ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

The Sad Song of ‘Everett Ruess’


Alvin wrote a song called “Everett Ruess” for his 2004 album Ashgrove, and it’s a beautiful tune, sung from the perspective of Ruess himself. A delicate, ambling song, it’s the sort of thing you’d want to hear while driving through the dry, mountainous terrain Ruess wandered decades ago.


If you’re an Everett Ruess fan, you may find it interesting to listen to the interview with Dave Alvin even though it’s dated. This was recorded before the DNA tests were abandoned. Everett Ruess may still be wandering the hills… At least his spirit lives on.

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The Everett Ruess DNA Miscalculation

Photograph of Utah’s Comb Ridge by Dawn Kish
(National Geographic Adventure)

The discovery of explorer Everett Ruess’s skeletal remains, as detailed in the April/May 2009 issue of Adventure (“Finding Everett Ruess“), appeared to be a slam dunk. A team of forensic scientists laid out an impressive case, backed by a DNA test that linked bones found in the Utah desert to the long-lost explorer, an icon of the American Southwest. Well, DNA results are only as good as the process that produces them, and in this case, a peculiar set of blunders managed to complicate, rather than solve, a 75-year-old mystery. (David Roberts National Geographic Adventure)

For the romantics out there who’ve been following this story through the years, it’s easy to agree with Everett’s nephew, Brian Ruess: “Everett,” Brian says, “just doesn’t want to be found.” Not when he was alive; not now.

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