cabin and see your kind notes and evidence of your generosity here on GoFundMe, I feel that very palpable reality that I am far from alone in this...
So thank you all!
As to today's search, John and Peter searched with our trackers for another 1500 feet. Amazing! The tracks are definitely becoming less clear as the weather continues to be wet, so they had a few frustrating points when they could not find the tracks. But then they were able to relocate them and continue on. Still only one set of tracks heading down that lonely mountain.
We are so thankful for them!
Probably our greatest request tonight is help with finding someone who could fly the 4-6 Human Remains Detection Dogs and their handlers from Montana out to Trinity Center, CA. Please spread the word through your facebook and email networks. Also, do let us know if you have any resources along these lines!
IN SUCH GOOD HANDS
After several days of discouragement following the news that our Human Remains Detection dog handler had to postpone her trip here, today hope that we can find Steve before Winter is once again stirring in me.
When our trackers met us at the cabin before sunrise this morning for our trip up the mountain, they came bearing good news! A 6-strong Human Remains Detection Dog team along with 6 handlers from a private nonprofit group in Montana has volunteered to come out to California and help us finish our search.
I so feel the hand of God in something like this... Here is another group of experienced, selfless people willing to give time, talent and energy to us without asking for anything in return.
I am just surrounded by so many caring, skilled, unassuming, determined people... I'm in such good hands.
So how did it happen that this suburban mother and psychotherapist now has this network of such excellent searchers, pilots, trackers and dog teams when my personal circle was so much more small and routine only this past July?
I feel like the message to me is "Trust me, Carrie..I've got this!" And while He never promised to spare me pain, I find He does come alongside me, carrying my heart when it has fallen through the floor. I'm in such good hands.
Thank you, thank you to all of you who have contributed so far to our search effort! Without you, we would have had to give up long ago...
We are back up on the mountain tonight, preparing for two more days of searching (weather permitting).
Please pray for two things: First, that the weather would hold through Wednesday...and second, that we would be able to obtain Human Remains Detection dog assistance SOON before Winter sets in in earnest.
We have requested this multiple times from the Trinity County Sheriff's office, usually receiving no response whatsoever. We are baffled at this lack of action on their part.
The handlers work on a volunteer basis, so all that is required is a call from Sheriff Haney's office to authorize them to come and help us out (as many of them have said they would love to do! They are "just waiting for that call...").
Please pray for a change of heart on the sheriff's part. We would love for him to become a part of the solution and help us bring Steve home. It would bring closure to us, to him, and to this wonderful small community that has been following our story for months, expressing support for us at every turn.
This week the press (broadcast and print) will be putting out stories about our search. We hope that this will help spread the word even more, allowing us the opportunity to raise enough funds to continue the search--but at an accelerated pace. Time is just running out...
So good to know you are all supporting us, in every kind of way imaginable!
P.S. I hope to have some good news to report to you tomorrow. At the very least, I will give you an update on our progress as we narrow the search field even more...
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE HOPEFUL...
So at the end of another day of tracking & searching, the GOOD news is that it looks like Steve survived his first night in the wild.
The BAD news is that this means he made it even farther down the mountain than we thought, and we don't know how much longer it will take us to come to the end of his trail. (We really did think we would find him today.)
So we are all feeling somewhat discouraged at the daunting possibility that he could have made it another 5,000 feet (or more...).
How many more days of searching will it take to find him? So painful to imagine all of that determined effort on his part, traveling all of that distance, but still never making it totally out. Ugh.
So now for the HOPEFUL: We will probably be able to bring in an excellent scent dog and his handler early next week. She will be traveling down from Oregon to lend a hand--and some paws. This new resource could be just the thing we need to find Steve. It's my understanding that they can track scents one half to three quarters of a mile...quite a ways!
So there you have THE MIX again: some very positive things (my sister Anna, who continues to support me through every step of this crazy-making process; all of you who have gifted us with your financial support and prayers; the skilled, professional trackers and handlers, helicopter pilots, searchers working together to help us find Steve).
We take in the gift of all of these amazing, loving people right alongside the most discouraging events we could ever imagine. That crazy mix that life is.
