OK, I talked with my friend who went out and picked him up. She gave me the scoop and the poop.
So, after I moved back to Oregon, the Biologist moved in with her and her hubby. J's house was where we were going to stage when originally planning the departure of the ride, so this news wasn't new. But, apparently, once he moved his stuff in he just kinda disappeared for days on end. J would have to call him to see if he was OK. He wasn't riding the horses or doing any kind of planning... and he was spending a lot of time with the "new" girlfriend (kinda figured he was cheating there at the end). So, all of the riding we had done over the winter became moot. He rode twice in the 2 months leading up to his departure. His justification? The horses will get in shape out on the ride. Um.... OK. Whatever. Never mind that the pack horse is carrying his heaviest weight when you leave... but OK, whatever gets you through the day.
All the while, J is pushing him to plan and do this ride. He's been thinking and researching this ride for quite a few years. I only came into it last year... but that's when the majority of the practical planning got done. Only I left at the beginning of April with a lot of bases still not covered. Apparently, he didn't bother.... but that's for later.
So he finally decides he's going to leave on May 22nd and off he goes. He makes it 3 days out there before finally having to call in reinforcements. As you know, he's extremely dehydrated and suffering from sun stroke. The reason? He only took 1 liter of water with him. Yup, you heard me right... only 1 liter. The original plan was for each of us to carry 6 liters for drinking and 2 for cooking to be refilled as the opportunity arose. The other problem? He never called the forest service to see where water was. Again, on the list of things to do... but he didn't. One friend pointed out that if I had gone, I would have been doing all the work. Probably true.
So, he had to ride out of the canyon he was in. He stumbled across a farmer with a cell phone, called J and the rest is history.
It took him around a week to recovery, J reported. However, since that time he's been doing nothing except sitting around and watching TV or disappearing to his "friend's" house. He hasn't touched his horses since returning (J is doing all the feeding and watering). His panniers are still packed. His hygiene is questionable at best (not showering, wearing the same thing over and over, not washing his sheets, etc.).
J suggested that he just get out there and do an overnight... just to "get back in the saddle" so to speak. He said no... his pack horse he was having to drag around and he didn't want to have to deal with that again. Well, poor horse wasn't in shape to carry all that weight, of course he was sore and reluctant. Anyway, he hasn't ridden since.
Hell... my horses are 3 hours away right now and they are getting more attention that his are. Very sad. I guess his plan now is to wait until his dad can get some time off and help him move back to the mid-west. Good thing he's got a job already, or I'd be concerned about his depression level.
And that is that. An epic fail. The sad thing is, I'm pretty sure the outcome would have been different if I had been on the ride. I'd still like to try doing bits and pieces of it. I don't think I'll ever have the luxury of taking 3 months off to do it all in one go, but maybe a week here and a week there. Could be really great.
Oh, and I got an email from the company I'm interviewing with in Bend... should have a decision by Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed....