Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Hikin_Jim » Fri May 13, 2016 9:47 pm

Hmm. That bottle looks pretty good -- except for the handle.

HJ
Backpacking stove reviews and information:  Adventures In Stoving
Personal hiking blog: Hikin' Jim's Blog
User avatar
Hikin_Jim
 
Posts: 4869
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:12 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby AZeagle » Fri May 13, 2016 10:44 pm

Checked Safeway. Almost all of the juices 96 oz or smaller use a rectangle shape now to pack tighter on the shelf, including the brand I posted.

The only plastic cylindrical 64 oz bottle in the aisle was this. https://imgur.com/a/9TQx7

It looks pretty good, the spout is clear instead of opaque white, and the indented part running top to bottom is too narrow I think. If you want to see more behind the label you have to wait a week. I'm not gonna be the guy who has to explain why he bought expensive apple juice, ripped the label off, poured it out, and took a picture of it in a bush. The V8 stuff was cylindrical but not even close to this shape.

I think Tom's right that this style is phased out, and I'm pretty convinced it was apple juice.
AZeagle
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:43 am

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Fri May 13, 2016 11:30 pm

AZeagle wrote:I might have something bordering on a legitimate contribution.

https://imgur.com/a/Zhc8x

That's my son's apple juice. It's 128oz, wider but the contours seem right. It's a bottom shelf apple juice sold in Albertson's and Safeway. I can get a 64oz to be sure.


That's indeed a very legitimate contribution. The various bottles that we've seen online or wherever all have labels on them, so the ribbed surface under the label isn't apparent. So the shot you've shown gives me at least the first view of what an unlabelled bottle might look like.

I think we might be making a bit too much of the JT42 bottle, but of course no stone remains unturned.

Oh, and if anyone fancies collecting it, Tom's just said above that he left the bottle right where he found it. :-)

Ric
Ric Capucho
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Fri May 13, 2016 11:42 pm

AZeagle wrote:Checked Safeway. Almost all of the juices 96 oz or smaller use a rectangle shape now to pack tighter on the shelf, including the brand I posted.

The only plastic cylindrical 64 oz bottle in the aisle was this. https://imgur.com/a/9TQx7

It looks pretty good, the spout is clear instead of opaque white, and the indented part running top to bottom is too narrow I think. If you want to see more behind the label you have to wait a week. I'm not gonna be the guy who has to explain why he bought expensive apple juice, ripped the label off, poured it out, and took a picture of it in a bush. The V8 stuff was cylindrical but not even close to this shape.

I think Tom's right that this style is phased out, and I'm pretty convinced it was apple juice.



Like I said, this is a generic juice bottle design supplied from Amcor and used by many different brands to contain a wide variety of juices, not just apple juice. Campbells Canada even uses the design for their local V8 product, plus many other juices in the US use the same bottle past and present.

Bill disappeared in 2010, and brands change their bottle shape fairly regularly... so the last six years is a long period in which the bottle shape of (for example) V8 might have changes 2-3 times.

I'd love to see what that same 64 oz bottle looks under that labelling, but I guess ripping a label off a bottle you don't intend to purchase might upset the store a bit.

Ric
Ric Capucho
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Fri May 13, 2016 11:48 pm

Not to labour the point, but here's a 2010 blog entry that shows a picture of a V8 bottle...

http://spendfreely.blogspot.ch/2010/04/100-off-v8-juice.html

Of course a closer zoom in on the left side of the picture shows a date stamp on the bottle... 2007.

Ah well.

Ric
Ric Capucho
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Hikin_Jim » Sat May 14, 2016 4:19 pm

That last V8 bottle looks like the right shape. The lid assembly is green instead of white, but lids get changed.

HJ
Backpacking stove reviews and information:  Adventures In Stoving
Personal hiking blog: Hikin' Jim's Blog
User avatar
Hikin_Jim
 
Posts: 4869
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:12 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby adamghost » Sun May 15, 2016 3:09 am

Some really good thoughts here. There definitely has been some shifting in the case lately. I'm still not totally convinced there wasn't something hinky going on, but we've now got new information that makes the most obvious explanation (lost hiker) scenario not totally implausible to me, so I'm back on board.

