Bill Ewasko found?

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

Re: Bill Ewasko found?

Postby adamghost » Wed Feb 08, 2023 9:56 pm

Part two of "Ewasko's Last Trail" is now up at

The video is over an hour long and after a visit to the site of Bill's remains runs down all the theories and new information and tries to reconstruct what actually happened to Bill. I want to note that though he disagrees with some of my conclusions (and I think will offer his in due time), Tom Mahood cooperated fully with the video, providing much information, maps, pictures and constructive criticism. It could not have been done without him and I thank him profusely for being on board, while at the same time giving me great freedom to reach my own conclusions from the offered evidence. A class act.

Whether I got the right answer or not, there's a lot here to chew on for backcountry hikers. One of the most striking things that turned up during research for the video is that none of the large scale maps of the time showed the very obvious old jeep trail we believe Bill was walking on (but did show the largely theoretical Mary and Panorama Trails to the north in the area where he was found). This was rectified in later editions but Bill may well have thought he was on the California Riding and Hiking Trail which, coupled with either outdated (Keys View) or incomplete (Harrison/NatGeo/Park) maps, seems likely to have played a role in why he didn't make it back to his car.

I'm especially curious to hear the reactions of experienced desert hikers to the theories and ideas put forth in the video.
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Re: Bill Ewasko found?

Postby Ric Capucho » Sun Feb 12, 2023 11:53 pm

Ok, so I’ve now watched Adam’s Youtube video twice.

Do check it out; even if you disagree with his theory, the video does a great job of describing the terrain, the possible mindset that Bill had, and the conundrum at the heart of it.

I think I’ve finally arrived at Tom’s conclusion that the ping was just short of the junction of the Mary trail and Bigfoot. And that’s got me baffled. The distance between ping and final resting place is either way too close or way too far, depending on any rationale scenario.

If Bill had his problem up front on the first day, then what did he do for the three days before ping and final resting place? And how did he climb up that final slope if he was literally on his last legs? If he’s heroic enough to ascend it, then it’s far less heroic to descend back down the other side of the saddle to the northerly wash. And onwards to Bigfoot.

If Bill had his event much later, perhaps hours after the ping, then what did he do for three days while he was presumably hale and hearty?

Adam’s threaded together a theory that explains the above (watch that video!) but I can’t help thinking it boils the conundrum down to why Bill stopped at that spot having been hydrated and fit enough for three days to wander all the way around Quail by way of Smithwater.


Ric Capucho
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Re: Bill Ewasko found?

Postby sk43 » Sat Feb 25, 2023 10:12 pm

First, many thanks to Adam for producing those two videos. They must have taken a considerable amount of work and time to prepare, and they are clearly the product of considerable thought and insight.

Second, yesterday (in spite of the "bizarre winter weather" hitting SoCal), I trekked out to the wash that Bill ended up in and followed it just as Adam (and Tom and others before) had done in Adam's 2nd video. It's pretty much as the video shows. It is easy to get into the wash, not so easy to exit. The actual trail follows the wash for a ways, then peals off and up to the right. However, even if you miss thiis turnoff, it is possible further on to climb out of it (I found a spot where it was an easy saunter uphill of 10 feet) and boom! Park Road. Unfortunately, Bill was unable to do so.

Finally, when Shakespeare wrote "A Comedy of Errors", he was clearly looking at a collection of different trail maps of Joshua Tree. Even the engraved maps at trail junctions that have apparently been recently installed are inconsistent from one to the next and, in one case, shows a trail that does not exist. Even when a trail exists, different maps give it different names. Quail Springs Trail? Quail Wash Trail? Historic Quail Springs Trail? Samuleson West? Bigfoot? Mary? While I don't subscribe to Adam's particular theory as to how Bill may have gone wrong, I do agree that he may well have become confused and befuddled by inaccurate maps.
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