Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, June 19, 2020

Alaska Department of Natural Resources press release: A 1940s-era Fairbanks city bus that became a sometimes deadly
attraction to outdoor adventurers has been removed by helicopter from the remote side of the Teklanika River near Healy through a joint effort of Alaska's Department of
Natural Resources and the Alaska Army National Guard. "After studying the issue closely, prioritizing public safety and considering a variety of alternatives, we decided it was best to remove the bus from its location on the Stampede Trail," said Commissioner Corri A. Feige. "We're fortunate the Alaska Army National Guard could do the job as a training mission to practice airlifting vehicles, at no cost to the public or additional cost to the State." The abandoned vehicle, variously known as "Bus 142," or the "Into the Wild" bus, had been used by the Yutan Construction Co to house employees during the construction of a pioneer access road between Lignite and Stampede and was subsequently abandoned upon completion of the road in 1961. The bus is located approximately 25 miles west of the Parks Highway. Used since as an emergency shelter, it became well-known after John Krakauer's 1996 book "Into the Wild" and a 2007 movie with the same name popularized the story of 24-
year-old wanderer Chris McCandless, who sadly died there alone in 1992 after a 114-
day stay. Numerous travelers have sought to reach the bus by retracing McCandless' steps, and many have died, been injured or required search-and-rescue services while hiking in harsh weather or crossing the rain- and meltwater-swollen Teklanika or Savage rivers. Since 2010 two people have drowned on their way to or from the bus, prompting numerous calls to reduce or eliminate the hazard. The bus was removed this morning, and will be stored at a secure location while DNR considers all options and alternatives for its permanent disposition, Feige said. "We encourage people to enjoy Alaska's wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination," said Feige. "However, this is an abandoned and deteriorating vehicle that was requiring dangerous and costly rescue efforts. More importantly, it was costing some visitors their lives. I really appreciate the Alaska National Guard for making it possible to achieve a safe, respectful and economical solution to this situation."



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I never got to hike out to it. I guess that's one I shouldn't have put off for later.

#1 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-06-19 12:03 PM | Reply

Siiiigh.... There are better places to visit in Alaska than some bus in the bushes.

Few people are prepared for that level of remoteness. A person gets eaten alive by black flies and mosquitos... or things larger... and if you survive you are really messed up for a while. Really dumb to romanticize what that guy did.

I lived in AK 14 years and love it for what it is... primarily it is something so breathtaking in its majesty it's not a place to take for granted.

#2 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2020-06-19 03:14 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1


    Magic Bus
into Google Maps has hit #2 as the right one.

#3 | Posted by LesWit at 2020-06-19 06:32 PM | Reply

The area is really not that remote. It's about two hours south of Fairbanks, then maybe 20 miles to the site. A strong hiker could easily do it on a summer Alaska day. Or it seems likely they could. I never did it.

#4 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-06-20 08:39 AM | Reply


With the terrain I would give it two days to hike in. I never hiked in AK but I have in all sorts of other terrain and I was more than a strong hiker back then. 10 miles hiking in a day is a pretty brutal pace in a real back country setting, also you have a river to ford so that's going to slow you down, and elevation changes are surprisingly brutal with downhill often worse than uphill, the map shows 1500 feet up and 1400 down.

I think people thinking it was a day hike is probably why so many deaths and emergency extractions there. I would pack for 4 days minimum. I am constantly amazed at how clueless people are about planning hiking trips. I suspect it is partly because most people are expecting well maintained trails like you find in a national park. Then again I like my comforts and when I hiked I was strong as hell so a 60lb pack was NBD for me. As a result I probably over packed. Then again I had a blast.

