Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

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

Grim Terrain

Postby Actively Curious » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:51 pm

[quote=

[b]RichardK[/b] -Google Maps and satellite doesn't tell you how [i]grim[/i] the terrain can be! [/quote]

I agree. I was just reading an article from 2009 where the Dutch couple died attempting to simply hike a few miles back to pavement from their stuck vehicle. They died simply hiking on a dirt 4x road, essentially flat, due to the heat. The heat, plus the terrain, are beyond what any map conveys. Its otherworldly.
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JT 47 Sheep Skeleton

Postby Wombat » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:26 pm

OtherHand,
In your previous comment about JT 47 you mentioned going down that chute just east of those "suspicious odor coordinates" and also mentioned finding yet another sheep skeleton. I'm wondering where exactly this sheep skeleton was found and if it was close enough to the "odor coordinates" to possibly account for the smell and if prevailing breeze direction and age of the remains were conceivably consistent.
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Re: JT 47 Sheep Skeleton

Postby OtherHand » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:15 am

Wombat wrote:OtherHand,
In your previous comment about JT 47 you mentioned going down that chute just east of those "suspicious odor coordinates" and also mentioned finding yet another sheep skeleton. I'm wondering where exactly this sheep skeleton was found and if it was close enough to the "odor coordinates" to possibly account for the smell and if prevailing breeze direction and age of the remains were conceivably consistent.


The sheep skeleton I found was on the ascent quite some distance from the chute, much too far to be noticed. And the bones were rather old. To my knowledge nothing has ever been found to account for an odor in that area. Also to my knowledge no other team or searcher was able to notice an odor in that area after the first report.
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Postby Myth » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:58 pm

Maybe something fairly small and evanescent, like a mouse or other type of rodent, was the source? I have wondered, myself. Seem such a tantalizing clue ...
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JT50

Postby RichardK » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:29 pm

Adam Marsland has posted a new search on otherhand.org of the area north of Smith Water Canyon. Still no Bill.
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Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Sometimes cold goes hot: Larry Conn, missing since October 2012, found.

Regrettably, Mr. Conn was not among the living when found, but he was at least found and his family now has closure. Kudos to Sierra Madre SAR.

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Postby OtherHand » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:22 pm

If you had an,...uh, incident, and could somehow pick the SAR team to come looking for you, you would want to pick Sierra Madre. They are the best.
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Sierra Madre SAR

Postby RichardK » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:05 am

I have seen Sierra Madre SAR training on Mt Baldy. They have always looked impressively professional.
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Postby Hikin_Jim » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:51 pm

I was out at Chantry Flats a few weeks ago. SM SAR was on site and had their hands full, but it looked like they had the situation under control.


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JT53 report

Postby RichardK » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:09 pm

I have read OtherHand's account of his JT53 third anniversary hike to Quail Mountain. I did not know the exact location of the red bandana. Consider this statement in the park's narrative report:

"Two CARDA (California Rescue Dog Association) scent dogs located two 500mL Stater Bros. water bottles at coordinates 057224/375985. The water bottles were full and unopened. They were stashed under a log. See 6/29/10 CARDA team debriefing logs.

A scent dog from the CARDA was utilized to identify the items which were possibly handled by EWASKO. The dog exhibited behavior that strongly suggested EWASKO had handled the red scarf and the two Stater Bros. water bottles."


If you believe the search dog, then the bandana was Bill's. That confirms that his intended target was Quail Mtn. as opposed to any other places in the area. And, if you believe the search dog, Bill stashed water along the trail for his return trip.

I assume that these water bottle coordinates mean 552740E 3759850N NAD27. If my understanding is not correct, please let me know. These coordinates are along the trail about 3.5 miles from the trailhead - a perfect spot to hide water for the return. Why lug water to the top of Quail that you won't need until you are going back?

This stash also means that Bill had no motive to continue to Smith Water Canyon, at least not for water. Maybe he wanted to include it in this hike, but he didn't need the water. If you think the search dog is reliable, Bill had water waiting. Nevertheless, it made good sense to search SWC just because it is the nearest area along the cell phone arc to Quail. It is the most likely place for Bill to be. Unfortunately, Bill is not there unless he crawled under the last unsearched rockpile.

All of this raises many questions: What happened to Bill on Thursday? What was he doing all day Friday and Saturday? Where did he end up and why? A puzzling case.
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