This has been a pretty uneventful summer for my hiking both because I have been working a lot and the weather has been pretty gruesome (see Ron’s write-up below in regard to the weather). I have been working on my maps and am looking forward to a few new hikes past Wellman’s Cienega (high country) and up Murray Peak (low country). I have also added a number of local blogs to the Blogroll of the site and am always tinkering under the proverbial hood.
The recent goddam awful wonderful heat in Coachella Valley hasn’t even passed 115°, but there’s more humidity than there should be. There was that weird “fog” or sump’n on Saturday night. 102° and I couldn’t even see the light at the Tram. Meanwhile, the bodies are stacking up on our trails. They haven’t even confirmed if either of the bodies belong to the hiker they were searching for. This morning a hiker has gone missing in Painted Canyon. If we’re lucky, she just fell from a ladder and is waiting with a broken leg in a shady slot canyon.
OTOH, these nine vistors from a foreign land did not die out in the desert. But the Desert Sun neglected to ask how many were in the party to start with.
You can, if you hate yourself, read the comments on the Desert Sun articles where those who never hike offer up their theories on heat death in the desert. Here’s my theory: last Tuesday I went shopping at our local Costco and was quite surprised by the number of white nuclear families shopping with whining kids in tow. Actually, there were only four such families, but since the number is usually a flat zero, I took this as a sign that the season for excessively-fertile families taking advantage of less expensive summer timeshares had arrived. In short, my theory is that the deceased are not residents of Coachella Valley. The nice thing about all our theories is that so long as the Desert Sun continues its practice of leaving great gaps in the info it provides, we can all be sure we are right.
UPDATE: KESQ and the Desert Sun are reporting that the hiker lost in Painted Canyon was actually three hikers, and all have been rescued alive. The problem was “heat exhaustion.” The Desert Sun’s article includes the interesting detail that the two male bodies found on trails on Mt. San Jacinto were too dry to yield fingerprints.
“The bodies have to be rehydrated,” he said. “We can’t get proper fingerprints until they’re rehydrated.”
Maybe after the rehydration the family of one of the deceased will allow a photo of the body to be used as part of a safety education program. Anyone who checks into a guest facility in the Coachella Valley in July or August who looks like they might be an outdoors adventurer would be handed a pamphlet including that photo and warnings on hiking in the desert.