I remember one trip where me and 2 other guys packed in fixing for spaghetti and homemade sauce. We had tomatoes basil etc for the sauce a loaf of bread for toast as well as two big pots and 2 peak stoves aluminium foil etc. It was crazy but awesome. We got to the site about 2PM started simmering the sauce set up camp went swimming etc then wrapped the bread in foil on the fire quick boiled the noodles and had the best campfire meal you can imagine. However you can't do stuff like that if you're not willing to pack in (and back out) the weight. Back in HS I ran about 8 miles a day worked out an hour in the gym after the run then rode my bike home. I would not recommend hiking the way I used to for most people.

#5 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2020-06-20 09:18 AM | Reply

I hike a lot. My pace is about 3 miles per hour up hill. Sometimes I carry a pack for extra weight, but I don't do overnight hikes. I live on the edge of the Palatinate Forest (think Black Forest on the western bank of the Rhine) so I don't have to go far in order to hike. I prefer to bike though.

#6 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-06-20 09:29 AM | Reply

I think you're right though. There are probably a lot of city people who look at the distance and think they can reach the site with relative ease, before getting sideways. Maybe that's why they pulled it out.

#7 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-06-20 09:30 AM | Reply


3 mph still means a 13 hour round trip not counting the fording of the river. So I doubt you are making that in one day unless you really think you can maintain that pace for 13 hours straight including while wet. Even optimistically I think you would need to plan on 2 days one in one out. My rule of thumb for trips was carry enough for 1 more day than expected. If things went sideways I would have an extra day to deal with it before it got bad. Even then I could probably stretch my supplies for 2 days longer than anticipated. I also always carried basics like paracord, knife, fishing hooks, extensive first aid kit, ferro rod and zippo so even in a really bad emergency I was probably good for a week. BTW even for day hikes I would carry a small bag with that stuff if you break an ankle or something on the trail even close to home you could die before anyone knows there is a problem. (unless of course you still have cell signal then meh call for help and play candy crush till they get there)

Maybe that's why they pulled it out.

That's exactly why.

#8 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2020-06-20 10:09 AM | Reply


I don't disagree with you.

The last time I went to Alaska, my bros picked me up at the airport, took me to the hotel, after which we went to the bar for some food a few beers. Not long after, we were the only ones left. The staff was standing around looking at us funny. I asked what was going on-they were closing. It was midnight. But it looked like it was late afternoon.

I was there from late July through late august. during that time, sunset shifted by more than two hours.

#9 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-06-20 02:01 PM | Reply

"There are better places to visit in Alaska than some bus in the bushes."

There are other buses to see?
Buses in the plains, buses stuck in the middle of a river, buses mysteriously on the top of a mountain?
Imma pack my bags right away!

#10 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-06-20 02:07 PM | Reply

Muskeg hiking is a specialty...

Actually abandoned vehicles of various types are very common in AK. Everywhere you go... someone got stuck and left it off-road and left it. I've seen all sorts of fun things out there.

The problem with off-roading in AK is the terrain is subject to radical melting, frost heaves, sinkholes, and all sorts of natural phenomena designed to get you as stuck as possible. Not a matter of when but where.

For example, the Iditarod trail is impossible to use in some places unless it's frozen because the ground is too mushy in the summer. Think ice road truckers... it's seasonal. The summertime long days... it easily gets to 90F in the day time. You want to make sure you follow a river. Alaska's interior is an arctic desert... in fact, AK mainland is as arid as the desert southwest.

Also... this is the most important factor AK is remote I don't care how "close to the road" you think are it is remote.

#11 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2020-06-20 03:39 PM | Reply

"Imma pack my bags right away!"

Probably not your scene.

Lots of guns. Lots of ---- that will kill you that you can't protest.

You're better off in California. You're not built for Alaska.

#12 | Posted by madbomber at 2020-06-20 05:27 PM | Reply

Sure, champ.
I've been to every state, Alaska ranks pretty high.

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-06-20 05:51 PM | Reply

"Lots of ---- that will kill you that you can't protest."

Nah. Very few cops in Alaska compared to any other state.

#14 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-06-20 05:53 PM | Reply

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