Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » John Donovan's campsite & journal found!!


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John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
John Donovan's campsite & journal found!! on 05/10/2006 18:13:47 MDT Print View

Some of you may remember the missing PCT hiker John Donovan from last year. Turns out 2 lost hikers found his campsite. The journal describes a "man without hope of rescue."

I know there was speculation that, at 60, he might have died of a heart attack. His journal paints a very different picture; I would hope to someday learn the cause of his death to see if there is something we as lightweight backpackers can learn from (the yahoo article mentions there was a poncho tarp hanging in the trees and he went missing in icy weather, yet they found extra insulating clothes in his backpack and his body has not yet been located).

The day hikers were lost for 3 days before stumbling on his camp, and they claim that finding his extra supplies is how they survived another night. It's nice to know some good came of this.

Here's the Yahoo article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060510/ap_on_re_us/lost_hikers_found

Edited by jcarter1 on 05/10/2006 18:23:51 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: John Donovan's campsite & journal found!! on 05/20/2006 11:50:40 MDT Print View

It's sad to hear he passed. I wonder what was going on -- the article didn't mention any journal details that would tell if he was lost or suffering from some physical/medical issue.

I like to hike solo and it is not without risk. I do feel that I can do a lot to minimize that risk and I'm probably at more risk driving to the trailhead than I am on the trail.

I've read so many stories where people get lost and they break all the rules: no essentials, no map, no compass and they kept wandering around once they knew they were lost. They could hear voices when they first became lost--- all they needed was a $2 whistle.

The article mentioned that they didn't have a cellular phone -- like there was network available-- sheesh!

I have the essentials each and every time I go out. I take the time to know the area and keep track of where I am as I progress on a trail. I actually enjoy map and compass skills, so it's part of the enjoyment of hiking. I always tell someone exactly where I'm going and set an alert time-- "if I don't call by dark on Sunday..."

That would have helped the tenderfeet who got lost, but no telling what happened to Donovan. I hope his passing wasn't painful.

Jeff Jackson
(Just_Jeff) - F

Locale: Colorado's Front Range
Donovan info on WB on 05/21/2006 08:24:39 MDT Print View

There are some threads about this on WB, including a post from Squeaky:

"..........came onto 'Fuller Ridge' which would have been fine if it had of stayed on the western side of the mountain, but 'Fuller Ridge' was just caked in snow on the Northeast side and decided for some reason to follow the footprints that went straight down and got down a couple of hundred feet no change in the montain it went straight down, so I looked at the maps again , again no visual reference because of poor visability, looked at maps and saw I was heading down North face of 'San Jacinto' so decided to turn straight around headed back up and studied maps some more and decided if I was on 'Fuller Ridge' to follow the ridge line as far as possibe and lucky enough someone else had been in that direction which was helpful in a lot of areas cause I didn't have any crampons, kept checking the baring off the footprints and kept heading Northwesterly, sure enough came to fire service road and met up with the couple whose footprints I had been following and shook their hands and thanked them pretty much for getting me through 'Fuller Ridge'.............

this is part of my journal entry for the 9th of may 2005. those footprints went straight down. its around the time when Donovan went missing. i have the worst feeling thinking they could be Donovans. they only went down. and they were not fresh enough to be made on the 9th, but no older than a few days.

visibility was very poor but i am sure the footprints went down from the start of fuller ridge"
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=9052&page=3

And "Missing Hiker's Campsite Saves Lost Hikers" has links to several of the articles, including what's going on with the search.
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=14864

Philip Incikaya
(philinch) - F
Body Found on 06/06/2006 08:44:18 MDT Print View

Looks like they finally found Mr. Donovan's body

http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060604/UPDATE/606040367