PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. – A Colorado man along with his dog set out on a hike in August. Neither he nor his dog ever returned home. The hiker was found dead two weeks ago, but his loyal canine remained alive and was by his body when he was located, officials said.
Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs, went hiking with his dog, a white Jack Russell terrier named Finney, up Blackhead Peak, a mountain just east of his home, on Aug. 19. When he went missing, search and rescue crews were inserted via helicopter just below the mountain peak. They moved west toward the trailhead where Moore’s car was found parked in their hunt for the missing man, Taos Seach and Rescue (TSAR) said. The search proved fruitless and was eventually called off, Fox News reported.
Rich Moore had been hiking up the 12,500-foot mountain on Aug. 19. (Colorado Missing Person Organization)
On Oct. 30, more than two months after the hiker and his dog disappeared, a hunter found Moore’s body, the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office said, according to the Denver Gazette.
The discovery was made in the Rio Blanco drainage, which is approximately 2.5 miles east of the peak. Authorities noted that Finney was found next to Moore’s body and was still alive. The pup was taken to a veterinarian and has subsequently been reunited with the family.
The sheriff’s office said Moore’s cause of death has not yet been determined.
Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, a TSAR member, said she and her certified search K9 AkioYodasan were part of the initial team trying to find Moore, Fox reported.
“It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter,” she said in a post on TSAR’s Facebook page. “He was found 2.5 miles East of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted.”
Blackhead Peak is located on the western boundary of the South San Juan Wilderness in Archuleta County. It has an elevation of 12,500 feet.