We don’t have many things to report:
As we thought, the person in Arizona we mentioned in the last post was not Steve. We also got a call about someone in New Mexico, but it turned out that this man had tattoos. Unless Steve got several tattoos on the sly, we don’t think that sounds like him.
There have been no further signs of any Otter on the Florida Trail. Just in case, we’ve been in touch with people in Alabama (their trails connect the Florida Trail and the AT) and the AT in case that Otter was Steve and he is headed up that way. We have also alerted the PCT community (thank you, Muk Muk for your great efforts on that) in case he’s headed in that direction.
February 9 was Steve’s 60th birthday—one of those milestone birthdays. One very slight possibility is that this birthday was somehow significant to his disappearance and he is doing something he always wanted to do or possibly got depressed and is on a walkabout to work things out. If anyone heard Steve say that he wanted to do something on a birthday, there was something he always wanted to do before he turned a certain age, etc., we’d love to hear about it.
We will, of course, continue to follow any leads that come our way. In the meantime, we’ll be spending the next few weeks getting organized for when the snow melts on the CDT. Northbounders will be starting the trail in just a few weeks, and they will obviously be the best people to keep their eyes peeled for any signs (again, the image at the top of this post is Steve’s tent). We have kept in touch with the volunteer NM Search and Rescue (SAR) community, and they will be out there as well. And several friends of Steve also want to search. We will have some system on this web page so people will know what sections will be/have been searched and can let us know both their planned search areas and when they have been out. We will let you know as soon as these pages are done.
Unless some lead turns up or there is something else to report, we probably won’t post until we have these web pages done.
As always, many, many thanks to everyone for their help and support.