Long-term survival in Joshua Tree National Park is "not impossible but highly improbable," a spokesperson is warning six days after a couple vanished inside the park's boundaries. Joseph Orbeso, 21, and Rachel Nguyen, 20, of Orange County, Calif., haven't been seen or heard from since setting out on a hike on Thursday, park rep George Land tells the Orange County Register. Their car was found in the northwest area of the park on Friday after the owner of a bed and breakfast in which the couple were staying found they'd failed to check out. Fresh tracks leading from the vehicle suggested they headed north into a canyon, per NPR. However, the tracks also "indicate these people could be walking in circles," says Land.
Of particular concern is the temperature inside the park, which hit 100 degrees on Thursday. There's been no relief for 100 people and K-9 units who've scoured thousands of miles since then. As California Highway Patrol and the US Border Patrol provided air support on Monday, some rescuers even had to be removed from the park because of the heat, reports the Los Angeles Times. The search was scaled back Tuesday due to thunderstorms but was expected to resume Wednesday morning. It will continue until the end of the week, says Land, though he doesn't appear optimistic. Despite a friend referring to Orbeso as a "survivalist," Land says Orbeso and Nguyen "weren't desert rats. This is a whole different world out here." (This father and son died in June in a stifling national park.)