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Presumed Deceased WA - Laura Macke, missing in Olympic National Park; Oct-Nov 2022

Sora

In the Groove
I didn't take this to mean "potential crime", although maybe.... I took it to mean more simply that it was found in a place they don't want other people to go because they might get hurt. I'm gonna go with the falls near the trailhead. Bunch Falls?

If there were a potential crime, we would have heard about it from NPS LE.
Ok so fair point - that they don’t want searchers or others to go searching in that spot because it may be dangerous.
But - how will they prevent others in general from going there if they don’t say where not to go?
Maybe when people apply for back country permits? They tell them at that point to avoid certain spots?
It seems odd to me tho.
 

Bucket Hat

Administrator
Ok so this was on Facebook in the last day, someone asking for info on the piece of equipment of LM’s that was found, and asking why the family won’t release this info. They asked if it they were not releasing the info because of risk to other hikers, and the family member responded yes partly.
So does this mean there is a criminal investigation with a possible murderer possibly targeting other hikers??
Attaching screenshot here.

NPS may simply want people out of the area in general because the weather isn't safe. They have a lot of snow. I can totally see them not wanting more accidents and risking SAR lives yet again.

The family likely just piggy-backed on the NPS position to get people to back off.
 

Trippy

Right On!
Ok so fair point - that they don’t want searchers or others to go searching in that spot because it may be dangerous.
But - how will they prevent others in general from going there if they don’t say where not to go?
Maybe when people apply for back country permits? They tell them at that point to avoid certain spots?
It seems odd to me tho.
Spring runoff will move stuff around anyway, if posters are right ^^^ that the item found was in the river. I'm sure it was, too, since it's the only thing that makes sense from drones being in the area, and it was very likely items belonging to LM would end up in the river, one way or another.

I doubt NPS will limit permit locations. For all they know, debris and remains will likely be relocated downriver in spring.

Also, SAR might have looked and looked in the area of the find and simply not found whatever else was there. This happens all the time.
 

Sora

In the Groove
NPS may simply want people out of the area in general because the weather isn't safe. They have a lot of snow. I can totally see them not wanting more accidents and risking SAR lives yet again.

The family likely just piggy-backed on the NPS position to get people to back off.
Good point about family decision.
Just out of curiosity I checked the back permit reservation site and it appears one can still reserve for November. I got as far as i could without having to create a login.
I was curious to see if any campsites in Quinault were closed inside the res site.
It would make sense for them to close the reservations to protect people, as you say.
Maybe further down the res process line it’s the case, once you log in, but I didn’t get that far.

Other thoughts I had after reading more about EV, about why LM may have chosen this hike:
1 - much less elevation gain than other western/Olympic park hikes
2 - open later in the season compared to other spots. Maybe this time period was a better time for her work wise or for personal reasons.

I’m having trouble letting this one go, I know….
 

Bucket Hat

Administrator
Good point about family decision.
Just out of curiosity I checked the back permit reservation site and it appears one can still reserve for November. I got as far as i could without having to create a login.
I was curious to see if any campsites in Quinault were closed inside the res site.
It would make sense for them to close the reservations to protect people, as you say.
Maybe further down the res process line it’s the case, once you log in, but I didn’t get that far.

Other thoughts I had after reading more about EV, about why LM may have chosen this hike:
1 - much less elevation gain than other western/Olympic park hikes
2 - open later in the season compared to other spots. Maybe this time period was a better time for her work wise or for personal reasons.

I’m having trouble letting this one go, I know….
No worries on hanging onto a topic. It happens all the time.

Clever to look up backcountry permit window. I'm not certain it would matter, though. Here are my thoughts:
The trail may be open all year: people go backcountry winter camping on skis, and EV would be a great place for that. The ranger station at Quinault was already closed for the season by late October. They may just do "walk up" permit registrations in winter; there would be an "iron ranger" (metal post with slot) at the trailhead. The fee for the Olympics NP may be waived then, I don't know.
I don't believe that NPS would close trails. Experienced hikers just know not to go when "weather comes in" (October in this area), even if they have a permit. There may be other National Parks where trails are closed because of avalanche danger, but maybe not even that.
 