So we try to soak up the good and lean on all of these wonderful, supportive people as we try to keep standing with each new bit of hard news... Lends a whole new meaning to the word "supportive". Thank God for them!
Just as we don't know how far Steve made it down that awful mountain, we also don't know how far our funds will have to last. So if you haven't had a chance to "share" our story to friends, family or colleagues, please take just a moment to do so via Facebook, email, twitter, or the good, old-fashioned telephone!
Thank you so much for all of your support. We surely do "feel the love"!!!
Steve Frary, removing road obstacles!
WILL TOMORROW BE THE DAY?
Please pray that it will! We know there must be an end to this, and I feel all involved are growing weary (though still resolved to see it through).
Dear God, you already know where Steve is and how we will find him. Please do lead us to him soon!
5000 FEET AND COUNTING...
It's been a wild (& productive) couple of days!
Our team of two trackers accompanying our searchers spent the past Monday and Tuesday painstakingly tracking Steve even further down that steep slope. (5000 feet all together now.)
The days begin at 5:15 a.m. with breakfast here at the cabin, gathering supplies, eating breakfast, and heading out by 6:30 for the 40 minute trek up the dirt roads to the Landing Zone. From there our team loads into the helicopter and heads over to the search zone to begin their 10 hour day of scouring the ground for prints, all the while just trying to stay erect on that unforgiving slope. Very draining!
The good news is that the prints were not washed away by the recent rains (more weather to come this week, but not expected to be heavy). We had prayed that we could get in at least two days of full searching and were able to do that. Such a relief!
They have now reached the area where they feel Steve would have been hiking on the verge of darkness, then probably bedding down. This is the most likely area for us to find Steve.
Their interpretation of the tracks leads them to believe that he was experiencing extreme fatigue at this point, on top of an injury. Hard words to hear, but they make sense...
On the positive side, we have been so grateful to have such a wonderful place to stay where our team could enjoy a great meal together (made by my sister Anna's loving hands), relax and rest well enough to have the energy to get up early and do it all again.
Now the team members have left to recharge in their own homes while Anna and I have a day to rest here in this beautiful place before the next search (Thursday) begins. We hope, as always, that this will be the last one.
Casey, the helicopter pilot that has been helping us, is amazingly skilled (tonight landing with his skids just barely resting on the side of the mountain while the team oh-so-carefully climbed on, hoping not to unbalance the helicopter).
We are paying a very high (though fair) price for his time and use of the helicopter. So thank you so much to all of you who have supported us with your generous donations and through sharing our story with your Facebook and email friends and family. Please do keep that up, as it is definitely helping.
It is looking like we will need to use all of the money we have raised, and then some... John told us tonight that we have to load the helicopter "hot", as it costs $15 per minute. Yikes!
Then next week we may bring in a dog and handler from out of state, along with 2 searchers from Idaho. Always a next phase--though obviously what we all really want is to just find Steve this week.
So please do keep sharing our story with friends, family or coworkers. We are so close to our goal and definitely will need the help of as many people as possible to make it all the way!
Carrie & Ellie
PARENTING FROM THE TRENCHES
I don't know how well you parent when you are in crisis-- distracted and way too busy---but I definitely don't do it well!
Here I am on the eve of another trip up to Trinity--away from my 16-year-old daughter. This could be the longest one yet. She bravely assures me she will be fine. She's got lots to do, plenty of people to help her get around, to spend time with. "After all, if you were here I would just be studying or swimming anyway..." Ouch.
She has no idea the enormity of this week, how much I just want to wrap her up in memories and bear hugs--all to protect her from what I fear may be the most painful days of all...
Because, you see, once we are done with all of this frantic search activity, all of that adrenaline, then the too-quiet, too slow rhythm of our house will demand to be absorbed, and our grieving will begin in earnest.
So I have been very consciously seeking out moments of connection before I have to abandon her again. It was going pretty well, but then a mis-step on my part. Ugh. So now she is angry--passionately so--feeling misunderstood, overcontrolled. So much emotion. So much pain.
Definitely not the way you want to part before this all too difficult week...
So please pray for my little family as we find our way through what this week holds for us, as we find our way toward our mysterious, unwanted "new normal".
