Today I went walking...taking the route Jim probably took, based upon having been seen heading west on one of the roads in our neighborhood that leads toward the desert trails around The Village of Oak Creek on that morning of October 19th, that seems so long ago now. Then onto the Kel Fox trail--again--where his scent had been picked up by the blood hound, Aggie, six days after his disappearance. So...it seems quite certain that he went that way.
But...did he continue in that direction? We did much searching in that direction and beyond with no success. Or did he change his mind and go someplace else? Early in this journey Ali and Sami discovered some video footage from October 19th taken by cameras in the Ranger Station parking lot, where the trailhead for one of our favorite hikes "Woods Canyon" is located. There was a man wearing the same colored clothing we believe Jim to have, who walked onto that trail that morning at exactly 9:31 a.m. with a small backpack that appeared to be rather full. Given the facts that we searched that trail and had two helicopters flyovers on Day 3, that the quality of the video makes recognition impossible, and that Aggie got no hit on that trailhead, the clothing color match was considered coincidental, as khaki and navy are pretty standard hiking gear colors.
However, it has remained in my head that this man could have been Jim. So I had to have more information. I wondered if it was physically possible for him to have gone to both of those places on that fateful morning? How long would it take to do so? That is what I set out to discover on foot this day. If I could do it, Jim could do it. Well, the trek took me two hours. If Jim left the house at 7:30, he could have gone both places and been that man at the trailhead at 9:31 a.m.
But, could he really have left the house only one hour after I left for work? How long does it take to do a couple of chores and pack for such a leaving? So, still no certainty--just one more piece in the puzzle. Beautiful day. Beautiful place. So much mystery.