Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27/17]

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby zippetydude » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:20 pm

I followed the link to the SAR page and saw the image of people being lifted in and over-exposed individuals being lifted out..

I am confused.

These are the good guys...we want these great people to live, right? Why are they wearing long pants and t-shirts? I would offer sunblock 100 (Neutrogena, it's awesome!) and lightweight shorts and tank tops. Carry an umbrella and a misty mate. For heaven's sake, it's over a hundred degrees out there. They could stay out there all day equipped as I described and never feel the heat at all. I don't doubt the intentions of those in charge, but I do have experience on Skyline in August, and I can tell you how to do hikes in blistering desert heat with little to no risk and a surprising degree of comfort. Just sayin'...take care out there all you SAR folks, and if you need some shorts, tank tops, sunblock, umbrellas and a misty mate, post right here and I'll run by Walmart and be out there in about 2 hours. :) The lives of the two lost souls being endangered is already two too many.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby OtherHand » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:54 pm

Most teams have some sort of adopted, official uniform. And the more closely under the Sheriff's control the more formal it gets. The idea behind the long sleeve shirts and pants is protection. Yeah, it's a warmer setup, but the idea is to move at a comfortable pace for the conditions, including temperature. Remember that much SAR work is off trail, and long pants may be necessary despite the heat. Umbrellas and misters are good for very hot, dry environments, IF you aren't already carrying many extra pounds of gear you likely won't need....but may.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby OtherHand » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:17 am

One of the news outlets this morning had an update and quoted a park spokesman, George Land, that the two had entered the park around 6:45 AM on Thursday. Since the park entry stations aren't usually manned prior to 8 AM that info must have come from the cameras.

This newly released data has significant implications. Such an early start time suggests they likely knew what they were doing in terms of hiking in the desert. Do a quick hike and get out before it's too hot. So yeah, some sense. But the cell phone ping around 4 PM that same day is disturbing as there's no way someone is going to be hiking all day in that weather. A few days ago it was reported the ping was located in the general vicinity of the trailhead so wasn't considered overly helpful by the SAR folks, I guess under the assumption that area was well searched and the couple must have moved on.

I've found it difficult to think of a scenario where both of them could become incapacitated in the same location and not found by now. Not impossible, just very improbable. To me, it seems more likely they ventured off the few trails in the area (either deliberately or losing their way), one of them is incapacitated or injured, and the other goes for help and in turn gets lost. The problem with this is that JTNP typically finds 97% of people lost in the park (I don't know the exact number but it's very high, as it should be). By splitting up it now becomes a situation of TWO individual lost people, each with a probability of being found of 97%, so it would be very likely that at least one of them would have been found by now. But they haven't. Weird.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:40 am

Very sad story, hope the ending is not what would be expected at this point. The early start does suggest they had some sense. As I said elsewhere, I find it amazingly easy to become lost, and while I prefer to hike with map, compass and GPS in my pack, there are times when I need all the help I can get.

I think I am with Zip on the clothing issue. Though I prefer a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, collar and sleeves rolled up, tails out. And then there are the search dogs. I am sure the dogs are handled properly, but I do have issues with employing search dogs in this weather.

105 in Portland yesterday, 112 in Medford. I suspect many people up there don't have AC. I'm very happy to be in Alpine, near San Diego.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:56 am

OtherHand, thank you for that info--which news outlet are you referring to? This morning could not find anything in my local KESQ. I agree with you that the 6.45 a.m. start time is important info as it suggests they planned a hike. And I also agree that the continuing failure to find them is very odd. Myth's suggestion of them falling in or being trapped in one of the many crevice-type rock pile 'holes' suggests one answer, as does the idea that they went xc in some very unexpected direction. But I am also wondering about foul play. This is deeply puzzling. It must be hell for their families right now. I hope today brings some answers.

Ed--105 in Portland? What is this world coming to??
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Myth » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:04 am

When you go cross country you need long sleeves and pants, almost always. Especially in the desert where everything is pointy. Like Ed I wear a very lightweight long-sleeved shirt. My skin is cooler under the fabric than it is baking in the sun slathered in sunblock. Shirt tails out - absolutely. If I'm carrying my reflective umbrella, sleeves rolled up, else the sleeves are down with cuffs unbuttoned to increase airflow. The shirt is oversized, so it is billowy and airy and hangs down over the backs of my hands for sun protection. For pants I wear lightweight zip-offs, again oversized, cuff velcro tight around the ankles but side zippers partially unzipped to increase airflow. Protects my legs against scratchy vegetation but still keeps me cool. And either my reflective umbrella, which is hands-free attached to a pack strap, or the biggest brim hat I can find, white. When I can, I put the umbrella up and the hat hangs from my sternum strap or waist belt. When I a narrower profile or it is windy, the umbrella collapses to a small cylinder and is stuffed in a pocket and the hat goes on.

I'm quite the sight in the desert, but I'm fairly comfortable.

I never ever ever wear cotton in the desert. Some people say cotton is nice and cool in summer but I am one of nature's super sweaty humans. Cotton just wraps me in a nasty, wet, hot, non-breathing, clingy wad of misery. I sweat faster than the cotton can dry out. Hence it is synthetics for me!

OtherHand - I've read reports that their footprints were found in several areas in the Park. Without knowing for sure I suspect that the 4pm ping time happened as they arrived at the trailhead, or shortly after they entered the area, after spending most of the day elsewhere in the Park. Your theory that one became incapacitated and the other one lost is among my likely scenarios too. The other is that they became trapped by the terrain together.