Grateful for your support,
Carrie (& Sleeping Ellie)
Please pray for NO rain!!!!
HOPE IN FRONT OF ME
I've been spending much of the day trying to wrap up lots of details in preparation for our next search: transportation, landing zone access, finances, etc..
Then there are the logistics for my daughter, Ellie's, care while I am gone. And (more importantly), trying to find moments to connect before I disappear again.
I do know that eventually there will be resolution to all of this. I pray that it will be soon.
I was listening to Danny Gokey's song "Hope in Front of Me" today on the radio. He lost his wife at a young age and writes from a place that resonates with me:
"I've been running through rain
That I thought would never end
Trying to make it on faith
In a struggle against the wind
I've seen the dark and the broken places
But I know in my soul
No matter how bad it gets
I'll be alright
There's hope in front of me
There's a light, I still see it
There's a hand still holding me
Even when I don't believe it
I might be down but I'm not dead
There's better days still up ahead
Even after all I've seen
There's hope in front of me..."
Couldn't have said it better...
I'm thankful for all of you who have given so generously that we can now head back up to the mountain, in hopes of finally finding my elusive husband and bringing him back home...
AND LIFE GOES ON...
I spent the morning dealing with the little meal moths that have infested my kitchen.
They first made their presence known the week I heard that Steve was missing and dashed up to Trinity. Denial worked well for me then, when more important things
absolutely demanded my attention.
But now, when I open any cupboard out they fly. So they have to go. Way too symbolic. Their little moth days are numbered!
So my sister Anna and I spent the day deconstructing, cleaning, treating, then reconstructing my kitchen. Actually, it did feel good to get something very tangible done.
So tomorrow life should return to "normal": last minute search details and preparations. Packing the suitcase again. Working on meals and supplies. Maps. Strategy discussions, etc...
I do look forward to the day when those pesky life challenges are my new normal and this surreal search organizer role is past. That day will come. It needs to come.
In my heart I do see a small light at the end of this dark tunnel. Hope and dread. Such strange bedfellows. Fortunately, "Hope does not disappoint us". So this is where I will focus my heart.
Steve, elated at the end of HIS marathon
In the midst of emails, list-making, phone calls and gathering supplies, I thought I would take a breather and share about a few more of our team members...
There are two men on the team (Jeff Gospe and Mark Hurty) who have amazed me with their broad range of skills, their creative minds, and their extra large hearts.
Both of these men are the kind of people you definitely want around you in a crisis.
First, there is Jeff Gospe (on the left, below) who did some challenging searching with the team, followed by helping us manage communications back at our base. On the night that the rest of the team decided to stay out and keep tracking, he volunteered to stay at Base Camp by himself ( a solitary spot on a very remote logging road). He knew there were mountain lions and a fair amount of fresh bear scat in the area, yet still stayed out there by himself. (When I asked if he got much sleep he said "Well, I did get a whole lot of reading done!")
This is the same Jeff who has been helping me wade through some of the complex insurance and financial issues that have come up with Steve's death. He's also the same guy who, with his wife and 5-year-old son, drove a total of 8 hours up to Redding and back to retrieve Steve's car.
Then there is Mark Hurty (my brother-in-law, pictured beaming below with his grandkids). Ever since Steve went missing, Mark has been working behind the scenes on all kinds of things: communicating with the Forest Service for us, researching topography and GPS locations, and thinking through possible scenarios with John.
He came on one of the searches with us and--when the sun was getting ready to set at "Base Camp" and we were getting word that a couple of our teams were having a hard time finding their way back--helped them use their GPS navigational tools to make it in safe... all without panicking. Whew!!
I love these guys and the way they have used their keen minds and willing hearts to be of service to us in so many ways.
You just never know how many great gifts and resources the people around you possess until you go through a tragedy like this and see them circle around and offer up their very best to help ease your burden.
Mark and his Grandkids
Thanks so much to all of you who shared our link with your networks! It definitely helps!
Today our team is busy finishing up our plans for the next search effort. Planning food, paying the helicopter company, looking over maps and learning more re how to read the "signs" in bird and wild animal behavior. The list goes on....