Naughty Pine

Hangin' Out

Naughty Pine

Hangin' Out
Ok so fair point - that they don’t want searchers or others to go searching in that spot because it may be dangerous.
But - how will they prevent others in general from going there if they don’t say where not to go?
Maybe when people apply for back country permits? They tell them at that point to avoid certain spots?
It seems odd to me tho.
It’s possible there are remains scattered over a vast area. It was pouring with rain all the way back when LM set out. Soon, there were floods. Water would be moving very fast.
 

One Fat Marmot

Diggin' It
On the public Laura Macke FB site, random folks are being recruited for on-the-ground searching "before the snow comes in". There are so many accidents when people put together this kind of search, which is why SAR often comes right out and asks people not to go searching. And you can count on it, if SAR says it's too dangerous for volunteers to continue, it's too dangerous for general public.

Plus, the snow has already "come in". They had 8" or so last week. Also, the weather is very unsettled this time of year, which is how this accident happened in the first place. It's a rainforest (i.e. rain magnet) with cold rain, after all.
 

Hates Ramen

Diggin' It
On the public Laura Macke FB site, random folks are being recruited for on-the-ground searching "before the snow comes in". There are so many accidents when people put together this kind of search, which is why SAR often comes right out and asks people not to go searching. And you can count on it, if SAR says it's too dangerous for volunteers to continue, it's too dangerous for general public.

Plus, the snow has already "come in". They had 8" or so last week. Also, the weather is very unsettled this time of year, which is how this accident happened in the first place. It's a rainforest (i.e. rain magnet) with cold rain, after all.
I sooo agree with you. For me, the red flag in this instance was the person getting the group together highlighting the fact that he had a PLB.

IMO PLB's are great. But only for the person who is carrying it. Otherwise, a member of your group can get lost, and if they don't have the PLB with them.....

Also, a PLB can be a crutch. "Let's do what we want to do, no worries, because we have an emergency signaling device." This can lead to taking much higher risks than a person might otherwise. An example would be going off trail, which exactly describes "searching" in a wilderness area.

And, yep, this is not the right time of year to be heading into a cold rain to poke around.
 

Sora

In the Groove
On the public Laura Macke FB site, random folks are being recruited for on-the-ground searching "before the snow comes in". There are so many accidents when people put together this kind of search, which is why SAR often comes right out and asks people not to go searching. And you can count on it, if SAR says it's too dangerous for volunteers to continue, it's too dangerous for general public.

Plus, the snow has already "come in". They had 8" or so last week. Also, the weather is very unsettled this time of year, which is how this accident happened in the first place. It's a rainforest (i.e. rain magnet) with cold rain, after all.
The family is also trying to be clear that they are not recruiting. That page was used by others as a jumping off point for spreading the word.
 

Sora

In the Groove
The Facebook comments say that the group was meeting this morning at Amanda Park, which is about an hour drive from the Graves Creek trailhead and on Lake Quinault.

Any thoughts on why they would meet there instead of the trailhead?
Maybe it’s just a easy to find spot on the way from Seattle to Graves Creek trailhead?
Or maybe something was found near the lake??

Grasping at straws here.
Maybe someone on this forum knows the area and can comment?
 

Hates Ramen

Diggin' It
MOO I believe there were multiple reasons for the accident including but not limited to the weather.
But I am very inexpert and this is just my opinion.
I agree with you, there are many possible reasons for the accident. For me, judging from family and photos, I speculate the weather by itself was not survivable by someone who had no safety gear, no stove, likely inadequate clothing. Perhaps hypothermia within 2 hours because of the cold rain; I have a feeling from what I see she didn't know to head back to the car, which likely means she didn't know to pitch her tent ASAP.... I'm wildly guessing, though, she fell at a river or a creek crossing on Day 1.
 

Grok

Hangin' Out
The Facebook comments say that the group was meeting this morning at Amanda Park, which is about an hour drive from the Graves Creek trailhead and on Lake Quinault.

Any thoughts on why they would meet there instead of the trailhead?
Maybe it’s just a easy to find spot on the way from Seattle to Graves Creek trailhead?
Or maybe something was found near the lake??

Grasping at straws here.
Maybe someone on this forum knows the area and can comment?
The Amanda Park thing got my attention, too, but I didn't realize it was quite that far.

