A couple of local issues: JT Desert Daze and missing JT hikers found dead

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Volkswagon JTNP photo by James Barkham


The bodies thought to be Joseph Orbeso and Rachel Nguyen were found after nearly three months of searching.  No cause of death was immediately given, pending an autopsy, but it’s believed the intense conditions contributed to the pair’s demise.

Gilbert Orbeso, who was with searchers when the discovery was made, told KESQ-TV they are those of his son, Joseph Orbeso, 21, of Lakewood and his girlfriend, Rachel Nguyen, 20, of Westminster. — LATimes

Such a tragic loss of two beautiful young people with their lives ahead of them. Their   remains were found locked in an embrace.

Life is Fragile: One minute you are beginning a hike in JTNP along a rugged and beautiful five-mile Maze Loop Trail, and soon thereafter you lose your life to the unforgiving desert conditions.

Details of the tragedy have not yet been released.

Rest in peace. Condolence to the father who helped  during months of searching and the families of the deceased.



The Desert Daze Music Festival (held at the Retreat Center (Institute of Mentalphysics)) went off smoothly in Joshua Tree according to local policing and governmental authorities.

This has quickly become an import event in Joshua Tree — and Morongo Basin.

The county, seems to me, has done a fine job of balancing the interest of local residents and interests of the Retreat Center Board of Directors and concert organizers.

During the concert — as per agreement with county code enforcement — Desert Daze provided their own professional noise monitor at all times music is playing. Only during one set did the noise level exceet limits set by the county; that was quickly mitigated.

Two sheriff deputies were paid overtime by Desert Daze, but, remarkably, there were no arrests. There were some noise complaints.

County planners claimed Desert Daze’s organizers broke the rules on the number of attendees and noise levels in 2016. On that basis, the county denied Desert Daze a permit when organizers first applied this year. The county later approved a special event permit with several conditions. — HDS

Desert Daze Takes The Cake As Festival Of The Year | OC Weekly

The Desert Daze Music Festival is though to have met the county limits of 5,000.

I was driving through JT and YV late afternoon and later driving by during the concert: The traffic along the SR 62 was a little congested, but moving flawlessly.

“The Institute of Mentalphysics is the oldest and largest spiritual retreat center in the western United States. It is a very unique architectural landmark built on a sacred site by the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and son. The property rests atop a very rare geological occurrence: the meeting place of three underground aquifers. Because of this incredible phenomenon, the site has a measurable magnetic field which causes a palpable energetic effect on those who visit.” — Institute of Mentalphysics

Feature photo, James Barkham





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