CA - Jonathan Gerrish, Ellen Chung, daughter, 1 & dog, suspicious death hiking area, Aug 2021 #6

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MrsEmmaPeel

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Thank you, @RickshawFan, for your perspectives. If you add to your wise thoughts of tech reality vs nature reality, the displacement of their lives-- covid, new baby, return to work from paternity leave, new job, new locale-- for me, it is a perfect storm of poor judgement. A few minutes' research on a nearby trail and a driving need to be in nature and return to something familiar from their past lives. "We can do this in 2 and a half hours! Home before noon!"
 

RickshawFan

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RSBM...

I agree with your characterization of much of the yoga practiced in the West, but I'd like to add that whether you witness the competitive or "mastery"-focused aspects of yoga is highly dependent on the teacher and studio. As an example my teacher has 30+ years of experience and studied in India in the 70s. He and other teachers trained by him are careful to share that yoga isn't meant to be competitive and that the practice involves lifelong learning, not something that's at all possible to master. That your body's limitations should guide you and yoga should be approached humbly. I once took a yoga class where the teacher introduced herself as "the yoga guru." No true guru would ever use that word. They'd let their teaching stand on their own.

Westernized yoga's focus on fitness, along with the competitive drive of American culture, has resulted in the dilution/disappearance of these ideas and many of the original more spiritual teachings. The ubiquity of all types of yoga teacher trainings and practices like Bikram and other hot yoga hasn't helped. To anyone interested in less competitive, more traditional yoga, I'd suggest an Iyengar yoga class or one referred to as "alignment-focused."
IMO, yes, totally depends on the teacher. Personally, I've had very little yoga experience, so I don't want to be judgmental.... I've never liked the classes for me, but prefer other stretchy-mastery disciplines. But I can so see this being a factor in this Gerrish-Chung catastrophe, and I've noticed lately a significant portion of women going missing in the wild describe themselves as yoga enthusiasts. So, I've been kind of keeping my eye on it and thinking about it.
I'm going to look up Iyengar. Thanks for the tip.
 

RickshawFan

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It’s an interesting angle, but what do you make of JG’s mapping way points around the loop?

Why would he methodically force the app to map that specific 8 mile loop, by putting in way points along the path, if he only intended a short stroll?
I'm making a wild guess JG and EC thought 8 miles was a "short stroll", and that's why they were provisioned for a short stroll. This would explain a lot.
PS IMO Under no conditions is 8 miles a "short stroll", except maybe on your calculator when you insert a pace of 3.5 miles an hour with no breaks. In reality, it's not a stroll at all. And in those conditions, with that preparation, it's a death march.

Maybe @MrsEmmaPeel could check? Does that mapping app they used let a person calculate how long it would take to do that loop? For instance, could they have plugged in a pace and have the app give them a completion time? That could have put them wildly off, and magically turned a major hike into a "short stroll".
 

MrsEmmaPeel

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@RickshawFan As far as I can tell you can't predict the time of a hike on onXmaps.com. You can track yourself in realtime on the trail and document the time it took you to make a hike, even pausing for breaks. (I assume this works even without a signal.) There is a pro- and elite- version of onXmaps which may have more option. However, I did find this info:

Weather


Tapping on the map will allow you to see a detailed weather overview from the weather station closest to where you tapped. You’ll see the current temperature and weather conditions as well as wind speed and direction, precipitation, sunrise and sunset times, moon phase, and barometer readings. It displays both hourly and extended weekly forecasts for the area, crucial information for both real-time and planning purposes. Use the temperature forecasts to prepare for how to dress and what to bring, the sunrise and set times to determine when you need to set your alarm and legal shooting times, and the moon phase and barometer readings to predict animal movement.
 

RickshawFan

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I wonder if the illness that EC said caused her to withdraw from corporate work, but which was not specified, perhaps impacted her ability to wear a daypack? Not sure what that might be that would still allow hiking that loop in extreme temps but trying to hypothesize. MOO.
I had thought that, but if that's the case, and you can't wear a pack that would take the necessaries, you just don't go. I have a problem with sciatica. I can no longer wear even a daypack. It's been years. So, I can't go hiking. End of story.
But tadaaaaa! I recently found a pack that doesn't bother my sciatica, so I'm back in the groove.
 