My sister Anna and I are sitting at my kitchen table (a.k.a. "Command Central") with laptops humming, phones at the ready, while my 83-year-old Mom (another one of my heroes!) is out running the errands I would have needed to do myself. Everyone is doing their part (and more!!).
Please pray for energy and judgment as we continue with what seem to be 1,000 decisions a day (at a time when decision making does not come easy for me...)
We so appreciate knowing that you are all standing behind us. We look forward to the day when we can send you one last "update", telling you of a successful outcome.
So please do keep "sharing" our page... every new donor helps us get that much closer!
"WHERE WOULD WE BE?"
The photo you see below is as much as I can show you of our fearless leader, "John", alongside my good friend Dave Dyslin, another searcher. Other than the shiny attire, you would think this was just an image of two guys enjoying a beautiful sunrise. It is that, and more...
It depicts two of the most selfless people I know who (along with my equally-valued friend Jeff and two trackers) have just spent the night out in the deep, dark cold of the Trinity Alps without so much as sleeping bags. Only three "emergency blankets" for five people. Cold. Tired (on this, their fourth day of searching). Hungry. (Because they had granola bars & nuts for dinner--& will have them again for breakfast).
When I heard their scratchy walkie-talkie announcement earlier that day saying they were still following Steve's tracks and wanted to keep tracking through the night, I was sure I must have misunderstood.
"How can you track at night?"
"We've got plenty of lights."
"What will you eat for dinner?"
"We'll be fine. We have plenty of stuff."
"Won't you freeze? You don't have sleeping bags!" "We've got stuff to keep us warm. " Now I know what kind of "stuff" they were talking about (the aforementioned thin "blankets")!!!
These grown men would have none of my mothering. They had already made up their minds. So I sat back and started praying.
Where would I be without the help of these unassuming, focused, courageous people? I would be left forever wondering if I had done everything I possibly could to help bring Steve home. Stuck with those gnawing questions about where his body could have "disappeared" to. So few answers for myself, for my daughter...
Now, thanks to all of them (and all of you!), I have hope that those questions won't have to follow me the rest of my life. And I won't have to leave my husband's battered body in that unforgiving, wild place.
We have raised almost enough funds to get us through the next (and what we hope will be last!) phase of searching, to begin early next week. But we do need enough to finish the job. It would be agony to get even closer--but not be able to continue and find closure--because we couldn't pay for more helicopter time, or supplies, or lodging.
You see, there is no "deep pocket", no wealthy benefactor in our circle. Only a small band of loving, tireless, heroic friends and family members who are each supporting us in any way they can.
So please don't stop telling our story to others who might help. If you "share" these updates on your facebook pages or with email contacts, you could reach many more people than I would ever be able to...
Thank you, thank you for all of the generous gifts you have sent our way so far. Where would we be without you?
Carrie & Ellie
I thought you would want to know that I spoke with a Press Democrat reporter last night (Elizabeth Cosin, who wrote that beautiful, long article about Steve a few weeks ago).
She wrote an update story that you might want to see in today's paper. Go to www.pressdemocrat.com,
"News" and you will see it there (second story down).
We so appreciate her offer to do this follow-up story and help spread the word re our efforts and fundraising needs.
Thank you, Elizabeth!!
THE INVISIBLE ARMY
I thought you might want to know about some of the behind-the-scenes activities that have been an important part of our search.
Our lead searcher, John, has cameras mounted on the bottom of his helicopter. So relatively early on in the process he spent a day flying over the search area while his camera took 7,000 photos (one every 2 seconds or so). Each of these photos has a GPS location attached (but the resolution isn't very high).
Then more recently, Jeff (my neighbor and friend), spent a day "hanging out" with John--literally "hanging out" of the helicopter taking 1,800 more photos--this time with his hand-held high resolution camera.
They took the doors off of the helicopter so it would be lighter and more maneuverable. Jeff said the trickiest part was when he would shift from looking down at the ground taking photos to sitting up. Immediate air sickness!
On the upside, the quality of this newest batch of photos is excellent, though the downside is that they have no GPS stamp. So...enter the invisible army.
There is a dedicated group of volunteer techies helping us out with all of the photos. (I assume John has used them on previous searches, as they definitely seem to know their stuff).
