Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 18th 2012,
If you google his name the only date that is suggested for is death is August 18th 1992. Twenty years ago sometime in this week, Chris McCandless died in an abandon bus on the Stampede Trail. James and I have been working for a company here in Healy Alaska called Denali ATV Adventures since May and they actually have a ATV tour on this infamous Stampeded Trail. James has been working as a guide, guiding up and down just 9 miles of this trail and finally this week we walked past the 9 mile marker "into the wild" as Chris put it. Its amazing how this story has brought travelers from all over the world to take their picture in front of the magic bus. I've been working in the Office for Denali ATV and have come across a number of people asking me how to get there and if we'll take them.

We hit the trail the evening of the 18th of August twenty years later.
Now I hate to say it, but when we came to the Teklanika River (the river Chris could not make it back across) it was extremely low, taking us less then 10 minutes for our party of 5 to cross. It was only knee high and the current wasn't that strong. Why do I hate to say it? I don't really know exactly. Could be because I wanted it to be harder for Chris's sake maybe it was because all the locals said it was. Any rate it was an easy crossing over the Taklanika the day we were there.

We walked on. We went through a beaver pond and splashed our way to camp. Over drinks we talked about the bus, Chris, work, the Teklanika and how lucky we were.

In the morning, our throats parched and with no water to drink we hiked on to a little stream we named Brian James Springs, in honor of the coworker who let us borrow his water filter.

By noon we had made it to the bus. No one was there. The Bus was all ours and it was amazing. Not only did the bus look in better shape then everyone had said it was, it was a living breathing shrine to this image and idea of being In the Wild. Yes, the windows have been shot out by the locals and there was a garbage area behind the bus, not to mention the obvious bathroom choices people had made. But despite all that it was THE BUS.

Now I know its just a bus, but to call it "just a bus" takes away from what it can really represent. I remember watching the film before heading up to Alaska in 2008. I remember recalling the story when I went backpacking by myself for a week. I remember crying on a plane while reading the book heading to Missouri. I'd love to say I like the story because I think I know what Chris was looking for, but I can't know that for sure. What I do know is that the story reminds me of the search for freedom and thus the bus represents that search.

Now I know this might be strange, but when we sat down on the bed in the back of the bus, it was extremely comfortable. James and I are used to sleeping on floors or dirt, but this bed was like a dream hammock. So yes, I know this sounds creepy, but we slept in Chris's bed.

Our hike back was filled with the feeling accomplishment. When we hit the Teklanika River it had risen quite a few inches. It was actually at one point at my crouch. The current was strong. It took full concentration. In a day and a half, the river had gone from simple to moderately hard, a few more inches and it would have been a true struggle to cross. Our minds were at ease.

Monday, August 6, 2012

So I finally got a video together that I think does a great job at explaining our experience of the trail. They are available on youtube, though I think you have to view them on an PC. It won't work on mobile devices. 

Part 1 PCT 2011

Part 2 PCT 2011

Part 3 PCT 2011

Super fun to make! Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We made it!!!!!

So we made it to the border the 26th of Oct.! I can't believe it. It was really hard going but we came out the other end alive and with all fingers and toes, so thats more than we could ask for.
A reflection entry is in order but for now I just have to get us to being back.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just over 80 more miles

We made it!!! It was such a struggle through the snow and rain to make it to stehekin but we did. The postmaster said we we're his latest pct hikers he has seen. We wore it like a badge of honor. So what if we're the slowest, we hiked the longest hike! Something to be proud of. We have about 4 to 5 more days at the most and then we're heading home to be with family
And friends. I can't wait. What a long strange trip it's been. I can't wait tell I get to be nostalgic about this trip and write long reflective essays on the matter.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

250 miles from the border and it is pure hell. We had a melt down and wanted to get off trail. At 5000 ft the snow was sticking and a few more inches and we wouldn't be able to see the trail cut through the brush. Below 5000 ft it was pure rain. Shoes soaked, body tired and all of us had hit a breaking point.
We hit snolqulamie pass, cerveza called some friends in Seattle and we planned to go into town. We needed a zero(none mileage day). We revamped our gear, looked at the weather (snow, rain, snow, rain) fuck! But Canada can not be taken away from us. We have to try. We have too!
So right now we are just going to go for it. We know we're taking a risk but we got too. It's to close.
It's only 2 weeks at most. That's nothing.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011


So we are at mile 2303 white pass. We went over goat mountains while a storm was coming in. It was kind of scary but we're pushing northward. Next stop we're half way through Washington. Almost home free. I can't wait to get home but first I got to walk 350 more miles

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Timberline lodge

498 miles left!!! We went into Portland for a day, dropped of Shilo to my mom and now were heading to cascade locks!

Here comes the last leg of the trail!

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