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Long Before the ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Was a Deadly Tourist Trap, It Was a Hunting Camp
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https://www.outdoorlife.com/st...s-fans-into-trouble/


Link has photo of author's Father after a successful hunt with the "Magic Bus" in background.



Long Before the ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Was a Deadly Tourist Trap, It Was a Hunting Camp

The lure of the Magic Bus got some McCandless fans into trouble—and even killed


By Tyler Freel
June 25, 2020

A few days ago, the Alaska National Guard used a Chinook helicopter to lift and carry out “The Bus.” If you’re not familiar, this is the bus that the wandering Chris McCandless perished in after a short stint of trying to live off the land in 1992. The local perspective on McCandless’ story is that he was an ill-prepared squatter who tragically lost his life due to poor decision making. And this story might have faded into history if it were not immortalized by the book, (and then movie) Into The Wild. Since the book was published, scores of people have been drawn to that old Fairbanks City Transit bus No. 142 (commonly referred to as “the magic bus”) on the far side of the Teklanika River on the edge of Denali National Park. Many of these folks admired McCandless, and wanted to see the site where he tried to survive in the wilderness.

Practically speaking, removing the bus was a good thing. There is nothing magic about that bus, and one unfortunate fellow’s poor decisions paved the way for lots more folks to get themselves into trouble by trying to follow in his footsteps. For decades, emergency rescuers had to save stranded and endangered tourists each season. Some have even died on their pilgrimage to visit “the bus.” Remove the bus, and the site will be swallowed up into the expansive wilderness. Its significance will be lost forever. After all, what’s the loss in removing what is essentially litter, a junked old bus that has become nothing but a literal tourist trap?



On the flip side, the bus does mean something to some of us who live here in interior Alaska. Turns out that hunters and outdoorsmen had been using that bus long before McCandless’ story made it famous.

“I’ve spent a lot of nights in that bus,” my dad would tell me. It was his family’s hunting camp for several years in the 1960s. My uncle has pictures with moose and caribou by bus No. 142. Those are fond memories from days when it was just a hunting camp. It seems that those memories will be taken back by the wilderness as well, and some Alaskans hold a little bitterness for McCandless and the unwanted attention he brought to that bus.

In the end, I think it was probably time to move the bus. If ever there were an effigy of unpreparedness and poor decision making in the Alaska wilderness, that bus was it. After McCandless, it lured only more ill-prepared people into danger. I know my feelings that oppose moving the bus are illogical. It is no longer what it once was, and it could never again be just a hunting camp. That bus was haunted by the story of a wanderer who never should have ventured into the wilderness alone, never should have taken up residence there, and never should have died there. So yes, the bus needed to go. Its plot of ground will be swallowed back into the wild—this time, for good.


Kathi

kathi@wildtravel.net
708-425-3552

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
 
Posts: 8116 | Location: Chicago | Registered: 23 July 2003Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathi:
https://www.outdoorlife.com/st...s-fans-into-trouble/


Link has photo of author's Father after a successful hunt with the "Magic Bus" in background.



Long Before the ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Was a Deadly Tourist Trap, It Was a Hunting Camp

The lure of the Magic Bus got some McCandless fans into trouble—and even killed


By Tyler Freel
June 25, 2020

A few days ago, the Alaska National Guard used a Chinook helicopter to lift and carry out “The Bus.” If you’re not familiar, this is the bus that the wandering Chris McCandless perished in after a short stint of trying to live off the land in 1992. The local perspective on McCandless’ story is that he was an ill-prepared squatter who tragically lost his life due to poor decision making. And this story might have faded into history if it were not immortalized by the book, (and then movie) Into The Wild. Since the book was published, scores of people have been drawn to that old Fairbanks City Transit bus No. 142 (commonly referred to as “the magic bus”) on the far side of the Teklanika River on the edge of Denali National Park. Many of these folks admired McCandless, and wanted to see the site where he tried to survive in the wilderness.

Practically speaking, removing the bus was a good thing. There is nothing magic about that bus, and one unfortunate fellow’s poor decisions paved the way for lots more folks to get themselves into trouble by trying to follow in his footsteps. For decades, emergency rescuers had to save stranded and endangered tourists each season. Some have even died on their pilgrimage to visit “the bus.” Remove the bus, and the site will be swallowed up into the expansive wilderness. Its significance will be lost forever. After all, what’s the loss in removing what is essentially litter, a junked old bus that has become nothing but a literal tourist trap?



On the flip side, the bus does mean something to some of us who live here in interior Alaska. Turns out that hunters and outdoorsmen had been using that bus long before McCandless’ story made it famous.

“I’ve spent a lot of nights in that bus,” my dad would tell me. It was his family’s hunting camp for several years in the 1960s. My uncle has pictures with moose and caribou by bus No. 142. Those are fond memories from days when it was just a hunting camp. It seems that those memories will be taken back by the wilderness as well, and some Alaskans hold a little bitterness for McCandless and the unwanted attention he brought to that bus.

