The McCandless Mecca: A Pilgrimage to the Magic Bus of the Stampede Trail

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One of the fiercest critics of the McCandless myth — and all that it represents — is Craig Medred, who writes for the online Alaska Dispatch, most recently in September in an article headlined The beatification of Chris McCandless. Kris Fister, a spokeswoman for nearby Denali National Park, whose rangers have been called in to help pilgrims trapped on the wrong side of the river, frames the same question regarding the pilgrims who get into trouble in more moderate terms.

What is your disconnect? There are places you can cross if you go downstream. But often these are people who do not feel comfortable navigating. The summer before last there was one gentleman we had to help on two occasions. For some, at least, the pilgrimage to the bus, far from providing an epiphany, has been the source of disillusionment. Among these is Chris Ingram, who wrote an essay on his own experience for the Christopher McCandless website.

The wilderness is a poor place to put your worries, your concerns, your dreams, your hopes, thoughts, wishes and happinesses. The wild simply is just that, wild. Unchanging, unforgiving, it knows nor cares not for your own life. It exists on its own, unaffected by the dreams or cares of man.

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He's hitchhiked 10, miles across North America, canoed across Ontario, Canada in a birch bark canoe, and hiked the length of the controversial 1,mile Keystone XL Pipeline. Page 1 of What was supposed to be little more than a "literary tour" to a bus from a book that Ilgunas had "merely enjoyed" would become a humorous, enthralling, and, at times, treacherous journey, leading him to the very heart of Alaska. About Ken Ilgunas. Dean Karnazes. Or, get it for Kobo Super Points!

About Publish Join Sign In. Readers Benefits of registering Where are my ebooks? Ask it above. The McCandless Mecca By Ken Ilgunas Copyright Ken Ilgunas Smashwords Edition There is nothing for us but to make it a point of honor to privilege heresy to the last bearable degree on the simple ground that all evolution in thought and conduct must at first appear as heresy and misconduct.

Franz teaches McCandless the craft of leatherwork, resulting in the making of a belt that details McCandless' travels. After spending two months with Franz, McCandless decides to leave for Alaska, despite this upsetting Franz, who has become quite close to McCandless.

Chris McCandless

On a parting note, Franz gives McCandless his old camping and travel gear, along with the offer to adopt him as his grandchild, but McCandless tells him that they should discuss this after he returns from Alaska. Four months at the abandoned bus, life for McCandless becomes harder, he begins to make poor decisions.

As his supplies begin to run out, he realizes that nature is harsh and uncaring. McCandless concludes that true happiness can only be found when shared with others, he seeks to return from the wild to his friends and family. However, he finds that the stream he had crossed during the winter has become wide and violent due to the snow thaw, he is unable to cross. Saddened, he returns to the bus. In a desperate act, McCandless is forced to eat roots and plants, he eats a poisonous one, falling sick as a result.

Dying, he continues to document his process of self-realization and imagines his family for one last time, he crawls into his sleeping bag to die. Two weeks his body is found by moose hunters. Shortly afterwards, Carine returns to Virginia with her brother's ashes in her backpack ; the scenes of graduation from Emory University in the film were shot in the fall of on the front lawn of Reed College.

Some of the graduation scenes were filmed during the actual Emory University graduation on May 15, The Alaska scenes depicting the area around the abandoned bus on the Stampede Trail were filmed 50 miles south of where McCandless died, in the tiny town of Cantwell. Filming at the actual bus would have been too remote for the technical demands of a movie shoot. Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks , the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.

Though, as of yet, there is not a known permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3, years old, with older remains found at deeper levels. From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing as fridge temperatures precluded berry gathering.

In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back well over 10, years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the Bering Strait land bridge in deep antiquity. Captain E. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August while headed to Tanacross , where he intended to set up a trading post; the steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young , ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water.

Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River ; the sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to make it to Tanacross.

Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated around the newly founded Fairbanks. After some urging by James Wickersham , who moved the seat of the Third Division court from Eagle to Fairbanks, the settlement was named after Charles W.

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Fairbanks , a Republican senator from Indiana and the twenty-sixth Vice President of the United States , serving under Theodore Roosevelt during his second term. In these early years of settlement, the Tanana Valley was an important agricultural center for Alaska until the establishment of the Matanuska Valley Colonization Project and the town of Palmer in Agricultural activity still occurs today in the Tanana Valley, but to the southeast of Fairbanks in the communities of Salcha and Delta Junction.

During the early days of Fairbanks, its vicinity was a major producer of agricultural goods. What is now the northern reaches of South Fairbanks was the farm of Paul J. Rickert, who came from nearby Chena in and operated a large farm until his death in Farmers Loop Road and Badger Road, loop roads north and east of Fairbanks, were home to major farming activity. Badger Road is named for Harry Markley Badger, an early resident of Fairbanks who established a farm along the road and became known as "the Strawberry King". Ballaine and McGrath Roads, side roads of Farmers Loop Road, were named for prominent local farmers, whose farms were in the immediate vicinity of their respective namesake roads.

