The iconic bus made famous by the Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild has been removed from the Alaskan backcountry. Over the years, the bus has become a popular destination for readers who made a pilgrimage to its remote location just as Chris McCandless did back in 1992. That alone wasn’t necessarily problematic, but getting to and from the bus could be very dangerous at times, and over the year it cost the lives of at least two people, while dozens of others have had to call for a rescue.
Following the publication of Krakauer’s book in 1996, McCandless became something of a cult hero to many readers. The young man perished in the Alaskan wilderness while living alone in the bus. He journaled about his desire to get back to a more natural lifestyle and leaving society behind to embrace the wild. Unfortunately, he lacked the skills and wherewithal to take care of himself in the backcountry and ended up dying of starvation. He was just 24 years old at the time.
Krakauer’s intent was to tell McCandless’s story and take us inside his mind, with much of the tale coming from the young man’s own words in his diary. But instead of becoming a cautionary tale, Into the Wild served as inspiration for some who embraced its subject’s philosophies. As a result, a number of people began making a backcountry sojourn to the now famous—or infamous—bus to camp there just as McCandless had. Without even trying, Krakauer had turned the bus into a tourist attraction.
Getting to the bus requires a fairly challenging hike into the backcountry that includes fording several streams and rivers. Those rivers can swell in size at time and turn into raging rapids without much notice. This can make them impassable for days, leaving hikers stranded on the wrong side. This has led to more than a few attempting to wade across, with two drowning in the process—the most recent of which was just last year. Because of this, the decision was finally made to remove the bus altogether. That happened yesterday when a large Army helicopter was brought in to airlift it from its resting point not far from Denali National Park.
At this point, the ultimate fate of the bus is still unknown. Authorities in Alaska say they will eventually make a decision about what will become o fit, but for now they are happy that it will no longer beckon hikers to its dangerous location.
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