Timeline Guru (Still Remembering Cupcake)
- Jun 9, 2016
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In June 2010, Bill Ewasko traveled alone from his home in suburban Atlanta to Joshua Tree National Park, where he planned to hike for several days. Ewasko, 66, was an avid jogger, a Vietnam vet and a longtime fan of the desert West. A family photo of Ewasko standing at the summit of Mount San Jacinto, another popular hiking destination in Southern California, shows a cheerful man with a salt-and-pepper mustache, looking fit, prepared and perfectly comfortable in the outdoors.
Ewasko left a rough itinerary behind with his girlfriend, Mary Winston, featuring multiple destinations, both inside and outside the park. His first hike, on Thursday, June 24, was meant to be a loop out and back from a remote historic site known as Careys Castle, an old miners hut built into the rocks. Careys Castle is so archaeologically fragile that, to discourage visitors, the National Park Service does not include it on official maps. Winston, a retired mortgage broker, was worried about that particular hike. From what she had read, the site sounded too remote, too isolated. She so thoroughly pestered Ewasko about his safety that, when he arrived in California, he bought a can of pepper spray as a kind of reassuring joke. Dont worry, Ewasko told her. He would be all right.
The plan was that after he finished the hike, probably no later than 5 p.m., he would call Winston to check in, then grab dinner in nearby Pioneertown. But 5 p.m. rolled around, and Ewasko hadnt called. Winston tried his cellphone several times, and it went directly to voice mail. She knew he might still be in a region of the park with limited cellular access, but the thought was hardly reassuring. As night fell on the West Coast with no word from Ewasko, Winston tried to call someone at the park, but by then Joshua Tree headquarters had closed for the day. Her only option was to wait.
The next morning at a little before 8 a.m., Winston finally got through to park rangers to explain her situation: Her boyfriend was missing, a solo hiker presumably lost somewhere in the precipitous terrain surrounding Careys Castle. Rangers went immediately to the trail head, but Ewaskos rental car, a white 2007 Chrysler Sebring, was nowhere to be seen. Whats more, the trail appeared to have had no visitors for at least a week. Ewasko had apparently changed plans.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/22/magazine/voyages-joshua-tree-lost-hiker.htmlIt was not until the afternoon of Saturday, June 26, nearly two full days after Ewasko failed to call Mary Winston, that a California Highway Patrol helicopter finally spotted Ewaskos car at the Juniper Flats trail head, nearly a 90-minute drive from the Careys Castle trail head. By this time, he would have been exposed to late June temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, probably with little food or water. Locating the car did indicate that Ewasko was or had at one point been inside the park, and the rapidly expanding search effort immediately shifted to Juniper Flats.