An abandoned city bus, made famous by the book “Into the Wild” and the movie of the same name, was airlifted out of the Alaska backcountry.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 19, 2020
Courtesy of NYT:
It was known as “Bus 142” and the “Magic Bus,” and the rusty green-and-white vehicle had exerted a dangerous and almost talismanic power over hikers for nearly a quarter century — ever since the book “Into the Wild” immortalized Christopher McCandless’s solitary odyssey and lonely death in the Alaskan outback.
Abandoned on the Stampede Trail near Denali National Park, the bus had become a pilgrimage site. It was revered by travelers around the world who had read the book or seen the movie, “Into the Wild,” directed by Sean Penn in 2007. But it had also become a hazard, luring hikers into forbidding territory.
Two travelers drowned in the Teklanika River while trying to reach the bus, in 2010 and 2019. At least 15 others have had to be rescued while trying to retrace Mr. McCandless’s journey, according to the Alaska National Guard.
On Thursday, state officials finally decided to remove the “Into the Wild” bus from the Alaskan wild.
A team of Alaska Army National Guard pilots, flight engineers, crew chiefs and mechanics took a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to the bus’s decades-long resting place, about 25 miles west of Parks Highway, near Healy, Alaska.
After clearing away vegetation, they cut holes in the bus’s roof and floor and hooked straps to its frame. An Alaska Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter then hoisted the bus into the air, flying it across the treetops to a gravel pit, where it was loaded onto a trailer and driven to a “safe location,” according to Dan Saddler, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
I am not going to sugarcoat this, I have never read this book nor seen the movie because it simply pisses me off.
I have no idea why this young fool is celebrated, but in my opinion, he had no business being out in the Alaska wilderness like that, and his death is no different than the deaths of dozens of out of state tourists who underestimate Alaska.
I say this all of the time, but this place can and will kill you if you are not prepared for its mercurial weather patterns and dangerous wildlife.
There are many wonderful sights to see up here, and experiences to have, so traveling all this way to find a fucking bus and celebrate the life of yet another tragic victim seems simply ridiculous to me.
So yes, I am glad this bus has been removed.
And my message for thrill-seekers looking to test their mettle against the Alaska wilderness is to research the hell out of the place first, equip yourself like you are visiting some alien planet where everything might be trying to kill you, and then cancel those plans and simply take one of the glacier cruises to see the whales and the bus up to Denali to see wolves and bears and then return to your home, so that we do not have to find your body and ship it back there ourselves.
(P.S. If you think I am exaggerating about the number of tourist deaths up here please chick THIS LINK. They stopped updating it in 2011 but you will get the gist.)