chris mccandless

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Into The Wild Documentary | Return to the Wild: The Chris McCandless Story

notes/quotes from doc []:

2 min – sister: one of greatest misunderstandings.. how much he was hurting when he left.. and why that is

we understood the things that haunted each other

3 min – secrets.. that may help explain what brought Chris to this place to live and to die alone

4 min – strangers who revere chris.. the courage to slip the bonds of a comfortable middle class existence… so committed to defying conventional notions of success…

voluntary compliance ness

live before you die.. how many of us actually do that.. or do we just exist

5 min – sean penn visits bus.. then writes/directs – into the wild… the heart of what was essential about the story.. was part of all of us.. everybody’s story..

to dive into that swimming pool.. like that.. is something we all want to do .. somehow..

5 min – long before hero.. to little sister… Carine.. soul mates.. he was her protector…

6 min – father.. rocket scientist who worked for nasa.. we were always tent camping and hiking

8 min – it wasn’t a challenge to him if it wasn’t a challenge.. if he knew exactly how the adventure was going to pan out at the end.. it wasn’t an adventure

nature offered more than a challenge – was in many ways.. a sanctuary – those were the most peaceful times with my parents.. there wasn’t fighting out here.. we felt safer outside of our home.. and we felt safer with our parents outside of our home.. where all the things that had to stay hidden had to.. live

9 min – Carine writes book – 20 yrs after death- the wild truth..

the constant misconceptions about my brother made me want to cry out the real reasons why walking into the wild was far from crazy.. but the sanest thing Chris could have done..

from Chris’s letters to Carine while in college.. pointless to tell the stories.. no one would believe them

11 min – double life of dad… 5 yrs living between two fams

13 min – dying inside.. that somebody everyday is telling you .. you are nothing (sister on mother’s abuse)…  you made them do it.. and afterwards they’re really sorry about it. everyday you’re dying a little bit

14 min – in 72 – restraining order… divorce.. when Chris was 5.. she moved to colorado.. with 6 kids and no money

16 min – the one word would be toxic

18 min – mom: i’m sorry.. but when i got pregnant with Chris.. i got stuck with your dad..  Chris .. told throughout childhood.. all the heaviness/pain/constant-pressure/violence stem from his existence… i think he felt a lot of guilt at a young age for trapping his mother/sister in that..

19 min – on the soulness.. they had to survive together.. none of these details appear in the book… Carine asked to leave it out.. wanted to give parents opp

20 min – i allowed sean to read letters. not siblings.. i kept letters from letters out of kindness.. i’m not releasing letters to hurt my parents.. i’m releasing parts for people to get a better understanding of Chris..

21 min – parents reject ideas of his leaving because of them… reject Carine’s writings as fictional/sensationalism…Chris in letter to Carine: someone parents have reserved worst part of themselves for us alone

22 min – Chris realized.. the things we did that cost least amount of money made us happiest

24 min – got car to travel.. parents wanting itinerary.. he said.. that’s part of the plan.. to have no plan… gone all summer.. trial run for disappearance 5 yrs later..

25 min – dad: that was first trip that hurt the heart a little bit

26 min – dad: his adventures had more to do with him and his outlook on life.. than anything else..

again – voluntary compliance.. beliefs formed from earlier pressures… is that voluntary..?

26 min – around jr yr of college.. sustain for parent’s money became contempt.. by sr year siblings saw change.. on cruise.. seemed .. more withdrawn

27 min – wrote Carine – said sent letter to parents expressing feelings.. response: thanks for letter.. saving them for children one day… totally beyond hope.. no way to ever bring them back into reality..

28 min – 90 – graduation.. since won’t ever take me seriously.. i’m just going to play along with their acting game…. once time right.. going to completely knock them out of my life..

29 min – going to divorce them as my parents..  maybe it will be diff for you Carine.. maybe once i’m gone they will learn to treat you with respect…

30 min – had all mail held at po.. then all returned to me.. and to Carine.. then we found a pi and started researching.. he had given money to oxfam

when found out disappeared.. he was 2000 miles away.. flooded car.. burned license plates.. and walked away.. 2 days later..foto’d self burning money

32 min – dad: i think Chris was a long way from knowing what he wanted to do

sister: had to go out and get truth for self.. couldn’t get from parents..

he took fotos over 600… they put into book called back to the wild

33 min – met jan – hitchhiking.. had new name.. alexander supertramp.. jan: he had the best smile in the whole world.. bonded and became friends.. jan had lost touch with own son.. same age..

