From Bluff Country News:
11/17/2010 10:37:00 AM
Update on the lost hiker;
Journey vs. Destination
By Lisa Brainard
Some of you have asked for an update on my online backpacking acquaintance James Nelson of Chicago. He went missing in the Holy Cross Wilderness area near Vail, Colorado, sometime shortly after Oct. 3. That's the day he headed up the trail into the rugged wilderness.
I'm sorry to report there is no more information on James. An initial, four-day concentrated search and rescue mission on his likely route turned up nothing. Experienced individuals still continued to go up into the wilderness to search, even as the weather turned bad and winter snows came. Their last report shared a snow depth of around 2 ft. - and undoubtedly it's deeper by now.
Hunters, too, roamed the wilderness at times during elk-hunting season. Still, nothing has turned up. It certainly bothers everyone that no single physical clue has been discovered.
Barring an unlikely find of something over winter, it looks like the horrific situation - the waiting and wondering and praying for some sign - will continue for family and friends. Unless there's some unusual and fortunate turn of events, the SAR teams will return for a search and recovery mission as snows go off the mountains in late spring and early summer.
Vigils are now being held for James. Family hosted one in Iowa City on Nov. 6. There's another at a seminary in Chicago on Nov. 17. James attended a seminary and earned a theological degree. You may recall I wrote he was working at the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) headquarters in Chicago, where his fiancée also works, when he took this trip.
Following the Iowa City vigil, James' sister - Christy Nelson Waters - wrote a note in a forum. I hope you'll send your thoughts to this family after reading her words:
As the weather starts to get worse... I want you to hold a little of James in your hearts through the winter. James' family is still keeping hope that some clue will surface. It may have to wait till the weather gets better... which is very hard to swallow.
I thank those that have spent time looking or thinking like James.
I hope to keep this forum alive with the hope that some clues will turn up - or James.
I also hope to come out this spring or summer and hike some of the trail. I was not allowed to hike with search and rescue and would like to see the beautiful mountains that my brother loves.
As the snow falls I ask this little favour from you all... Keep the hope alive! Keep trying to bring James down from the mountain so our family can rest in peace. I will forever carry this with me and it will forever be a part of me.
God bless you all and keep you safe. "Hike the Hike and brew the beer," James would always say.
A toast to you all!
As to the rest of us - yes, keep James and his family in your hearts and minds. And always try to research and prepare as best you can to "hike the hike..."