This morning (Wednesday) we received an email from a woman saying that she had seen raven on monday morning just as she was pulling out of the Lexington Elementary School in the area by Lexington Reservoir south of Los Gatos. She described a large black poodle, moving fast, crossing the street several times and then running away. She saw a collar and thought it was odd that this dog would be alone. She was not aware then that Raven was missing but did figure it out based on some sort of electronic networking we as a group have done - perhaps through facebook or similar.
Since the report seemed very credible; since my father is in town helping us with child care (Monica is away on business); and since Jackie was available to do tracking (originally she was scheduled to be out of town this week), I arranged for Jackie to meet me at the Lexington school with Elaine. Jackie got there about 1:30 and we were quickly able to determine that the sighting was Raven (as Dino and Dot easily picked up the scent heading down Old Santa Cruz Highway south from the school driveway. I recorded the days track which appears below:
R6 at EveryTrail
Map created by EveryTrail: Share and Plan your Trips
Starting at the elementary school (which by the way google locates inaccurately on the map) about 10:20am this past monday , raven quickly crossed over onto a spit of land adjacent to the reservoir where roads were being constructed for houses. She tried to go down to the water but didn't seem to make it. A layer of burr-covered dried out plants by the water's edge was sticking to Dino and Dot and our shoelaces and it seems likely that Raven - to whom these sharp burrs would easily adhere - would have picked up a couple thousand of them in a matter of minutes. The presence of these burrs may have made the short distance impassible.
She doubled back and went along a little inlet and then back onto the roads that were being build for houses. She moved through the woods from these houses and came across a graphiti covered concrete holding basin the size of a swimming pool adjacent to the road but down the slope so as to be impossible to see from the road. She moved past the basin up a driveway and came out by the CDF Alma Station Helibase into which she went exploring. She moved along the periphery of some of the buildings. As we moved into the station we spoke with some firefighters there all of whom were very nice but no one had seen her.
She moved down the slope behind the base and picked up a trail there. Several times she did loops from the trail towards the water and then ended up doubling back to the trail. As she came into a large dirt parking lot directly to the north of the CDF station she did several of these loops. We think the narrow trails there, the upslope portions of which were covered with people's garbage may have attracted her attention as they would have smelled of food. But several times she looped and came back to the parking lot not finding anything satisfying there.
She continued to move north from there and ultimately made her way into a marshy area where the remains of an old concrete boat ramp or similar were located. We spoke with some fishermen there who had not seen her. Near the water (which was easily accessible here) we saw some very large animal tracks none of which looked terribly friendly. The largest of these was made by a pad-footed animal with claws and was easily 4-5 inches across in width (see the photo of the print with my shoe for comparison - also notice the burrs on my shoelaces). Perhaps a mountain lion? Hard to say, but nothing I'd like myself or my dog to meet at night or during the day either.
Raven pressed forward through a very marshy section before turning back around, heading south again and ending back up at the CDF station again. This time she found their living quarters and mess hall and did a few loops around there, going up the porches.
It was starting to get dark about then and neither Jackie nor myself had any desire to be out in the woods at dusk. We continued to track just a bit from the CDF station - passed several houses under construction and then found that concrete basin again - went up the hill towards the road and came out by the CDF station for a third time. This is where we ended for the day.
The last time we saw this sort of crossing paths we tried to set up a feeding station. It did not work, but it seemed like it was still a good idea so that is what we did again tonight with the kind permission of several of the men and women and one of the captains manning the station. With any luck she will find it and have a decent meal.
Though raven is now expending a lot of energy to move about, she isn't moving anywhere in particular. Her movements seem very random (more than before), with lots of loops and with a frenetic character as though she cannot rest. Jackie says she is probably very hungry and this is why (combined with her general tendency to move quickly anyway) she keeps going on like this. It's all about finding the next bit of garbage she can eat now. No time for anything else.
Since we now have a pretty recent sighting we also have a basis for doing another findtoto.com robocall in that area, so Monica scheduled one which apparently went out this afternoon while I was out tracking. Perhaps our elementary school mom is not the only person who has seen Raven.
By going south into the Lexington Reservoir area, raven has left the relatively safe confines of the Los Gatos to Campbell trail and entered open and far less populated territory. There are real wild animals there and much less food. This is not a good move for her to have made, but on the other side of the coin, at least we have some sense of where she is recently. before this we had no sightings for two full weeks and were really feeling that there was nothing to do to advance the search but post flyers semi-randomly in areas that seemed logical. Now we know to focus our efforts near the reservoir.
We know that Raven moves quickly and does not seem to stay in any place. So tomorrow we will track again and perhaps see if she has moved on from Lexington. I hope not. I hope she finds our food and the nice firefighters at the CDF station. but anything could happen.