35 min – worst feeling i ever had.. being in suspended animation.. not much you can do..

36 min – on thinking he would come back..

37 min – in montanna meets wayne westerberg.. helps out on farm

38 min – he didn’t want anyone giving him the 10th degree.. didn’t like anyone being nosey… stayed a while.. sent postcards.. 2 yrs out of touch with fam

39 min – he was a modern huck finn

carine: it was a matter of survival to him.. to be able to be himself and find where he could fit into the world and remain true to himself.. didn’t matter how tough it got..

imagining eudaimoniative surplus..

40 min – had one big dream left.. alaska

41 min – wayne: i offered plane ticket.. but had to go by foot/rail… 92 – sends Chris final postcard.. if this proves fatal.. i want you to know you’re a great man..

i now walk into the wild

43 min – standing 8 miles in on stampede road.. Carine: bus is 20 miles that way.. you know .. if you feel like you weren’t ever supposed to exist and you want to sort of a.. get rid of Chris McCandless for a while.. this was a great place to do  it.. he didn’t not come here to die.. he came here to find himself.. just because want to peer into abyss.. doesn’t mean want to fall into it..

44 min – dad: i couldn’t do what he did

3 days in.. finds bus.. home for next 110 days.. the magic bus

Chris went into nature.. searching for things he didn’t have in childhood.. peace, purity, honesty

45 min – notes w/in books he reads.. a young man wrestling with how to live a moral and purposeful life..

Carine: i was never worried.. i wasn’t… i never thought Chris would get himself into a situation he couldn’t handle.. he was Chris.. my protector..

shoots moose.. troubled though when most rots away… then later writes.. family happiness.. shaves beard.. leaves bus..

47 min – Carine: Chris plans to walk back out.. it was obvious.. i have known no person that loved life as much as Chris did

unable to cross river.. returns to bus.. writes in journal: ‘rained in .. river looks impossible… lonely, scared’

Carine: he was never lonely, scared.. so that was tough for me

48 min – 22 days of wild potato seeds.. in journal .. fears pods are poisoning him.. 4th month acknowledges weak/starving… pins sos note on bus…

49 min – (pic at top of page). he is holding note: i have had a good life.. good bye and god bless all

whoa.. had no idea when picked it

113th day after walking into wild.. journal entries stop…. found him in sleeping bag his mom had made for him as a kid

53 min – words at end.. on dad saying life is better.. and he would forgive (all 7 weren’t talking to them) .. children saying if can’t be truthful.. i may stand with victims..



wikipedia small

Christopher JohnsonChrisMcCandless (/ˈkrɪstəfər ˈɒnsən məˈkændls/; February 12, 1968 – ca. August 1992) was an American hiker and itinerant traveler, who also went by the name “Alexander Supertramp”. After graduating from college in 1990, McCandless traveled the United States, and eventually hitchhiked to Alaska in April 1992. There, he set out along an old mining road known as theStampede Trail, with minimal supplies, hoping to live simply off the land. Almost four months later, McCandless’ decomposing body, weighing only 30 kilograms (66 lb), was found by hunters in a converted bus used as a backcountry shelter along the Stampede Trail, on the eastern bank of theSushana River. His cause of death was officially ruled to be starvation, although the exact cause remains the subject of some debate.

In January 1993, Jon Krakauer published McCandless’ story in that month’s issue of Outside magazine. He’d been assigned the story and had written it under a tight deadline. Inspired by the details of McCandless’ story, Krakauer wrote and published the more extensive biographical book Into the Wild(1997), about McCandless’ travels. The book was subsequently adapted into a 2007 film directed bySean Penn, with Emile Hirsch portraying McCandless. That same year, McCandless’ story also became the subject of Ron Lamothe’s documentary The Call of the Wild (2007).