A couple of things to throw in there:
I've been out again and did a really thorough search of the foothills of that valley from JT82. Really thought I might find him, but no luck. The report isn't up yet, but the video is here:
https://youtu.be/pelNJ6p_194

As you'll see in the video, through discussions with Tom, I found out I had a key bit of information wrong. It appeared from the search map that search parties were within a mile or so of Quail Wash just a few hours after Bill's phone pinged. However, Tom made it clear that these parties went through this area on their way OUT, not their way IN, which means there was nobody anywhere near Quail Wash (that we know of) any time in the vicinity of the phone ping. Also: turns out the cell phone coverage at 10.6 miles in Quail Wash was not as consistent as I thought. I was able to call out the last two or three times I was through there, but this time I couldn't locate the spot.

With respect to the cell phone coverage in that valley - there are spots of coverage all the way up Quail Wash. Definitely there's one right around 10.6 (though I couldn't find it this time), then I was able to get texts out at roughly 10.1, 9.5 and 9 (these are guestimates based on how far I walked), and then coverage is solid once you get within sight of town, maybe half a mile north of the park boundary.

This removes most of my problems with Quail Wash as the sight of the ping and makes it far and away to me the most likely spot for Bill to have been, both in terms of the cell reception and topography. However - Tom has grid searched the area, and I checked the most likely spots above it. He's almost certainly not in the Wash or its immediate environs. So what gives?

Well to make life more interesting, a poster from Reddit had this to add on the comments section on my last video (I like how we're all putting our heads together now):

"a handshake is a very low power action...what if the phone's ability to handshake/ping did not necessarily mean there was enough signal to get a call out? Searching Google, I found a lot of articles (many on survival tips websites) that mention this, like this right here: "Unlike voice calls or text messages, these electronic packets require very little energy to send or receive. Sometimes these handshakes transmit when your phone indicates no reception. Sometimes they bounce off towers that your phone doesn’t have permission to use. And sometimes they get through when they shouldn’t–like in remote and mountainous terrain."

So - bam - doesn't really matter if there's reception or not. And I can probably stop personally thinking in those terms (though Quail Wash still makes a lot of sense). I'm not sure geographically how much it changes though. Let's look at that line:

Starting from Park Road moving west:
In the area immediately adjoining Park Road there's a lot of foot traffic, people stopping their cars and taking pictures and such. Very doubtful.
Then you get the edges of some rocks and such. Tom's been in here.
Then those two twin mountain-hills. Tom's been up here and I just don't buy any reason Bill goes up here.
Quail Wash, and the little hills on the entrance to SWC that first seduced me into this region (and he ain't there).
Then 10.6 crosses over to the north side, but right at the edge of the canyon. This is where Tom's got his eye now. It is hella steep. I think Tom's theory is plausible but I think even he's skeptical about Bill's ability to get up the side.
Then you're in a low area around the California Riding & Hiking Trail. I've looked around here. There are a few spots that haven't been searched but it's low scrub brush adjacent to a trail. The trail is right there and in most of the unsearched spots the brush is really difficult to get through relative to the surrounding terrain so it didn't seem worth looking at much more.
Then there's that low mountain Myth and I both looked at. This could stand another look. I was out there twice, and it just didn't seem like going out there a third time. Yes, there's unsearched spots, but again, there's no reason for him to go up there, it's fairly steep to get there, and Upper Covington road is so close.
Then it's the flatlands heading through Upper Covington culminating in my favorite "Upper Covington Ping Spot". If he's here I'll simply have to eat my hat and kick myself 100 times, because I've looked all over here.
Then you're in the badlands, which is just suicidal.

And let's remember: even if we posit that Bill's phone (a) had enough batteries to go three days and (b) he didn't need to be in a cell hot zone. We still have two and a half days of radio silence to contend with. That either means he was either mostly stationary that whole time or he was moving in an area with no reception. That narrows things quite a lot.

