Lost Palladium Wedding Ring Found in the Santa Cruz Mountains

  • from Santa Cruz (California, United States)
The ring's resting spot, 25' from the crash site.

The ring’s resting spot, 25′ from the crash site.


One of only two people happier than me for this recovery.

One of only two people happier than me for this recovery.


2013-11-01 11.05.53Ted had been riding his mountain bike in the Santa Cruz mountains when he took a heavy, violent slam. After recovering, he was heading home when noticed that he had lost his palladium wedding band somewhere along the way. After talking over the circumstances with him, it seemed very likely that it had flown off during the crash and still lay hidden somewhere in that area. We agreed to meet up Friday morning for the 15 minute hike up to the spot. Although it seemed semi-certain the ring was probably somewhere in the crash area I still had some reservations about the likelihood of locating it. I’ve done several searches up there and it is always an extremely difficult task. The deep redwood duff and endless snags makes it almost impossible at times to search efficiently and completely. Still, Ted was obviously very anxious to recover his ring so I mentally prepared myself to make my best effort at doing just that. After the hike up we came to the spot of his mishap. I looked up the trail he had come down just prior to crashing and it looked to me to be closer to a cliff than a trail ! I was stunned at the fact he hadn’t been seriously hurt but quickly turned my attention to what we were up against. Luckily a good part of the area was semi-open but the heavy canopy of redwoods had done their branch-shedding best to make sure it wouldn’t be an easy search by any stretch. I first scanned the trail, the clearest area, to eliminate it then I moved off into the much more challenging area along the left side. He had been wearing the ring on his left hand so I figured that side to be the likeliest area for the ring to be in. After 20 minutes of snag infested searching I had done all I could, to my satisfaction, to eliminate this area and turned my attention to the right side of the trail. This side had the added challenge of a narrow, deep cut from rain runoff that contained some spots that would leave the ring unfindable if it had had the misfortune of ending up there. I had to purge that possibility from my thinking and keep my focus. Besides, the small ravine was a good 12-15′ off the trail, surely the ring couldn’t have gone that far ? After 25 minutes more and I was thinking I had searched as much area as was reasonable to assume the ring to be in but experience has taught me that lost rings rarely behave reasonably. I could sense Ted was losing hope and preparing himself for a disappointing outcome, I wanted very badly to find his ring and turn his day completely around. I asked Ted to begin clearing some snags from a secondary, less likely area that I was planning on searching next and then told him I was going to make one more pass along the right side just to be certain. I steeled my focus and started up my last grid line. A few steps in I received a signal, I wasn’t very confident this was my target but I’d never hunted palladium before and since I had to check every signal anyway I kneeled down and pulled at the duff. The forest under the heavy redwood canopy is pretty dark so I couldn’t see the object I had located very well but after a few seconds, a couple inches down, a silver-colored ring with braiding appeared and I knew I had hit pay dirt ! The ring had flown over the ravine and landed a good 25′ away from where Ted had impacted when he crashed ! I looked over towards Ted, pointed down and asked him “does this look familiar ?” He immediately spotted the band and yelled out “No way !”. He grabbed the ring and me up into a huge hug so fast I didn’t have time to react. My injured ribs from my own slam on a skateboard reminded me they were still mending but a little pain was definitely worth this reward.

2 Replies to “Lost Palladium Wedding Ring Found in the Santa Cruz Mountains”

  1. Ted says:

    Scott, what can I say but **THANK YOU**. I love reading your description of the hunt. And love even more that we were successful! **SO** pleased to have this ring back, so thankful to you!!

  2. Mark Rubey says:

    Good job Scott! Looks like both of you need safer hobbies!

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