A PBS documentary uncovering some additional information, with interviews, titled Return to the Wild: The Chris McCandless Story, first aired on the PBS network in November 2014.



let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way – deep enough for all of us

let’s live alive.. ie:hosting life bits via self talk as data


wilde not-us law




still haven’t seen movie


the making of into the wild

shedding skin of past..

he wanted to get close to the earth.. and close to people who did not live by the dollar sign… standards he found repulsive.. we’ve always gone west to find wilderness in our nature..

puzzling.. that didn’t leave not for sister/parents

4 min – author – had done similar – when 23.. alaska for 3 wks.. but i survived.. they said chris was crazy/suicidal.. that’s what they would have said of me if i had died.. sort of a way to try to explain me to people..

5 min – he doesn’t shun people.. they all see something magnetic in this boy

6 min – penn asking to make movie.. said yes.. then mother had a dream and put it off.. for 10 yrs

7 min – eddie vedder.. this young man is probably the last one that would want a movie made about him… certainly not a commercial feature.. super romanticized.. fortunate someone like sean took it up

9 min – emile was 9 when he first heard of chris..

38 min – he died alive


may 2016 – update.. to how Chris died

I included in an updated edition of Into the Wild printed in 2007: It wasn’t the seeds that killed McCandless, but rather a mold growing on the seeds, which produced a toxic alkaloid called swainsonine.


Confirmation that toxic seeds were at least partly responsible for McCandless’s death is unlikely to persuade many Alaskans to regard him in a more sympathetic light, but it may prevent other backcountry foragers from accidentally poisoning themselves. Had McCandless’s guidebook to edible plants warned that H. alpinum seeds contain a “highly toxic secondary plant constituent,” as L-canavanine is described in the scientific literature, he probably would have walked out of the wild in late August with no more difficulty than when he walked into it in April, and would still be alive today.


Christopher Knight and crazywise.. et al..


jun 2020 – bus airlifted from alaskan wild .. seen as danger .. – article is paywalled:

The Alaska Army National Guard transported the bus to a “secure site” after two hikers have died and at least 15 have had to be rescued while trying to reach the bus in the remote Alaskan wilderness.


sept 2022 – Into The Wild: The True Story Behind The Real Chris McCandless – []

Chris McCandless lost his life in the wilderness, and by the time the hunters arrived, he’d reportedly already been gone for 19 days.

It appears that not only did Chris McCandless enter the Alaska wilderness with little supplies, but he also allegedly left some of what he owned in Jim Gallien’s truck. Supposedly, his map and watch were abandoned in the vehicle, meaning Chris could only rely on the landscape for navigation. That had the potential to make his adventure more dangerous.

Chris McCandless reportedly acknowledged in his diary that he might have been in a better situation if he still had his map. With that at his disposal, he could have potentially planned a safe route across the river so he could continue on his journey. Chris also might have been able to see that there was salvation nearby.

The true story of ‘Into the Wild’ has some tragic turns, and this is easily one of the worst of them. It appears McCandless was only a mile away from a cabin of supplies and a hand-operated tram. As much as he might not have wanted to rely on help, the food that was here could have saved his life.

If Chris McCandless had managed to last for a few more weeks, he might have still been alive when the hunters reached the bus. If that had happened, the true story of ‘Into the Wild’ might have had a very different ending. Unfortunately, the explorer couldn’t hold on any longer and passed away long before anyone could help him.

Most people assume that starvation was responsible for Chris losing his life. If he was unable to find much to eat and kept using more energy than he was putting into his body, then it makes sense. Starvation does some horrific damage to the body, meaning the explorer sadly might not have left this world comfortably and peacefully.

Although starvation is the general consensus, some people think that other elements might have come into play. Jon Krakauer, who wrote the book that ‘Into the Wild’ is adapted from, suggested a different theory. He believed that Chris McCandless might have eaten Hedysarum alpinum seeds, which ended up claiming his life, even though they’re not meant to be dangerous.

The idea is that mold developing within bus 142 might have left the explorer in a bad way. It’s well-established that exposure to mold can be quite harmful, with this particular mold allegedly causing digestive issues in animals. Therefore, it’s perhaps not hard to see how some might make the connection between this and Chris losing his life.