Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

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

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby jdclifford » Thu Dec 09, 2021 7:20 pm

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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby jdclifford » Thu Dec 09, 2021 7:24 pm

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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby jdclifford » Thu Dec 09, 2021 7:49 pm

Figured I could follow-up those boring file drops with some nice pictures. This is a picture of the valley just south of Quail back in March. I watched a beautiful bird ballet for about 20 minutes. It began in the far distance and they slowly worked my way until they were straight above me and then beyond the mountain upon which I stood. I still can't figure out what species it is.

I just got my cast off yesterday and started physical therapy today. Dying to get back for more searching.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby bretpct » Fri Dec 10, 2021 7:19 pm

Thanks for the tracks JD. Funny to see we've probably stepped in each others footprints. I've found the easiest way to share a large amount of tracks is with a CalTopo map. Although I think it may cost money (I've been a subscriber for a few years so I don't remember what the free version gets you. Well worth the money IMHO). Also, a perhaps a single zip file with all the tracks in it would work.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby jdclifford » Fri Dec 10, 2021 9:45 pm

I'll def look into that this weekend Bret! You know, I had never heard of CalTopo until I became involved in the search for Bill and I always assumed it was California-specific. In just now researching into a bit, I see that it obviously isn't. In that case, I would def fork over the money if there's a cost, as I see it rates quite well against Gaia.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Rumpled » Wed Dec 15, 2021 9:45 pm

jdclifford wrote:Figured I could follow-up those boring file drops with some nice pictures. This is a picture of the valley just south of Quail back in March. I watched a beautiful bird ballet for about 20 minutes. It began in the far distance and they slowly worked my way until they were straight above me and then beyond the mountain upon which I stood. I still can't figure out what species it is.

I just got my cast off yesterday and started physical therapy today. Dying to get back for more searching.


My guess is that those are white pelicans.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby jdclifford » Fri Dec 17, 2021 1:15 pm

Rumpled wrote:
My guess is that those are white pelicans.


Thank you Rumpled! That looks like it is on the money. I tried using a bird identifying app, but there was not enough clarity in the photos when zoomed in on for an accurate identification. I see in the listing of birds in JT put out by the NPS that they are a rarer sighting and only have a migratory presence. I took the pictures on March 18th and they were headed in a rather leisurely northwesterly direction. I found this video on Youtube, and the flock I saw was exactly like the one in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD0KmKk9wN4 It was a beautiful sight.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Rumpled » Sat Dec 25, 2021 1:48 am

Looked like large white flocking birds. First thought was snow geese but the black markings didn't match. In the pic looks like bent necks like a pelican. Quick Google showed I was likely correct considering wing patterns and migration destinations.
Looks like a nice sighting to see.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Thu Dec 30, 2021 2:01 am

I really enjoy watching those birds create waves of white as the flock changes directions. I think those are the same birds.

Since everyone on this thread seems to enjoy rabbit holes, I thought I'd share another one that I traveled down recently:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6159
Counting the days until October...
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby jdclifford » Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:32 pm

I've always been a bit perplexed by the thought of Bill ascending in elevation if he had gotten to that ping point so long after he first set off on that hike. My own experiences in being dehydrated while I was lost and having to rest after only a few steps while ascending probably made me a bit biased. Though I hadn't slept in over 50 hours because it was so cold (with the exception of being in a hypnagogic state for no more than a 30 minute stretch on the 2nd night), I certainly was not suffering from any heat-related ailment. Though many have proposed Bill to have been suffering a heat-related ailment, which I heartily agreed with given the circumstances of weather, I still had trouble picturing him going uphill and not downhill days into being lost.

I've just begun reading a nonfiction book called The Devil's Highway and the very first lines opened my eyes a bit. For those unfamiliar with the book or story, it is about Mexican migrants who took the "Devil's Highway" through the Sonoran Desert into Arizona to secure passage into the US. Many of them died due to exposure in extreme temperatures. I could summarize it a bit better, but I literally just started it. From the 1st page of the book: "Five men stumbled out of the mountain pass so sunstruck they didn't know their own names, couldn't remember where they'd come from, had forgotten how long they'd been lost. One of them wandered back up a peak. One of them was barefoot... They were drunk from having their brains baked in the pan, they were seeing Gods and devils, and they were dizzy from drinking their own urine, the poisons clogging their systems. They were beyond rational thought." I had begun to discount the accuracy of the cell phone ping, but Tom's last post reeled me back in a bit. Having read these passages has definitely expanded the possibilities in my mind a bit.

And for an injury update, I'm back to walking on my own two feet as of two days ago. Ankle area is still a bit swollen and there is the expected soreness when walking, but I feel like I could hike in JT today. Physical therapist, however, says that I should wait until March. I've made some dumb hiking decisions in my time (obviously), so I'll do my best to play it smart and stay patient. Cool enough in March to just sleep outside, avoid direct human contact, and sanitize before and after using gas pumps. And rapid test before and after going, of course.
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