“Ca-BAAAAA-YOOO, you pain in the aaaaaaasssss! Where the hell are you?”
Now that fast legs like Skaggs and the Courys were on his trail, we were sure we’d find Caballo by dark. When we didn’t, when we were trudging back defeated that evening, we were so baffled and dispirited that weird speculation didn’t sound so weird anymore. Scott Jurek began wondering if a drug cartel had contracted a hit on Caballo, planning it for his home turf to avoid detection. Barefoot Ted left me a message hinting that maybe it was no accident; after all, Gila was Geronimo’s hideaway and Caballo always said he wanted to end his days Apache-style with one final walk into the wilderness. Someone I’d never met emailed to remind me of the opening epigram in Born to Run: “The best runner leaves no trace.”
Yeah, right; Luis wanted action, not melodrama. As soon as we reached base, he went in to the search director. “Look, you’ve got some of the best trail runners in the country right outside your door,” he said. “They’re an unbelievable resource. You ought to hear what they have to say.” To his tremendous credit, the director grabbed a clipboard and was soon standing in a circle of ultrarunners, fielding suggestions.
“Did you take Caballo’s dog out?” Luis asked.
“Did you walk him, or run him?”
“We walked him. He got a scent, but it turned out he was tracking a deer.”
“That’s because you walked him,” Luis said. “Dogs behave differently when they’re running. They’re moving too fast to get distracted. If he’s running, out of habit he’ll go where Daddy went.”