I wonder if they checked video for the whole day at the entrances? When we visit JT in summer we usually start at the crack of dawn, do something in the morning, pop out over lunch, and head back in in the late afternoon. JT is not remote and a huge blue Powerade from Del Taco refreshes and revives.

I considered foul play ... but both of them? And even in the case of foul play, the victims can be found.

EDIT: NPR quotes the Park as stating search efforts will continue until the end of the week, at least:

"Meantime, highs on Wednesday are once again expected to hit the triple digits, as the search for Nguyen and Orbeso goes on.

"We are continuing the search until at least the end of the week," said Land."

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/ ... mperatures

EDIT 2: From the OC Register:

“He’s in very good shape, always carries knives when hiking and is a survivalist,” Young said. “He is also the most respectful, honest, and straight-forward person you will ever meet.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/ ... mperatures

So possibly at least one of them has some outdoor skills, though "survivalist" can mean lots of different things, and in cases where your knowledge may not be appropriate for the terrain, may place you in potential danger, too.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:47 am

That's some interesting info, Myth, and thank you for posting.

re foul play--a murder/suicide does seems possible to me. I'm thinking of the case of Corwin, who was murdered by her boyfriend in the desert near JT, her body hidden inside an old mine shaft. I could conceive a scenario where the guy takes the girl on a hike to a rock formation, shoots her, dumps her body in a crevice, and then climbs in himself and shoots himself. Granted, I can't see why he would bother to conceal their bodies, and even hidden, you'd think the dogs would get a scent.

If they both were victims of a kidnapping, that gets even more convoluted, but as I mentioned, there is this ongoing and very weird case of a young couple from Indio who vanished, seemingly into thin air, their car left abandoned by the freeway in Banning, and superficially, the couple are rather similar to this one. I'm troubled by the fact that in both cases, the girl was young and very pretty. As you mentioned Myth, JT is close enough to civilization that you can run and buy a soft drink, and that kind of wilderness/urban interface often leads to crime. In this case, let's hope not, and that there's a simpler explanation.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Wildhorse » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:29 am

Hi Cynthia, I find it interesting to observe the human interest in cases in which people disappear, just as we are seeing here. A few days ago, I happened to read a short story by Patrick Modiano (nobel, 2014) that involved disappearance. It is in Paris Review. I mention it because I know you are interested in literature and writing, and in disappearances and what they reveal about existence and ourselves. It is very fine writing.

Just imagine the tormented feelings of their friends and families. It hurts to do that.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby OtherHand » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:36 pm

Myth wrote:OtherHand - I've read reports that their footprints were found in several areas in the Park. Without knowing for sure I suspect that the 4pm ping time happened as they arrived at the trailhead, or shortly after they entered the area, after spending most of the day elsewhere in the Park. Your theory that one became incapacitated and the other one lost is among my likely scenarios too. The other is that they became trapped by the terrain together.



I think the quote you're referring to is just sloppy reporting put forth in the context of them being lost and going around in circles. I don't think JTNP meant to imply their footprints were found in any other places in the park beyond the present search area.

An enlightening exercise when one of these incidents cis under way is to monitor the situation as it evolves via a Google News search using, say the subjects names. You can set the results to show news reports in chronological order. It is often amazing to see how far coverage goes across the world, mainly by copy and paste (I saw a Russian outlet with a terribly worded plagiarized piece of something KTLA put out). It's equally amazing to see how some outlets misinterpret or decide to "improve" on the info they have and just report wrong crap. It's a good practice in BS filtering.

I'm not inclined to buy the idea they wandered around the park during the day and didn't start their hike until 4 PM. First, I don't see any way they'd want to get up that early to get into the park unless they wanted to knock out a hike first thing. Afterward there's plenty of time to cruise around the park in air conditioned comfort. Further, if they had been doing a park drive prior to a hike at 4 PM they likely would have pinged a cell tower at least somewhere, and they didn't.

I don't know who their cell carriers are, but generally there's good cell coverage from the higher terrain of the area they're in. That's because it's so close to the edge of the park and civilization. So had they gained much elevation then cell towers should have been pinged. To me this favors looking in low, canyonesque terrain.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Myth » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:29 pm

Interesting thoughts!

I used to work in the IT department of a newspaper for many years. The reporters I worked with were extremely diligent in putting out accurate, well-represented information. But not all newsrooms are like that, and I certainly think that TV stations, for instance, are less likely to produce quality work because they're charging in with that breaking news get it out there first mentality.

Generally, I find the actual quotes by interviewees in an article most informative, as you can tell by the snippets I quotes in an earlier post. Everything else might be a reporter's interpretation.

I've pinged a tower from inside the Park in some unexpected locations - but always from up high somewhere, which makes sense.

Well, so maybe they weren't driving around and doing things like hiking the Lost Horse loop in the morning, poking around Barker Dam midday, taking selfies with Skull Rock after lunch, etc. Maybe they drove up straight to the trailhead, embarked on a hike, and got lost or trapped in low-laying terrain. I noticed from the search track picture OtherHand posted that the "north canyon" was apparently cleared by more than one team. That was where my money was!

And then they ping a tower at 4pm, somewhere close to their car. The signal could have reflected off a rock but it suggests line of sight back to our old friend Serin Drive, which suggests being able to see civilization, which suggests that there was a landmark to orient to. Why didn't they just walk back to their car, then? Or if they had coverage but were lost, why didn't they try to place a call? Phone probably in a pocket and didn't notice the coverage.
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