Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/14

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

Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Perry » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:52 pm

I went out there today and filled in some gaps of areas that had not been searched. Found a few odd things. These are unrelated or probably unrelated to Mr. Miller's disappearance, but I'm curious what they are.

Mineral deposits? Scat? A fungus?
20191027_150308.jpg


Some kind of small animal skull. It was deep in some boulders.
20191027_162743.jpg


Arrangement of sticks? Deep zoom, and I held my hand steady on a rock. It's near the bottom of what looked like possibly a crevice.
DSC00275.JPG


This burrowing owl was so still even as I approached. For a moment I was wondering if it was a toy that somebody had left. The camera had difficulty focusing because it was under a large boulder and it was early evening.
DSC00278.JPG
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Myth » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:33 pm

I've found that stuff in multiple places in JT and I'm still not sure what it is. There's some close-ups of what I've found at the end of this post: https://www.peregriff.com/wanderings/hi ... ctographs/

My best guess is scat. I haven't messed with it much when I found it, it looks gross, right?

Those sticks look like branches broken off and blown into the crevice. I'm not sure what fauna they're from but I've seen that sort in the Park before.

The burrowing owl is SUPER COOL!!! Squee.

It's getting to be cool enough to be out there again.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Perry » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:40 am

Those photos are impressive. I thought what I found was disgusting until I saw your photos which take it to a whole new level.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby zippetydude » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:23 am

That has to be the weirdest compliment I have ever come across.

z
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Myth » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:37 pm

zip - :mrgreen:

That stuff was sooo gross though - the way it literally melted and oozed and re-solidified and had this shiny surface where it was fresher ( ? ) and was all dusty and lumpy in older spots - blegh.

I'm usually all for crawling into nooks and crannies looking for hidden things but that stuff turned me away for sure. That stuff was piled at least a foot high, maybe more. That's the biggest deposit I've seen in the Park. I've seen several smaller ones too.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby sudha » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:26 am

totally unrelated but those ear tufts mean that's not a burrowing owl. Probably a great horned owl, maybe even long eared?
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Perry » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:02 am

That explains why it looked more like a "regular" kind of owl. I had assumed it was a burrowing owl because it was small and under a boulder in a non-technical area. Seems like not the best place to have a nest since a coyote could access the area.

In this recent podcast, Mr. Miller is described as adventurous:
https://www.thevanishedpodcast.com/epis ... aul-miller
I think the most adventurous thing to do is to scramble up to the southern plateau above the oasis.

His hiking speed and the slightly different timeline of the witness would allow him to go farther than most people are estimating I believe.
https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threa ... t-14240323

I think he could have reached the oasis around 9:15 to 9:35 based on Neil's sighting but my speed estimate of 35 to 40 minutes to the oasis. The 2nd edge of the plateau is about an 800-foot climb from the oasis which theoretically a competitive runner or cyclist could do with good traction and firm ground in ~ 10 to 15 min. If he climbed it in 30 to 35 min. as a fast hiker climbing scree with a little brush and boulders that puts him on top around 9:45 to 10:10. If he could descend in 25 minutes and take the trail back in 35 to 40 minutes from the oasis, then he would have been able to return to the trailhead around 10:45 to 11:15 am. It's unclear whether he had a watch, and heat exhaustion or low blood sugar can affect judgement. I believe people have only searched along the 1st edge of that plateau.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby violaceopes » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:21 am

Perry, sent you a PM.
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet." -Abraham Lincoln
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Perry » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:23 am

I sketched my thoughts in yellow on this other map:
https://caltopo.com/m/9FCS
The easiest way to read them is to uncheck the Markers and Lines & Polygons folders in the lower part of the left menu.
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