Into The Wild – A Trip To The Chris McCandless Bus

Into the Wild

I’m interrupting the posts on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route to catch up on a few trips from the summer of 2014.

Visiting Bus 142, aka the Chris McCandless bus, aka the bus from Into The Wild had been an almost 20 year dream of mine. There is something about Chris’s story, as told by Jon Krakauer, that lit a spark in me. As evidenced by the amount of people from around the world that make, or at least try to make, the pilgrimage to Bus 142, it lit a spark in many others as well.

Bus 142 is about a 20 mile one way trek into the wilderness from the parking area at the end of the Stampede Road. This trip shouldn’t be taken lightly. We personally saw some interesting characters both heading into, and coming out defeated from the Stampede Trail. Some notable ones are a French kid in canvas sneakers, jeans and an overstuffed backpack with a cotton sleeping bag strapped to the outside. He was soaked to the bone from the Savage River, but wisely decided not to try wading across the Teklanika River. There was also a guy, definitely out of shape and also with an overstuffed backpack, who had a rifle strapped to the outside that he said was for protection. He said he had gotten lost in the maze of beaver dams for about 4 hours and never did find the continuation of the Stampede Trail. He was giving up and heading back.

For someone with outdoor experience, the trip back to Bus 142 isn’t very hard, with the exception of the Teklanika River crossing. For this we brought our Alpacka packrafts and stashed them in the bush after we crossed. The only other people we saw on the far side of the river were a group at the bus that also used a raft to cross. Besides the river crossing, just prepare for wet feet, mud and bugs.

With that, enjoy the photos.

 photo Hiking Through the Mud_zpseqow3cag.jpg
Hiking Through the Mud of the Stampede Trail
Crossing the Savage River
Crossing the Savage River
Hiking the Stampede Trail
Hiking the Stampede Trail
Rigging the Packrafts
Rigging the Packrafts for the Teklanika River Crossing
Packrafting the Teklanika River
Packrafting the Teklanika River
The Magic Bus
The Magic Bus
 photo P8213958-2_zpskspigjdx.jpg
Bus 142
Fairbanks City Transit System
Fairbanks City Transit System
 photo Inside The Magic Bus_zps4xfzcnyn.jpg
Inside Bus 142
 photo Inside The Magic Bus Plaque_zpsqty8ck8z.jpg
The McCandless Family Plaque
 photo Magic Bus Writing_zpsni63ymfp.jpg
A Note From Carine McCandless
Reading the Journals
Claudia Reading the Journals
Stepping into the River
Stepping into the River
 photo Hiking the Bog_zpsidp00xxi.jpg
Hiking out on the Stampede Trail

3 thoughts on “Into The Wild – A Trip To The Chris McCandless Bus

  1. My wife and I found the McCandless site to be rather sad and sobering. We both ended the day in a state of melancholy.

      1. Just a kid who has more will and guts than any of us. Spurned from the ignorance of youth; oh to have that ignorance now as I get older. Inspiration is a good word, reverence comes to mind as well. I really think why it has a such a great gravity towards so many is that we all have a little “Supertramp” inside us but just can’t let it out. Chris has done this for us and for that we are thankful. The kid had rocks.

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