Missing Colorado Hiker Deceased, Dog Alive By His Side

A hiker went missing in Colorado this past August and was discovered deceased on Monday — with his trusty dog still at his side.

Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs, decided to tackle Blackhead Peak back on Aug. 19. With his dog, Finney, in tow, he set off for what would become his final adventure, according to Taos Search and Rescue.

Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, a member of TSR, took part in the initial canvassing effort to find Moore and his pet, and she took her own certified search dog with her. She remarked, “It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter.” 

The search for Moore spanned more than two months, with a rather intensive kickoff during the peak summer season. At one point, a team was taken by helicopter to the mountaintop where authorities believed Rich may have last been. Scouring the land near where his vehicle was parked, they turned up nothing.

On October 30, a local hunter stumbled upon Moore’s body in the Rio Blanco drainage — just 2.5 miles east of the infamous Blackhead Peak Moore had set out to explore months earlier. By his side, Moore’s beloved Jack Russell terrier, Finney, kept vigil. 

Colorado’s Blackhead Peak is roughly 12,500 feet in the air, shaping part of the western boundary to South San Juan Wilderness in Archuleta County.

The story has led many to recall a similar case from 2021. Joshua Hall was 27 when he went for a hike in Colorado with his own best furry friend and never came home. The dog was found without his owner, and all search efforts turned up no sign of Hall. He was later found, deceased, having succumbed to the elements and died from hypothermia.

Investigations are still underway to determine how Moore died, but no authorities have no reason to suspect foul play. As for Finney, he was reunited with Moore’s family following receipt of veterinary treatment.

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