Auntie Cipation

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A perspective to add to the conversation about living in Mariposa vs SF or elsewhere:

I am an "educated and independent" female who grew up in suburbia that, right about at the time I left for college, exploded into Silicon Valley.

I knew by age 18 I didn't want to live in suburbia. I then spent a few years living in a few big cities and decided that wasn't for me either.

I have spent most of the past 30 years living in towns with fewer residents than some urban apartment buildings. (In one case I lived in a town that had fewer residents than a fully loaded airliner :p ). Right now I live directly in a town of around 500 people and that is "too big" for me and I'm looking for opportunities to move outside of town (I don't want to change communities but I don't like having neighbors close by).

I should have added to my earlier post (about not having a hiking mindset), that it's not for lack of enjoying or reverence for nature, but rather that I have nature right outside my door and don't need to go somewhere to get out into it/to experience it, because I live "out in it" on a daily basis.

My point here is that we need to be careful about assuming or implying that everyone strives for, or SHOULD strive for, the same appreciation and participation in urban "cultural" life.

The range of personality types, introvert-extrovert spectrum, and work-from-home options are now allowing people to opt for rural/small-town life if they prefer it, while retaining whichever ties to "culture" they value.

MOO
 

RickshawFan

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@RickshawFan As far as I can tell you can't predict the time of a hike on onXmaps.com. You can track yourself in realtime on the trail and document the time it took you to make a hike, even pausing for breaks. (I assume this works even without a signal.) There is a pro- and elite- version of onXmaps which may have more option. However, I did find this info:

Weather


Tapping on the map will allow you to see a detailed weather overview from the weather station closest to where you tapped. You’ll see the current temperature and weather conditions as well as wind speed and direction, precipitation, sunrise and sunset times, moon phase, and barometer readings. It displays both hourly and extended weekly forecasts for the area, crucial information for both real-time and planning purposes. Use the temperature forecasts to prepare for how to dress and what to bring, the sunrise and set times to determine when you need to set your alarm and legal shooting times, and the moon phase and barometer readings to predict animal movement.
Wow.....they had access to so much relevant information.
I'm throwing my hands up in despair.
 

MrsEmmaPeel

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@Auntie Cipation - I have no idea what J and E wanted in cultural life. I do know the fantasy of rural living can be very different from the reality, especially in politics, guns, restaurants, and friends. The LA Times just did a story on youngish people who fled LA during covid for Joshua Tree, Big Bear, and other remote locations. While they love where they live, they talk of the difficulty of adjustment. Any major move is said to take 2 years before comfort sets in. That's my point about displacement.
 

lotus777

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IMO, yes, totally depends on the teacher. Personally, I've had very little yoga experience, so I don't want to be judgmental.... I've never liked the classes for me, but prefer other stretchy-mastery disciplines. But I can so see this being a factor in this Gerrish-Chung catastrophe, and I've noticed lately a significant portion of women going missing in the wild describe themselves as yoga enthusiasts. So, I've been kind of keeping my eye on it and thinking about it.
I'm going to look up Iyengar. Thanks for the tip.

Although I agreed with some points made in your previous post, I definitely wouldn't link yoga to a mindset that led to the Gerrish-Chung catastrophe or to any other women missing in the wild. It is after all quite popular now, and we have no idea what types of yoga these women did (other than Chung, who apparently taught vinyasa, milder than styles like Bikram that could get more competitive).

What about people gone missing in the wild who were enthusiasts of sports far more competitive than yoga?

Far more likely is that characteristics of American culture would lead to a mindset in wilderness activities that's focused on competition and achievement.

ETA: For that matter, Silicon Valley's corporate culture would qualify more as an influence.
 
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lotus777

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I was thinking along the lines of -- if they had their sights set on moving to Europe in the medium-term, why not save some of that money he sank into RE for their move to Europe? I don't imagine the RE market in Mariposa County is a hot enough one to allow him the kind of liquidity he'd need to relocate and buy in Europe. But who knows? Maybe his income was such, that he didn't need to worry about it.

Still, as a former LL, I can tell you, that having an agency manage one's rentals isn't so simple. If you don't want the agency to cheapskate repairs and maintenance, you need to stay involved. Locating across an ocean wouldn't be conducive to that.

