Being that I had an easy day today, I had time to sit and flick through Netflix this afternoon. I dont usualy find it easy to choose a movie to watch, I find the best films are the ones you come accross not having been planned but by flicking through the channels and comming to a channel where the movie is just starting and you find yourself getting engrossed in it. However one film caught my eye due to it’s title and since I love being out in the wildernes, I had to see what In to the Wild was about. As I got in to the movie and saw the bus in the photo above I quickly realised I had seen a documentary about this very story a while back so this had me hooked.
Christopher McCandles was born in 1968 in El Sugundo California but his family later moved to Annandale Virginia. He was a collage Graduate with a bright future, but his parents plans for him was not the plans he had in mind for himself. Christopher had always been an adventurace child and always dreamed about escaping the walls of the typical American lifestyle to live a simple life surviving off of the land. He had Graduated from college in 1990 and there was only one direction he was heading and that was the first road out of town. Christopher donated his $24000 of saving to charity before hitting the road. After travelling the United States and making many friends along the way Christopher aventually hitch hiked his way to Alaska in 1992. He would have been 24.
Once arriving in Alaska Christopher headed down an old minning track called stampead trail. This aventually took him to the Teklanika river in which he managed to cross in April 1998. Continuing along the trail he came to a fairly steep embankment where something at the top caught his eye. Having climbed the hill he discovered an old bus, the one in the photo above which is a real self portrait of Christopher. Can you imagine the joy that would have come over him having come across a shelter like this with a stove in it. It would have been an emotion that could not have been put into words. The bus was used as an out country shelter used by hunters.
Surviving on small kills and plants Christopher after some time was loosing weight and becomming weaker and weaker. He tried to make his way back accross the Teklanika river but at that time of year it had become to Swollen. He returned to the bus and wrote an S.O.S on the roof that read:
Attention Possible Visitors. S.O.S. I need your help. I am injured, near death, and too weak to hike out. I am all alone, this is no joke. In the name of God, please remain to save me. I am out collecting berries close by and shall return this evening. Thank you, Chris McCandless.
On 6th of September 1992 Christophers body was discovered in a sleeping bag on the bus. A hunter had discovered him as he went to take shelter for the night. Eatch day Christopher kept notes of which 113 days were recorded. But the last entry was written on day 107 simply saying “Nice Berries” from then untill day 113 all that was logged was a score at the days entry.
There seems to be conflicking ideas of how Christopher died. the main one seems to be starvation other reports state he ate a poisinous plant and that was a contributory factor. I guess both the above is true along with inexperience on how to survive this kind of way of life. Also if he had, had an apropriate map with him, christopher would have seen that a mile up the Teklanika river there was a regular crossing, Im not sure if it was a boat or a simple raft but for sure he would have gotten out had he known. The photo at the start of the post was as said a self portrait of Christopher. An undeveloped camera film was found in a camera where Christopher had been surviving. There were also other photos found to have been taken on the film once the roll had been developed.
There are many sayings in writtings that Christopher left behind but the one that stands out to me is this one:
“Happiness is only real when shared”
What I have written in this post is only a tiny fraction of the story but if you love adventure stories or are interested by what I have written I would urge you to watch In to the Wild and also get the book, I would imagine that the book would be even more facinating as it will be more detailed than the movie . Now that I have seen the movie I’m going to do just that, get the book by Jon Krakuer.
Friends this was an amazing and touching story. I know at 23/24 I could never have even contemplated an adventure like this and I am glad to have learn about this amazing young mans adventure. I will leave you for today with on last quote from Christopher Mcandless.