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 OtherHand » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:52 pm

drndr wrote:Alright since no one else is going to ask him, I will. OtherHand, when will you get your hands on the gps tracks of all the SAR personnel? Especially since you are our expert. :D I'd be curious where they searched. Really liked reading and researching your gps maps of Ewasko.

D


My M.O. in the past has been to wait some time until things died down and then well after the fact do a FOIA for the search records if I thought it might be something I'd want to chase after. But it has to feel like something that's manageable by me and presents a puzzle. This one....I am leaning more toward it being not a lost hiker situation and may want to keep my distance. It's one thing to attempt to locate someone who was merely lost. It's a whole 'nuther skill set needed to find someone who might not want to ever be found. I want to see how this plays out.

And I second the Furbush book. Probably the best hiking book on JTNP even if she does spill some "secrets" that may have better been left unmentioned.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:35 am

That one, Otherhand's, takes its time settling in the mind. This one surely is a demon extra disturbing. Cynthia felt it when only barely apparent to those with a keen sense for such things and began this thread.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:09 am

I honestly don't know what to think any more, Wildhorse. I have a lot of respect for OtherHand's expertise. I feel like every day my opinion keeps changing from one theory to another--they all seem probable, or equally improbable--falling into a crevice, unexpectedly traveling out of the search area, a serious SAR mistake, a crime, or some wild card nobody's even thought of. But like you I feel that this is a very disturbing and tragic case--on that I'm sure we all agree.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:43 am

Neuroscience tells us our emotions make our decisions and our brains just follow their lead.

Our minds are useless at this point.

I hear that a good place to settle is a quiet place between the left and right hemispheres of our brains. I like it there.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby zippetydude » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:59 am

I pulled up images of The Maze and I think I understand better now how they both might possibly have fallen into a crevice. I had been picturing a more open desert area. Instead, there are entire hills comprised of huge rocks that are jumbled and strewn every which way. If the young couple were rock hopping and one suddenly slid down out of control into some deep space between the rocks, it would seem only natural for the other to immediately try to come to their aid...and possibly suffer the same fate. It's not always obvious if rocks will offer good traction, especially if someone is hurrying to help an injured friend. I'm not proposing that this is necessarily how it happened, but it would seem more plausible that I had at first believed before I saw the actual terrain. If you google images of JTNP The Maze you can see the scale of these formations. They seem easily large enough to swallow up people and leave essentially no trace.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:30 am

That's definitely a very plausible scenario, Zip, indeed perhaps the most. But then, it presumably would have occurred to SAR as well, and the search seems indeed to have focused on the rock piles--so why has the couple not been found? Granted, there's so many piles they could have been missed, or the dogs could have not been close enough to scent them. I'd be curious to know if the SAR feels they covered all possible areas, or if it's more a matter of 'wherever in these rocks they are, they are definitely dead by now, so we'll stop searching until it gets cooler and less risky for personnel'? A grim calculus, but not an unreasonable one it seems to me. But I know little of how SAR makes decisions.

Wildhorse--you're right, we just think we're thinking much of the time. The best we can do is muddle along and try to be as kind and reasonable as seems, well, kind and reasonable ...
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:57 am

Z, I know you are speaking figuratively about the existence of holes that swallow people. Still what a frightening thing to ponder: the existence of such holes.

As a little kid I was quite frightened by such holes after learning about La Brea tar pits and seeing quicksand eat people alive in movies. To this day I am on guard at LACMA.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Myth » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:16 pm

zip - I've been scrambling among those kinds of rock piles for years, and yes, they can swallow you up and yes, they can be treacherous! I've even had a couple of scares where my partner took a different route and it was a bit dicey to find each other again. You'd think in the quiet of the desert they'll hear you shout? Those rocks seem to swallow your voice. In the backcountry I can talk to my partner 200 feet up an open ridge in my normal speaking voice and we can hear each other clearly. In rocky terrain, depending on the shape of the exact formation you're in, you can shout and shout and later they're "I didn't hear you!"

I do my scrambling with vibram soles. In regular sneakers or worse shoes it would be even easier to slip at a bad moment.

I've seen dozens and dozens of spots where I thought "If I fell in there while I'm by myself, the only way I get out again is years later, if a cloud burst happens to flush my bones out of there." It isn't uncommon to find a crevice or a drop of 10, 15 feet in these piles, leading to a small patch of sand with sheer or concave walls.

Wildhorse - as a little kid I was terrified of maelstroms and quicksand! I was even worried about the bathtub drain, if it was draining really well and made a little slurping funnel. I saw The Never-ending Story at a young age. That might have had something to do with it. :D I would have been terrified of the La Brea tar pits.

As an adult I know how quicksand works and that I won't fit down the bathtub drain, but as a little kid it is was frightening to think that something could just swallow me whole.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:46 pm

O Myth, yes, I had forgotten the menacing vortex in the tub, and I was careful to keep my fingers and toes away from it.

In this case my inclinations are like those of Otherhand.

It may take some time for this story to reveal itself. Meanwhile, everyone tries to end it with theories and parents deal with overwhelming sorrows and relentless uncertainty.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:50 pm

Many many years ago, when I was Foolhardy with a capital F, I used to drive from LA to Death Valley quite a bit, and on one of those trips--during the summer, naturally!--I randomly took it into my head to park by the side of the road and 'take a little stroll' across what looked like a wide flat area of compacted dirt and salt. 'Imagine my surprise' as I got perhaps a half mile across this area when the 'ground' suddenly cracked open underneath my weight and I found myself sinking into mud. It wasn't bottomless, i.e. quicksand, but it was thick as molasses and incredibly difficult to navigate through, and when I climbed back onto the 'crust' it would quickly break open underneath me as well, and I found myself leaping from one 'island' of dried dirt to the next across a sea of mud. It took me forever to get back to my car and when I finally did I was covered in mud, very hot, and quite shaken--it's very unnerving when the 'solid' ground proves to be not so solid.

In retrospect it's a funny story but it left me with a renewed respect for the fact that the wilderness has many surprises, and some of them are not pleasant to human beings.

As you say, Wildhorse, human beings have many strategies for dealing with what we don't understand.
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