But it looks like the Garrish-Chungs weren't people we could second-guess. Investing heavily locally while planning to move to Europe a few years hence might have been another one of their not-too-realistic dreams. I wonder who that email was from, saying their sojourn in Mariposa was intended only as a relatively short stop on their life's journey.

I don't imagine they would have needed to save for their move to Europe, given Jonathan's career.

I wonder if they saw the Mariposa market as a way to capitalize on the trend of people moving out of the Bay Area due to the ability to work from home.
 

Auntie Cipation

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One more thought -- when coming from a real estate market such as SF, seeing the lower prices in rural areas can make some people feel like buying homes there is a can't-lose proposition. Maybe they don't realize that once you own a property it can sometimes take years to sell it. Or that home values don't automatically increase each year like they do in the city. Or maybe they realize but still think it's a worthy investment.

However, unlike my rural area, Mariposa is an area with a much higher tourist load, due primarily (I assume) to the immediate proximity of Yosemite as well as the reasonable-drive distance from the Bay Area for vacationers and weekenders.

They may well have assumed they could more than cover each mortgage and maintenance (even including property mgmt and between-client cleanings) by offering them as Airbnbs. And they may have been right about that.

If they wanted to go to Europe for some years, their own residence could simply have been added to the available airbnbs, IMO.

I don't think we can conclude anything about their longterm plans based on their Mariposa real estate holdings. MOO
 

LifeIsAMystery

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Thank you, @RickshawFan, for your perspectives. If you add to your wise thoughts of tech reality vs nature reality, the displacement of their lives-- covid, new baby, return to work from paternity leave, new job, new locale-- for me, it is a perfect storm of poor judgement. A few minutes' research on a nearby trail and a driving need to be in nature and return to something familiar from their past lives. "We can do this in 2 and a half hours! Home before noon!"

I agree that was likely the thinking. And let's take the dog, nice!
 

LifeIsAMystery

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I had thought that, but if that's the case, and you can't wear a pack that would take the necessaries, you just don't go. I have a problem with sciatica. I can no longer wear even a daypack. It's been years. So, I can't go hiking. End of story.
But tadaaaaa! I recently found a pack that doesn't bother my sciatica, so I'm back in the groove.
Happy you found something that works for you. :)
 

Curious_in_NC

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I'm making a wild guess JG and EC thought 8 miles was a "short stroll", and that's why they were provisioned for a short stroll. This would explain a lot.
PS IMO Under no conditions is 8 miles a "short stroll", except maybe on your calculator when you insert a pace of 3.5 miles an hour with no breaks. In reality, it's not a stroll at all. And in those conditions, with that preparation, it's a death march.

Maybe @MrsEmmaPeel could check? Does that mapping app they used let a person calculate how long it would take to do that loop? For instance, could they have plugged in a pace and have the app give them a completion time? That could have put them wildly off, and magically turned a major hike into a "short stroll".
It's been my experience in hiking and biking that if you plan to do a loop and you go down (or up) a big hill, you'll eventually need to go up (or down) an equal amount to return. The OHV trail doesn't look like it descends sharply until after you reach Marble Point and presumably, there you have a view down to the river. I suspect that was the point of no return.

With the river within a tantalizing short distance downhill, it was easy to think they hadn't descended that far, so getting back uphill wouldn't become the challenge it later became. And turning around to go back up the OHV route to the truck, without having visited the river, although a wise choice, would have made for a very boring hike. MOO
 

RickshawFan

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Although I agreed with some points made in your previous post, I definitely wouldn't link yoga to a mindset that led to the Gerrish-Chung catastrophe or to any other women missing in the wild. It is after all quite popular now, and we have no idea what types of yoga these women did (other than Chung, who apparently taught vinyasa, milder than styles like Bikram that could get more competitive).

What about people gone missing in the wild who were enthusiasts of sports far more competitive than yoga?

Far more likely is that characteristics of American culture would lead to a mindset in wilderness activities that's focused on competition and achievement.

ETA: For that matter, Silicon Valley's corporate culture would qualify more as an influence.
I'm trying to say something like that, but I'm feeling around. I'm thinking there's a version of "yoga" that is something like "Silicon Valley does yoga". From my experience, I can see that it could go in that direction.

