If you have been hoping to make the trek out into the Alaskan wilderness to find Bus 142, the abandoned bus made famous by Jon Krakauer’s account of the misadventures of Christopher McCandless, you’ve missed your chance.
If you haven’t heard the story, McCandless was a young man with more adventurous spirit than knowledge of the wild. He ventured out into the Alaskan bush to seek that adventure, but he got more than he bargained for. He took shelter in a bus that had been dragged up into the wilds by the Yutan Construction Company in the 1950s or ‘60s, and which had served as a shelter for the men building a mine in the area. When the construction company pulled out in 1961, for some reason, they left the bus.
It’s been a while since I read Into the Wild, the book Krakauer wrote about McCandless’ final days. Krakauer based his story on the journals McCandless had left behind, and though I don’t remember the details, I do remember that it must have been a terrible, frightening end for the young man. He was ill-prepared for the ravages of the Alaskan winter, and he died in that bus in 1992.
The book and the resulting movie about McCandless have turned Bus 142, or the “Magic Bus,” into a legendary destination for other adventurers. Many have made the trip safely, but quite a few have not. Alaskan authorities have had to rescue at least 15 people who attempted it, and some of those people shared McCandless’ fate.
In order to prevent more fatalities, the Alaska National Guard removed the bus earlier this month. They flew it out with a Chinook helicopter. You can still go to the spot where the bus used to be, but Bus 142 won’t be there anymore.