There's lots of other reasons for him to not be in any of these places that have to do with topography and proximity of trails and such, but...going through the 10.6 line...does anyone see anything here? I'm not seeing much - or at least, nothing that makes me want to jump out and go look.

Bill going through Quail Wash and traveling north towards Joshua Tree makes sense to me. Mind you, I'm not sure it's what I would have done if I was at this spot (Park Road is closer and SWC offers water), but it's at least an easy topographical decision to make. I didn't understand why he'd leave the wash until I got out there on a hot day. There is cover around there, but in and around the wash it's mostly cactii. There are a lot of attractive rock formations where someone could hang out and cool down on either side. Tom looked at a few on the east side and I looked at many on the west side this past trip. So many good spots where I thought Bill might be. He wasn't there. Bill could have wandered further to the west in that valley, but that would mean he had lost it at that point, because he'd be moving away from civilization.

Not sure the best move now. There's still a few spots to the west of where I was that could be checked, but that puts Bill further and further away from an exit. There's Tom's north Smith Water theory. Or maybe a grid of the area north of the Quail Wash/Smith Water junction.

I'm open to suggestions. I do have a two-night stand in Vegas at the end of the month which might offer an opportunity to poke around on the way back. I'm open to coordinating with other hikers. But after this last trip - dang it, I really thought I had a shot this time - I'm not sure where to go next.

I still think the area north of SWC in Quail Wash is the most likely - but it's hard to know where to start at this point. I have this nagging sense that we're getting closer but we're all missing something. Anyone else feel that?
adamghost
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:47 pm

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby AZeagle » Sun May 15, 2016 9:32 am

The video is really helpful. It seems hard to call the search thorough based on how many crevices there are, but I trust your vantage point is better.

I was looking at Tom's post. If you come down into SWC from that saddle, the dry falls is to the left and the grove is to the right around a couple of corners. There's kind of a fork there with a dry drainage path coming in from due west. It's near the bottom of Tom's screenshot and there's only one or two tracks that have been in there. It seems like one could find the dry falls and try to go around another way.

Dropped Pin

https://goo.gl/maps/4g8HfXeqyR32

edit: This area was looked at by JT44 from above and JT62 from down below. On Google earth and in pictures you can see it's much steeper than it looks from the top down in Maps. Tom did search here but he was using it to look across at the south side slopes, and commented 50-60% coverage due to slope and rocks.
AZeagle
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:43 am

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby adamghost » Sun May 15, 2016 11:29 am

Only thorough by definition of "sheltered rocky places at the foot of heights of land." There are of course plenty of places I couldn't cover, either higher up or down in the flats...
adamghost
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:47 pm

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby RichardK » Sun May 15, 2016 2:04 pm

I did some research on cell phone behavior and came across this facinating comment here. I'm not sure if it directly applies to Bill's case, but it is certainly worth knowing. I was not aware of it.

1. All towers leave some spare bandwidth for 911 calls; nobody who is dialing any other number can get access to this bandwidth. It is also reasonable to assume that tower may apply special enhancement techniques for 911 calls since dropped 911 call statistics are tracked by the FCC.


2. Both Verizon and ATT regularly update a database in your phone called PRL (verizon) or IRDB (att). If another company wants to charge Verizon or ATT too much for supporting a roaming customer, Verizon/ATT can forbid your phone from ever registering with this company's network by leaving them out of the database. Attention travelers: ATT also uses this to keep phones on only the European networks which give ATT the most $$$.

Dialing 911 overrides the permissions in the PRL/IRDB databases.

Hypothetically, if you are an ATT customer you MAY see "No Service" on your phone even though you are 5 feet away from a compatible T-mobile tower.

This could happen if ATT blacklists T-mobile in the database If you dial 911, the phone will ignore the database, register with the T-mobile tower, and complete your call.

Caveat: I do not know if ATT blocks other GSM providers but they will certainly make you stick to a weak-signaled ATT tower before they allow you to join a strong T-mobile tower.


Bottom line:
If you need 911 you might try it even if the phone says no service.


By the way, the cell phone handshake may save your life article is here.
RichardK
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:52 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Outdoors-Related Topics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

cron