They have spent literally hundreds of hours poring over these images of rocky hillsides, manzanita bushes and trees--trying to discern what GPS location each significant photo might represent and looking for any small detail that might possibly give us a clue as to where Steve is. This seems like an insurmountable task to me!
When I picture them spending hours at home in front of their computers--all in an effort to help a family they have never met--I offer yet another prayer of thanks. I feel another deep layer of support underneath me...
So thank you, thank you to all of you who have been toiling at this tedious task, all for our benefit. Yes, you are an invisible bunch, but heroes nonetheless!
Sleep well (and rest those tired eyes!!)
Thank you all!! We so appreciate all of your tangible expressions of support. Every single one of you helps us get that much closer to bringing Steve home!
THE LONGEST (HALF+) MILE
I was talking with a friend this evening, and it made me realize that there are so many details about our search that I haven't shared.
So I thought I would try to do a bit more of that... I always knew Steve was persistent (some would call it "stubborn Irish"!). But I think that this last trek of his life is the ultimate example of this tenacious, determined quality I admire so much.
As best we can tell from the clues that John and our tracking team have examined, this is what happened: after he fell three or four stories down from the granite cliff at Billy's Peak, his momentum was such that he slid for another 15 feet.
Clearly injured, he had to sit on a rock a few feet from where his slide stopped. Then he lay down for awhile under a manzanita bush (after clearing out some of the brush that would have been scratching at his back and placing it in a neat stack).
Then he began carefully working his way down this most challenging terrain, trying to make it the mile and a half to the town below. 100 feet. 200 feet. (This is about as far as we thought he would get...).
He stopped to rest again-- making another neat stack (this one of wildflowers). 1000 feet.
All along, he was taking a pretty cautious route--not his usual efficient, more fast-paced gait--stepping around rocks instead of over them, walking around bushes instead of moving right through them. He seemed to be trying hard to avoid slipping or jarring his tender body.
2000 feet. Who would imagine that someone who had just fallen that far could keep moving? But Steve was definitely not a quitter. Overcoming an unusually heavy load of challenges as a child. Maintaining and growing a (sorely tested) life of faith. First child in his family of five kids to go to graduate school. Years of patient work alongside his clients as they moved through their own painful journeys.
3000 feet....maybe farther. In beautiful, remote, rugged terrain. This is as far as our trackers were able to make it when they ran out of time, food, and stamina on our last trip. And we still don't know how far down that mountain he got. All we know is that the mountain eventually won.
So that's my husband. Continuing on, hopeful that he could hike down that rugged slope to get medical care and reunite with friends and family...
Persistent. Determined. Courageous. I love that man.
The picture you see below is of Steve and Ellie, taken about 15 years ago in Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was a perfect day. Hiking along a lively, high mountain river, eating lunch together streamside, and then working our way back up the trail, finishing the afternoon with Ellie happily asleep in her backpack. Steve was so proud to be toting her around on his back, laughing as she kicked her legs in excitement when we first heard the sound of rushing water. Showing her the beauty of one of his favorite places...always those high, alpine destinations.
As I'm looking at this photo (below) tonight, I am struck at how similar the peak in the distance looks to Billy's Peak, in all its' awful glory. A strange foreshadowing for me...
Tomorrow will be two months since Steve's disappearance. The days have been moving achingly slowly since then, even though they are full of all kinds of search-related work, as well as the normal day-to-day responsibilities of managing a household and raising an active 16-year-old daughter.
Tonight I pray for resolution, as my spiritual, physical & emotional reserves are depleted beyond imagining. It has just been too long...
So thank you for encircling our little family with your gentle words and acts of practical support. At times like these, thinking of all of you who express your love in such a crystal clear way serves as a balm for my soul.
Thank you, thank you.....
It's amazing what 100 people can do (over only 6 days, no less!!) Thank you so much to all of you. As you can see, we are now at more than 60% of our goal. This was unimaginable to me a week ago! (I guess my faith still has some stretching to do...)
PREPARING FOR THE NEXT PHASE: So we have a few weeks now of preparation, waiting & praying until our entire team is available for the next phase of our search. Waiting is one of the hardest parts!