Some ideas?
1. It may be practical to meet there, because it's convenient for drivers coming from north as well as south.
2. Car-pooling.
3. Maybe the organizer doesn't want to go by him/herself. No sense going up river for an hour if no one shows up.
4. Maybe they're local and had an eye on where SAR was looking or they tracked the helicopter and drones.

Maybe contact the Amanda Park search organizers on FB?
 

Rainforest

Laidback
I’m half thinking of contacting the person who was organizing LM searches on FB, to see if they found anything, but after that ding dong who decided to prove his personal theory about the Gerrish-Chung case by hiking their route, and consequently got overheated, out of water, and required SAR…. Yep, I’m not sure about untrained searchers.

 

Rainforest

Laidback
Today, it's 50-ish in southern NH, pelting with a cold rain. Miserable. A time to take cover, and stay warm and dry. No one wants to be out. LM was from southern NH (later moved to Burlington VT). On the day LM set out on her backpack, Quinault had about 7x the rain that will fall today in her home area. There was no "window" of good weather then in the Olympics, either before, during, or after. Those days left with fall.

Despite all that, LM set out, with inadequate raingear, no way to get warm (no stove), having ounce-counted away the gear that might have kept her alive.

There's a recent article in a Laconia NH newspaper (an hour north of where LM was from) where the SAR lead on the Emily Sotelo case lists all the things ES did wrong. He might as well have been speaking about LM. Such an unfortunate ending for both.

This sums up where ES's and LM's thinking went disastrously wrong, but the whole article applies to this case. Different state, same issues.

“It's great to have goals — we all want to push ourselves and say ‘I did that.’ But at what cost?” said Capt. Michael Eastman of New Hampshire Fish and Game. “Now we have a young lady who is deceased and had her whole life ahead of her.”


 

Hates Ramen

Diggin' It
Today, it's 50-ish in southern NH, pelting with a cold rain. Miserable. A time to take cover, and stay warm and dry. No one wants to be out. LM was from southern NH (later moved to Burlington VT). On the day LM set out on her backpack, Quinault had about 7x the rain that will fall today in her home area. There was no "window" of good weather then in the Olympics, either before, during, or after. Those days left with fall.

Despite all that, LM set out, with inadequate raingear, no way to get warm (no stove), having ounce-counted away the gear that might have kept her alive.

There's a recent article in a Laconia NH newspaper (an hour north of where LM was from) where the SAR lead on the Emily Sotelo case lists all the things ES did wrong. He might as well have been speaking about LM. Such an unfortunate ending for both.

This sums up where ES's and LM's thinking went disastrously wrong, but the whole article applies to this case. Different state, same issues.

“It's great to have goals — we all want to push ourselves and say ‘I did that.’ But at what cost?” said Capt. Michael Eastman of New Hampshire Fish and Game. “Now we have a young lady who is deceased and had her whole life ahead of her.”


Love this article as it applies to LM, especially the comments on having a fire source, insulating sleeping pad (LM didn't have one of these, either), the need for abundant food and water.... But especially this:

“The biggest take from Emily is that she had a plan that she stuck to,” Eastman said. “But she was unwilling to give up. She was driven to accomplish her itinerary. Just going on an aggressive hike that she went into, understanding that you gotta check the weather, it wasn't operable for what she had planned. Another day may have been a different outcome.”

IMO though it looks obvious that LM couldn't survive this trip to the Olympics from the get-go, I guess she didn't have any idea. She could have at least checked the weather, but no.
 

Grok

Hangin' Out
Love this article as it applies to LM, especially the comments on having a fire source, insulating sleeping pad (LM didn't have one of these, either), the need for abundant food and water.... But especially this:

“The biggest take from Emily is that she had a plan that she stuck to,” Eastman said. “But she was unwilling to give up. She was driven to accomplish her itinerary. Just going on an aggressive hike that she went into, understanding that you gotta check the weather, it wasn't operable for what she had planned. Another day may have been a different outcome.”

IMO though it looks obvious that LM couldn't survive this trip to the Olympics from the get-go, I guess she didn't have any idea. She could have at least checked the weather, but no.
Well, your last paragraph sounds a little harsh, but you’re probably just taking a cue from Eastman and calling it what it is.
 
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