Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

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Postby OtherHand » Tue May 08, 2012 8:11 am

OK, that's the same info I have. My guess is that RSO found a store receipt and based their statement on that. To pull a security tape suggests a lot more investigative effort than I think they put in. They would have also had to have known where he was and at what times, and I've never seen anything to the effect they knew that.
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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 08, 2012 8:12 am

OK, I went back through my Google searches. I found this:
Video surveillance cameras would later show the hiker buying two bottles of water at a Joshua Tree market before entering the park.


Which is from this newspaper article. I have no idea how credible the article is or what their source of information is.

Sorry. Mixing sources. :oops:

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Postby OtherHand » Tue May 08, 2012 8:39 am

Hikin_Jim wrote:OK, I went back through my Google searches. I found this:
Video surveillance cameras would later show the hiker buying two bottles of water at a Joshua Tree market before entering the park.


Which is from this newspaper article. I have no idea how credible the article is or what their source of information is.


Wow, I missed this. Thanks! Makes me wonder what else I've missed.....
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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 08, 2012 9:10 am

For what it's worth, you're welcome.

The narrative, while good, is limited. They don't have (legible) scans of the documents recovered in the vehicle or at the condo. In all fairness, though, RSO may be the only ones with the docs recovered at the condo. The condo is hardly JOTR's baliwick.

Speaking of the narrative,
While at the Juniper Flats backcountry board parking area, several volunteer search and rescue said they saw lights in the saddle of the closest ridge.
Looking at a map, I see that the parking lot ("A"), the saddle to the west of the parking lot ("B"), and the knob SE of point 5787 ("C") vaguely line up.

OK, so Google Earth question: Could a light somewhere in the vicinity of point 5787 (or the knob just to the SE) be seen from the parking lot and might that light appear to be in the saddle? The point is at 5700', the knob is at 5600', the saddle area is at least 4700' to get clear line of sight, and the parking lot is at 4300'. I suspect that a light in the vicinity of point 5787 could not be seen, but I thought I'd at least ask. Maybe someone could do a quick Google Earth check?

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 08, 2012 9:50 am

Meh. Not looking good. Hey, What's That pretty much says you can't see anything around Quail from the parking area. So much for that idea.

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Postby OtherHand » Tue May 08, 2012 9:56 am

Hikin_Jim wrote:OK, so Google Earth question: Could a light somewhere in the vicinity of point 5787 (or the knob just to the SE) be seen from the parking lot and might that light appear to be in the saddle? The point is at 5700', the knob is at 5600', the saddle area is at least 4700' to get clear line of sight, and the parking lot is at 4300'. I suspect that a light in the vicinity of point 5787 could not be seen, but I thought I'd at least ask. Maybe someone could do a quick Google Earth check?
HJ


The hills the light was allegedly seen on are the low ones just northwesterly of the trailhead parking area. The trail to Juniper Flats goes around their southerly toe. They completely block the view of the farther Quail Mountain and the entire Quail Ridge. Those hills were checked very well by air and also on the ground.

This would have been a good question for http://www.heywhatsthat.com/ Put your viewpoint at the trailhead and see what you can see.
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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 08, 2012 10:31 am

OtherHand wrote: The hills the light was allegedly seen on are the low ones just northwesterly of the trailhead parking area. The trail to Juniper Flats goes around their southerly toe. They completely block the view of the farther Quail Mountain and the entire Quail Ridge. Those hills were checked very well by air and also on the ground.
I wasn't so much interested in the low hills themselves as the idea that perhaps a light that was actually on Quail Ridge might appear to be in the hills closer to the trailhead.

OtherHand wrote: This would have been a good question for http://www.heywhatsthat.com/ Put your viewpoint at the trailhead and see what you can see.
Yep.
Hikin_Jim wrote:Meh. Not looking good. Hey, What's That pretty much says you can't see anything around Quail from the parking area. So much for that idea.

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 08, 2012 2:23 pm

The narrative mentions something interesting.
SATURDAY 6/26/10
At approximately 14:30 hours, Deputy Rinkert informed me that he found several itineraries and maps in the condo that EWASKO was using. (emphasis mine)
Do we know what kind of maps those were? Topo maps? If there were topo maps, maybe Bill had more maps with him than I initially assumed. That could be very important. If he had a quad with Smith Water on it, that would make it more likely that he'd cut XC trying to get to it. Hard to imagine cutting XC to get a canyon that only vaguely know is a couple of miles north of me, although I suppose desperate thirst could have impelled him.

I'm back looking at the topography again. There are a number of (more or less) north-south canyons that intervene between Quail Mountain Ridge and Smith Water Canyon. Those intervening canyons would take you towards Quail Springs/Samuelsons Rock. You'd have to stay fairly far to the west I would think to skirt those drainages and hit the saddle that leads you over the major ridge between Smith Water and Quail. If you stay west, you'd tend to gravitate toward the saddle we've talked about previously which in turn would feed you into the distinctive drainage that goes down to Smith Water, the drainage where the "suspicious" smell was detected.

You'd be somewhat bounded by the two ridges marked on this map, bounded that is if you were really going to Smith-Water, a fairly big "if." The first ridge is marked by points "A" through "J", and the second ridge is marked by points "K" through "N," joining the first rige at point "H."

Bill is coming from the SE and going to the NW. He has to cross the second ridge. There are three saddles that would seem logical crossing points. Those three saddles are marked by points "L," "M," and "N."

QUESTION: Based on your first hand observation, which of those saddles is the obvious passage from the SE to get to Smith Water? "M" or "N?"

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 08, 2012 2:29 pm

Attached to the narrative is an email, apparently from a JOSAR coordinator or leader, that mentions a "blue backpack." Do we know for sure that Bill's backpack was blue? I saw somewhere else that it might be black. Do we know anything else about what Bill was carrying? I believe Bill told Mary that he had not one but two compasses, yes?

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Postby drndr » Tue May 08, 2012 4:39 pm

i probably didn't read something close but if we're trying to think out of the box , can there be anything more to the rangers and individuals not seeing the car and seemingly pointed in different directions when they do see it? Could it have been moved or strictly human error?
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