Probably our greatest concern right now is the weather. The next 10 days or so look warm and dry, so we are praying for that to hold!
Meanwhile, one of my first tasks has been to arrange accommodations for our large group. Meghan and Peter of Ripple Creek Resort in Coffee Creek have been such wonderful help to us and are holding their beautiful, large group cabin with windows looking out onto the forest (and charging us only a fraction of what it is worth...) What more could we ask for? It will be the ideal place for our search team to rest, recharge their batteries and prepare for the next day.
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS:
When I checked weeks ago about a place for our group of guys to stay for a night before heading up on the mountain and Ripple Creek was full, Meghan and Peter said they had heard our story and wanted to help in some way. So they offered their own home to use while they were out of town. These are people we had never even met!
Then last week, when it ended up taking one of our teams 6 hours to hike out (in the dark), they were absolutely depleted, and we all needed a place to spend the night.
So we went to Ripple Creek around 10:00 p.m. and drove around, trying to find the office. Couldn't find it, but did spot a large cabin that looked like a home. So I knocked on their door (knowing that the owners of the place, Meghan's parents, were very friendly & supportive of our cause).
Well, it turns out that the cabin was just that: a (rented) cabin. Two women were staying there, Jaynie & Irene. They kindly walked us through the dark over to the office so we could use the phone to call Meghan and Peter. Meghan immediately offered us a small, cozy cabin. My friend Kevin slept on the floor, yielding the only bed to our absolutely exhausted searcher Jeff.
So when Jaynie & Irene realized there wouldn't be a bed for me, they insisted I use one of the (many!) beds in the big group cabin. They invited me to join them in a game of scrabble (too tired to play), eat anything I wanted (too tired to eat), and let me know they wouldn't be offended it I just took a shower and went to bed (yes!!!).
For those of you who know me, I tend toward the shy side; so this is was way outside of my comfort zone. But if there is one lesson I am learning in spades through all of this, it is that the heart of God shines through all kinds of people. So I need to ask for what I need, and then graciously accept their love and kindness as those needs are met in a thousand ways I could never anticipate!
So to all of you, friends and strangers alike, thank you for being another vital part of the solution. Please do share our site via email, facebook or tweet to friends, family, coworkers or other community members. We still definitely need all the help we can get!
Carrie & Ellie
Okay, so it's time to start talking about "heroes"!!
My friend and neighbor, Jeff Braunstein, just came over wearing a headlamp, tools in hand, to change the headlight in my car--in the dark!
Then there is Dave Berg, who replaced my decrepit mailbox with a shiny new one today, after the mail lady made it clear it was time :)
Through all of these long weeks, while I have been out on leave, my good friend and colleague Cathy Barnard has been helping Steve's therapy clients work through their grief while coming alongside mine, encouraging them to continue to take care of themselves.
This is only a drop in the bucket. I have so many stories to tell of "God with skin on"!
But for now, suffice it to say that I am SURROUNDED by heroes, both here at home, and now all across the country.
So I want to say thank you to all of YOU, my heroes, for helping us persist in our search for Steve! We are much closer this evening than we were even this morning, all because of you...
Wow!!! We are almost to $11,000! It is so heartening to see fundraising moving forward as plans do!
Without the one, we wouldn't be able to do the other!
So thank you to all of you who are helping us get there. Please do continue to share our story with friends, family & coworkers. You are making it happen!
Carrie & Ellie
"John" has been busy writing up a report from yesterday's search and creating a revised "topo map" showing the progress of the past week.
When searching, he wears a GPS tracking apparatus so that he can go home and download the track of where they traveled on a given day. Then he adds in "pins" to point out where particular clues were seen (i.e. "perfect prints" or "bedding areas", etc...)
This is invaluable, as it helps us delineate and define where the search area should be for our next effort. Just to remind you: he is doing all of this on his own time, not asking a penny--only that we "pay it forward" someday.
Can't wait to have closure on this and be free to do that!!! (You may be a part of that too, as any funds we do not use for our search effort will be put into a foundation set up in Steve's name to support other families who are in our situation: searches suspended too soon, while loved ones remain missing.)
So thank you again for supporting us and spreading the word!!