In the end, I think it was probably time to move the bus. If ever there were an effigy of unpreparedness and poor decision making in the Alaska wilderness, that bus was it. After McCandless, it lured only more ill-prepared people into danger. I know my feelings that oppose moving the bus are illogical. It is no longer what it once was, and it could never again be just a hunting camp. That bus was haunted by the story of a wanderer who never should have ventured into the wilderness alone, never should have taken up residence there, and never should have died there. So yes, the bus needed to go. Its plot of ground will be swallowed back into the wild—this time, for good.


What a shame, they removed a gene pool cleansing aid. dancing thumbdown
 
Posts: 2079 | Location: KENAI, ALASKA | Registered: 10 November 2001Reply With Quote
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Could just as easily have been a life saver for some unfortunate traveler as well.

Grizz


When the horse has been eliminated, human life may be extended an average of five or more years.
James R. Doolitle
 
Posts: 487 | Location: Central Alberta, Canada | Registered: 20 July 2019Reply With Quote
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How remote was the bus? Someone must have driven it in at one time. Was it four wheel drive?
 
Posts: 1266 | Location: N.J | Registered: 16 October 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by J_Zola:
How remote was the bus? Someone must have driven it in at one time. Was it four wheel drive?


Mc Candless problem was timing. From Krakauer, I gather at times the river is quite passable, it was a normal city bus driven in there on an old road.

Grizz


When the horse has been eliminated, human life may be extended an average of five or more years.
James R. Doolitle
 
Posts: 487 | Location: Central Alberta, Canada | Registered: 20 July 2019Reply With Quote
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Pilots, miners, motorcyclists and pedestrians commonly make mistakes that are fatal.
What?
As a parent I can't think of something more soul crushing than the painful death of a child, but as a formerly young man I salute Alexander Supertramps spirit of adventure and independence.

Stay home in your metro suburb if you think," something might happen!" Ninnies.
 
Posts: 6080 | Location: Dillingham Alaska | Registered: 10 April 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott King:
Pilots, miners, motorcyclists and pedestrians commonly make mistakes that are fatal.
What?
As a parent I can't think of something more soul crushing than the painful death of a child, but as a formerly young man I salute Alexander Supertramps spirit of adventure and independence.

Stay home in your metro suburb if you think," something might happen!" Ninnies.


Yes, a shame about the McCandless kid. The movie hype made it "Famous" the wannabee's started pilgriming to it & the AST & park service spent lots of $$$ rescuing idiots! Too bad a few dumbasses ruin things for all. I have stayed in trapper cabins in the interior & even here on the Kenai during hunting season always leaving in far better shape & supplied than when found.
Not sure nor do I give a shit about Scots rant??
 
Posts: 2079 | Location: KENAI, ALASKA | Registered: 10 November 2001Reply With Quote
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I own property and have a couple cabins on the Teklanika River, in fact my youngest grandson is named Tek after the river. I've been on that river for over 30 years.
I'm quite a ways downstream of where the crossing is to the bus, but at different times this river really flows fast. Early in the spring that far upstream you could cross without much difficulty.
Most times if you keep your head, you can get across with a waling stick and a lack of fear for getting wet.
Also a couple hundred yards from the trail is a cable stretched across the river with a seat on it for crossing. I heard the bus was drug in, probably assisted by a dozer, by hunters wanting a camp back there.
 
Posts: 423 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 11 February 2008Reply With Quote
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http://doranhannes.com/the-magic-bus-phenomenon/



But how did the bus even get there?

The Stampede Trail came to be in the 1930s when the miner Earl Pilgrim (what an interesting last name) used it to access his antimony claims on Stampede Creek. Later in 1961 the Yutan Construction Company tried to upgrade the trail, so trucks could be hauling ore from the mines back to the railroad. The project was halted shortly after, before any bridges where built. The company used buses to transport workers from Fairbanks to the work sites these days. A man named Jess Mariner, who was a heavy-duty mechanic employed with Yutan Construction during the 1960s and 1970s, had bought two buses from the City of Fairbanks to use as mobile homes while working out in the country. The engine of bus 142 had been removed and so it was pulled by D8 Cats when moved from camp to camp. At some point the axle of bus 142 broke and it was left on the trail to serve as shelter for hunters and trappers in the following years. The trail and the bus finally got famous when the body of Christopher McCandless was found inside the bus on the 9th of September 1992. He had tried to survive in the bus and live off the land before he died of starvation after about four month “in the wild”. The exact cause of death is still debated by many people today.


Kathi

kathi@wildtravel.net
708-425-3552

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
 
Posts: 8116 | Location: Chicago | Registered: 23 July 2003Reply With Quote
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Good riddance to the shrine for dreamers without skills. There are so many examples of adventurous individuals in Alaska that are deserving of providing inspiration to future generations: Dick Proenneke, Hemo Korth, Jim Reardon, and countless others especially the native Alaskans who have thrived for over 10,000 years in the lands of Alaska.


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The AR series of rounds, ridding the world of 7mm rem mags, one gun at a time.
 
Posts: 7205 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 27 February 2001Reply With Quote
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