James "Randy" Udall, the brother of Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, has been missing since last week after he went out on a solo hike through the Wind River Mountain range in western Wyoming.
The Sublette County sheriff's office, along with two helicopters and two dog teams, launched a search for Udall after his family reported him missing on June 28, two days after he was supposed to return from his trek.
It was not unlike Udall, 61, to go off into the wilderness alone, friends said.
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"You can't fathom the amount of time he spends outside doing hard, long journeys," Auden Schendler, who began hiking with Randy Udall at age 22, told the Washington Post.
"His thesis is that you have to stay outside, keep going even though you're getting older. He'd be the guy you'd want to find a solution, and we certainly hope that's what he's doing now."
The Udall family is practically famous in the American West, known for their penchant for politics and their love of the outdoors. Udall's father and his uncle Stewart, who was interior secretary during the Kennedy administration, are often credited as the pioneers of the conservation movement in the West.
"It was the Udall family that helped bring environmental issues into prominence and develop natural approaches and solutions," Howard Boigon, a natural gas lawyer from Denver who has worked with Randy Udall and his senator brother, told the Post. "Their offspring have continued that tradition."
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But politics never interested Randy Udall. In 1994, he founded the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) with the goal of promoting renewable energy in western Colorado.
"He never played on the political history he had," Mona Newton, the executive director of CORE, told the Post. "He’s a leader, but not because he’s from a famous family."
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