Carrie & Ellie
Just heard back from our volunteer lead searcher. (He wants to remain anonymous, so I will just call him "John" from now on.)
He spent most of the day leaning out of the helicopter in the search area, looking for Steve (or any clues).
Sounds pretty tired!
The good news is he confirmed that some of Steve's footprints remain in the more protected areas. Whew!! (Unfortunately, the rain did wipe out a lot of them. But between the ones that remain and other "sign", i.e. broken branches, displaced rocks, etc..., he and the tracker feel that there is enough to warrant further "tracking".)
We had worried the prints might all be gone...so feeling thankful tonight that there is still a "trail" to follow at all!
The helicopter costs for today alone were about $1375. So thank you, again, to all of you who are supporting the search through your donations and through sharing Steve's story so others might be inspired to join in also.
We so appreciate every one of you!
Carrie & Ellie
Please pray for safety for our pilot (and friend!!!)
Carrie and Ellie
Hoping and praying! Our heroic team tracked Steve 3000 feet down the mountain a week ago. They had to stop as energy, time & other resources had run out. Then it rained almost 2 inches shortly thereafter.
Early this week our lead searcher is going back in to check on the tracks. This will require helicopter support. The plan is that the helicopter will fly him there, insert him via cable, then retrieve him when he is done. (This is all necessary because it is such a remote area that it takes about 6-10 hours all together to get in to and out of by foot--not leaving much time or energy to actually search.)
We are all holding our breaths--hoping and praying that the tracks are still readable. If they are, then the next steps are pretty clear. If they're not, then we have to consider a "plan B".
A huge "thank you" to all of you who have continued to spread the word of Steve's search and GoFundMe to your personal networks!! You are also "heroes" to us, as we couldn't continue without your help.
Carrie & Ellie Morris
They say it "takes a vollege ". Thanks to you we have raised over $8,000 so far. Almost half way to our goal! It is so heartening to be able to continue, instead of stalling, in our search for Steve!
Carrie and Ellie (& family!)
Remembering a fun-loving Dad...
Remembering a fun-loving Dad...
Looks like one of the helicopters is out of service, so the reconnaissance won't be happening Monday. But ground searching still a "go" for Tuesday, weather permitting.
Thank you so much, everyone! We are already more than a third of the way toward our goal.
Earlier this week a private search team located Steve's tracks. We so appreciate your support, as funds are needed for helicopter access to the search site due to its remoteness.
The money we raise will also be used to hire a human remains dog and for supplies. A team of 5 searchers will continue to track Steve until he is located. Any money left over from our search will go to fund searches for other families...(something I know Steve would feel very good about).
While many of you have offered to help us search for Steve, it is very important that you don't go into the search area. It will spoil the tracks, and it's not safe because there is an aggressive mountain lion in the area.
Thank you so much for your help.
The Morris family
Good news! We have the next phase of our search planned. On Monday our lead searcher and a pilot will be doing low flying reconnaissance in the area where we had to stop following Steve's trail.
We are hoping that he won't be hidden under too much foliage, and they will spot him. It will be painful no matter what, but closure will be a good thing. Please pray for vision, judgment & safety for this amazing (volunteer) guy and the pilot.
What an amazing day! Thanks to all of you, we have enough money raised today to fund our next leg: aerial reconnaissance to follow up the ground searching of the past few days. We are feeling much more hopeful than when this day began!
Carrie & Ellie Morris
As I begin making arrangements for a place to stay when we make our next big search effort, I am heartened to know so many of you will be helping us cover the costs!
Steve Morris went missing on a church camping trip in the Trinity Alps wilderness on August 2, 2014. Official search and rescue efforts have turned up nothing and they suspended the search after 5 days.
A private search team has located Steve's tracks. Money is needed for helicopter access to the search site due to its remoteness. Funds will also be used to hire a human remains dog and for supplies. A team of 5 searchers will continue to track Steve until he is located. Any funds left over will go to fund searches for other families.
It is important that you don't go into the search area. It will spoil the tracks and there is an aggressive mountain lion in the area.
There is a facebook page called "Steve Morris Search" where you can follow the progress.
Thank you for your help.
The Morris family