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July 20, 2009

Drop Dead Heat

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.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | July 20, 2009 at 02:45 PM


That's your response? That you phrased the paragraph in such a way as to not be incorrect? You don't want to express any hope that the police or other parties involved come forward with all that other info? No statement that you hope the D.S. can print a more complete story as facts emerge?

Posted by: Ron's Log at Jul 21, 2009 12:26:48 AM

Again, have to respectfully disagree, Ron :)

The story says he "headed out" on Lykken, "part of a popular network of sparsely marked trails cutting across the eastern face of Mount San Jacinto," and turned around three hours later for the trail head. It doesn't report he was hiking Lykken all three hours.

Alright, alright - I'm done. ;)

Posted by: Marcel Honore at Jul 21, 2009 12:07:53 AM

I'm not criticizing the Desert Sun for not having info not yet released by the coroner or the police, but as info becomes available I hope we find out about who was in the group, where they were from, why they let the hiker go alone, what level of experience he had, what their destination was, and if it was not Mt. San Jacinto peak, why did it take so long to report his absence to the police.

In general, the Desert Sun has a very poor record in correctly reporting facts about events that happen outside the grids of streets in the cities of the valley.

I recall a train wreck at Bombay Beach that was repeatedly reported by the DS to have occurred in Mecca. They never sent anyone out to look at the wreck.

In this story the hiker was reported to have been on the Lykken Trail for three hours before turning around. If you've been on one of the Lykken Trails for three hours, then you're done. It's not long enough to hike for three hours. So obviously, the hikers had moved on to some other trail - probably the Skyline Trail.

Posted by: Ron's Log at Jul 20, 2009 11:31:15 PM

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.

Ron, remember these were still John Does when we went to print late last night - it's tough to say where they hail from when even the county coroner hasn't ID'd them yet.

The story, at least, mentions the missing Saturday hiker's group was "visiting the area" - what we could get on record from local PD pending any official ID confirmation/notification of next of kin by the coroner.

Many thanks for the opportunity to respond

Posted by: Marcel Honore at Jul 20, 2009 11:00:34 PM

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