Lakeview resident Greg Randolph is lucky to be alive, as he was stranded out in the high desert for several days in what originally started out as a day trip.
On the morning of Sunday, July 14, Randolph and his two dogs started out on a trek to Guano Creek Slough.
Before starting out, Randolph stopped at Subway for a sandwich and picked up a bag of ice, as it was warm that day and he wanted to keep the bottles of water he had brought cool.
Upon arrival at the Slough, he ventured up a rocky path, when he noticed a big rock in front of him and his car became stuck.
Cell service was nonexistent in that area located out past Adel, so he began to try and dig his way out with a shovel that he had since he didn’t have a jack, but to no avail.
“Right around that time, I realized I didn’t have my medication with me,” Randolph said, as he is a type one diabetic. “I also didn’t have any food with me.”
As the temperature began to soar into the 90’s, he rolled down the seats in his vehicles and put out sleeping bags as he knew that they were going to have to spend the night, so he let the dogs out to run around
“In the middle of the night, I heard screaming which to me sounded like a cougar,” he said. “I had never heard a cougar before and that’s what I thought it was. But I knew that as long as we stayed in the jeep, we would be ok because I also had my pistol.”
The next two days, with nobody passing through, he began to change up his plan, once he realized the chances of somebody coming were slim and he wasn’t going to be able to dig his car out of the rut; so on Tuesday night he finally decided that they couldn’t wait any longer.
“I was talking to the puppies and told them that we were going to have to walk out of here,” Randolph recalled. “I remember from driving in that it was going to be at least 20 miles to the Shirk Ranch.”
Randolph recalled not being able to sleep well at all that evening. Wednesday morning at approximately 6 a.m. he set out with his two dogs, his remaining water in a pillowcase and his gun for protection from cougars, wolves and rattlesnakes. By that evening he made it to the old Shirk Ranch Bunkhouse, which had since been abandoned and set up camp for the evening.
“At some point during the night my dogs started barking and wouldn’t stop,” Randolph said. “I thought that there was something outside and it was going around the house and I couldn’t sleep thinking that there was something out there.”
The next morning, he felt very weak and was visibly shaking as he was wearing his same clothes from Sunday and began the trek towards Hwy 140, hoping that they would encounter a car. Randolph did two tours in Vietnam and thinks that experience helped him carry on.
“At some point I had fired off three shots with my gun because that was the international SOS signal,” he recalled. “Well the shots scared off one of my dogs and he took off the 20 or so miles back to the jeep.”
Randolph walked some more before passing out.
“The next thing I knew, I felt someone pushing on my shoulder,” he said.
Tomas Quinones, a cyclist who had embarked on a 360 mile biking/camping trip was the one who found Randolph and had tried to get him to some shade, setting up his tent, but Randolph couldn’t move.
Luckily Quinones had a personal locator beacon that he was able to get an ambulance and a Sheriff’s Deputy to respond.
“I remember the doctors telling me that my kidneys were failing and my liver was in really bad shape,” he said.
Once law enforcement had the opportunity to interview Randolph, they were able to locate the vehicle and the missing dog and get the dog to the animal hospital where both dogs were reunited. The High Desert 4-wheelers came out and rescued his jeep.
Randolph stayed in the hospital for a week and now that it’s a month after the accident, he admits his memory isn’t 100 percent. He has his good days and bad days, but he was thankful for the medical staff, the High Desert 4-wheelers, doctors, nurses, law enforcement and his family, friends and neighbors for helping out.
“Tomas saved my life and I’m forever grateful to him.” He said.