Yes, wilderness activities can be competitive (the infatuation with climbing Everest is testimony to this), but I have noticed lately we seem to have had a string of "missing in the wild" young women who were yoga aficionados (cf Courtier and Dingley).

I'm a little bit afraid to get off topic with this here, but I want to make clear this is something I think about, not something I know or am certain of.

What I'm trying to arrive at, though, is a mindset of two people that would explain taking the hike that day. It's so gobsmacking, I seem compelled to explain it.
 

Lex Parsimoniae

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I also think they thought they could move fast and travel light and that they discounted the danger of very hot environments. The elevation changes and extreme heat were too much. They had not planned any margin for emergencies re: water. I believe they planned to hike the loop as researched and as evidence suggests they did. I think they did not see it as particularly risky and this was a catastrophic misjudgment.
I think that's a very good hypothesis- if JG was stronger, and they wanted to move fast and light, it would make sense for him to carry everything, and keep it to a minimum. People do make catastrophic misjudgments- even people who absolutely should know better. Here are two cases of people who were EXPERTS, and yet they ended up like G-C who were NOT experts. Ultrarunner Michael Popov, set off on a 10K (6 mile) run across Death Valley in 123F temps. It became a 10 mile (16K) run because he picked a route where you can sink in up to your knees. He took less than 2 liters of water. He made it, but died despite the efforts of good Samaritans, paramedics, and a helicopter life flight. Ultrarunner Philip Kreycik, set out on an 8 mile run in 106F temps, running as fast as 12 mph (12kmh). He was dressed in running clothes, took no water. He too died. In both cases there is evidence of the mental debilitation caused by overheating, Popov was "delirious and combative" when found, Kreycik wandered aimlessly far off his planned route, walking slower and slower, according to the GPS data on his smartwatch. In all these cases, they kept going, sticking to their plans when it was going bad and they should have turned back.
 

rahod1

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Well, my scientifically trained mind hates to jump to conclusions without adequate data. The fact JG researched the 8 mile 'loop' the day before they started their fateful outing, IMO, does not mean they planned to do the entire loop the next day. Maybe JG was just idly playing around, looking for the next adventure for when the weather got much cooler. Or maybe they had done the hike in the Spring and he had a free moment to finally map it. To me it is a potentially erroneous leap in logic to connect "map search on line day before" to "they must have intended to hike the entire loop the next day". Especially when it would be a ludicrous adventure in that heat.
Sniped & BBM
But that's exactly what they did, completing all but the last 1.5 Mi. How do explain that fact unless you subscribe to the notion that a nefarious element compelled them to attempt the entire loop?
 

rahod1

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It's been my experience in hiking and biking that if you plan to do a loop and you go down (or up) a big hill, you'll eventually need to go up (or down) an equal amount to return. The OHV trail doesn't look like it descends sharply until after you reach Marble Point and presumably, there you have a view down to the river. I suspect that was the point of no return.

With the river within a tantalizing short distance downhill, it was easy to think they hadn't descended that far, so getting back uphill wouldn't become the challenge it later became. And turning around to go back up the OHV route to the truck, without having visited the river, although a wise choice, would have made for a very boring hike. MOO
BBM
I've stated previously that Marble Point would be the LOGICAL point to turn around if they thought the loop could become problematic going forward. However, I do think that even down at the river, they still had a reasonable chance of making it back to the car...being *only* a 2 mile return, albeit uphill. MOO
 
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Lex Parsimoniae

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ok I just read @RickshawFan’s theory (I think theirs) that in the GC mindset it was a short hike. That is compellingly possibile even though to the rest of us it is not short.
RSBM Yes, there is an amazing range of what different people consider an "easy" hike. There is a Bay Area hiking club called INCH, Intrepid Northern California Hikers. Their motto is "Less talk, more walk". As they put it, "Some people hike to enjoy the beauty of nature ... some people hike to achieve inner serenity ... some people hike for the physical and mental challenge ... we hike because we love to suffer!" They do 40 mile hikes... The specs for the G-C loop hike are not easy, but those INCH people could hike it in under 3 hrs, absent the heat. Hardest I've done (in my youth) is Syvfjellturen, Bergen's "Tour of the Seven Mountains". 35km (22 miles) 2300m (7546') elevation gain. My sadistic cousin Kjersti took me on it. Wasn't a hot day though.
 

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