Despite early efforts by the Alaska Loyal League , the Tanana Valley Agriculture Association and William Fentress Thompson , the editor-publisher of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner , to encourage food production, agriculture in the area was never able to support the population, although it came close in the s; the construction of Ladd Army Airfield starting in , part of a larger effort by the federal government during the New Deal and World War II to install major infrastructure in the territory for the first time, fostered an economic and population boom in Fairbanks which extended beyond the end of the war.

In the s the Canol pipeline extended north from Whitehorse for a few years. The Haines - Fairbanks mile long 8" petroleum products pipeline was constructed during the period ; the presence of the U. Ladd became Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks suffered from several floods in its first seven decades, whether from ice jams during spring breakup or heavy rainfall; the first bridge crossing the Chena River, a wooden structure built in to extend Turner Street northward to connect with the wagon roads leading to the gold mining camps washed out before a permanent bridge was constructed at Cushman Street in by the Alaska Road Commission.

On August 14, , after record rainfall upstream, the Chena began to surge over its banks, flooding the entire town of Fairbanks overnight; this disaster led to the creation of the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project , which built and operates the foot-high Moose Creek Dam in the Chena River and accompanying 8-mile-long spillway. The company was known for producing, among other products, the Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose aircraft, the atmospheric entry probe carried by the Galileo spacecraft, the AIM-4 Falcon guided missile.

However the plant's hangars at Hughes Airport, location of present-day Playa Vista in the Westside of Los Angeles , were used as a branch plant for the construction of other companies' designs. At the start of the war Hughes Aircraft had only four full-time employees—by the end the number was 80, During the war, the company was awarded contracts to build B struts, centrifugal cannons, machine gun feed chutes. Hughes Aircraft was one of many aerospace and defense companies which flourished in Southern California during and after World War II and was at one time the largest employer in the area.

Yet, employment had dropped to by By the summer of certain politicians had become concerned about Hughes' alleged mismanagement of the Spruce Goose and the XF photo reconnaissance plane project, they formed a special committee to investigate Hughes which culminated in a much-followed Senate investigation, one of the first to be televised to the public. Despite a critical committee report, Hughes was cleared; the company expanded into the booming electronics field employing 3, Ph.

Hughes hired Ira Eaker , Harold L. George , Tex Thornton to run the company. In Hughes created a new division of the Aerospace Group. Two Hughes engineers, Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge , had new ideas on the packaging of electronics to make complete fire control systems, their MA-1 system combined signals from the aircraft's radar with a digital computer to automatically guide the interceptor aircraft into the proper position for firing missiles.

Ramo and Wooldridge, having failed to reach an agreement with Howard Hughes regarding management problems, resigned in September and founded the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation to join Thompson Products to form the Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge based in Canoga Park , with Hughes leasing space for nuclear research programs present day West Hills.

In Hughes Aircraft Co. Air Force had purchased the property but allowed the company to continue to run day to day operations of the site; this Tucson plant is still in operation under the ownership of Raytheon Co. Howard Hughes donated Hughes Aircraft to the newly formed Howard Hughes Medical Institute in as a way of avoiding taxes on its huge income; the next year, L.

Under Hyland's guidance, the Aerospace Group continued to diversify and become massively profitable, became a primary focus of the company; the company developed radar systems, electro-optical systems, the first working laser, aircraft computer systems, missile systems, ion-propulsion engines, many other advanced technologies. Hughes Aircraft Ground Systems Group was located in California ; the facility was 3 million square feet and included manufacturing, offices, a Munson road test course.

They were the largest revenue producer and with its massive systems engineering division coordinated the inclusion of. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American hiker and explorer. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Self-portrait of McCandless on the Stampede Trail , found undeveloped in his camera after his death. El Segundo, California , U. Stampede Trail , Alaska , U. Into the Wild. Anchor Books.

August 21, Retrieved December 5, The New Yorker : pg Chemical and Engineering News. Retrieved December 12, Alaska Dispatch News. The New Yorker. Into The Wild. New York City : Anchor. Washington Post. Retrieved April 4, The Wild Truth. New York City: Harper One. New York: Doubleday. The Alaska Dispatch. Retrieved October 2, Time, Inc. Retrieved July 25, Archived from the original on November 24, Retrieved August 2, Men's Journal , September October 24, Retrieved February 11, Lonely Planet: Alaska 11 ed.

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Lexington Publishing. CBS News. Associated Press. July 27, Retrieved July 27, Archived from the original on September 19, Text and Community website. Christian, Peter. Retrieved August 26, Anchorage Press. Archived from the original on March 28, Retrieved February 15, The New York Times. PBS Programs. November Grain elevator.

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On March 30, , Kim Dae-jung , while in political exile in the US, gave a speech on human rights and democracy at Emory University and accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the institution. Kim would go on to serve as the 8th President of South Korea. These may include, for example, reducing one's possessions, generally referred to as minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency. Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn in Gandhi believed in a life of simplicity and self-sufficiency.

The McCandless Mecca: A Pilgrimage to the Magic Bus of the Stampede Trail

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