Chris mccandless

Chris McCandless: The American Odyssey

  • Birth

    Chris was born in El Segundo, California. His parents are Walt and Billie McCandless. Chris was described at the time of his birth as "underweight but healthy and animated. "
  • His first adventure!

    His first adventure!
    Chris, at the age of two, snuck out of his house to get candy out of a drawer from a house down his street. This was a clear sign that Chris loved to be independent and adored adventures!
  • Moving to Annandale, Virginia

    Moving to Annandale, Virginia
    Chris lived in Annandale for the remainder of his childhood and adolescence.
  • Hiking with daddy

    Hiking with daddy
    Chris, his father, and his other brothers and sisters went hiking to Longs Peak in Colorado.14,256 Feet: the highest summet in the Rocky Mountain Natioinal Park. Walt admitted that Chris would've kept going without them were it not for his age (12).
  • Graduation from Emory

    Graduation from Emory
    Chris happily accepted his diploma. He had 3.72 grade-point average.
  • Beginning of his Journey!

    Beginning of his Journey!
    Chris drove in Lake Mead NAtional Recreation Area. Ignoring the posted warnings that off-road driving was strictly forbidden, McCandless got off the pavement and drove two miles down the river bend. The car was found abandoned in October 1990.
  • Working at Crazy Ernie's

    Working at Crazy Ernie's
    Chris hitchhiked with a guy who called himself Crazy Ernie. Chris worked in this trashy and disasterous ranch with six other vagabonds for eleven days until he realized he would not get payed. He stole a bicycle and headed for Red Bluff, Weaverville, and Willow Creek.
  • He meets Jan Burres

    He meets Jan Burres
    Jan Burres gives him a ride in the town of Orick, sixty miles south of the Oregon line. He becomes very close to her and her boyfriend, Bob. Chris reminded Jan Burres of her own son, and she hoped to learn from him and teach him some lessons, too. They camped together at Orick Beach for a week.
  • Chris arrives at Carthage

    Chris arrives at Carthage
    Wayne Westerberg picks up the young hitchhiker and invites him to stay at his trailer. He later gives him a job at his grain elevator, where McCandless demonstrated remarkable effort in his work. South Dakota became his new home after he made many friends.
  • McCandless Continues

    McCandless Continues
    Wayne Westerberg was arrested on late October for his illegal creation of the "black boxes", which allowed someone to receive free cable. After giving him War and Peace by Tolstoy, he parted and recommenced his nomadic existence.
  • The Colorado River!

    The Colorado River!
    Chris hitchiked with a long-haul trucker into Needles, California. He wrote in his journal that he was "overjoyed upon reaching the Colorado River". He began walking south through the desert, eventually reaching Topock, Arizona. There, he bought a used aluminum canoe. He was to paddle down the Colorado River to the Gulf of California.
  • Chris Reaches Morelos Dam

    Chris Reaches Morelos Dam
    Chris had arrived to the Mexican border! Though he was worried of getting caught (especially because he had no identification), he successfully entered the country but was caught in a series of complex irrigation canals that got him lost several times. Two guards set him on the right path, and he begins to head to Canal de Independencia, which will lead to the Wellteco Canal. Eventually, he would reach the ocean, but he found a dead end instead.
  • Period: to

    Mexico Cont.

    fter days of zero success, McCandless arives at a vast swamp. On December 10, he has to walk through mud and reeds to find some dry ground to rest on. Fortunately, he found some American duck hunters who dropped him in El Golfo de Santa Clara, a fishing village on the Gulf of California. He would continue to make his way to the sea. He reached his destination but soon tired himself of paddling. On December 14, he climbed onto dry land and set up camp for 10 days.
  • United States Border

    United States Border
    McCandless abandoned his awesome boat and crossed the U.S. border. Immigragion authorities caught him trying to cross without an ID, and he was forced to stay in custody overnight. He spent the next six weeks traveling across the Southwest: from Houston to the Pacific coast.
  • Goodbye Datsun!

    Goodbye Datsun!
    Chris returns to Detrital Wash and discovers that his vehicle is no longer where he left it. He unearths some belongings he'd burried there. Later, he hitchhiked to Las Vegas where he found a job at an Italian restaurant.
  • Bullhead City

    Bullhead City
    Not much is known about what happened to McCandless after May until August.
    On early October, he arrived to Bullhead City, Arizona and didn't move for almost two months. He earned money by working at a McDonald's. Chris was actually considering abandoning his tramping life.
  • Jan Burres is Back!

    Jan Burres is Back!
    Chris stayed with Jan and Bob in a place outside of Niland. They called it the Slabs, and it was an old navy air base. Many vagabonds migrated to this warm sector for the winter. Chris helped out in the flea market, selling countless books and making new friends. He even made a young girl fall in love with him, but she was too young and Chris had no real affections for her. Poor Tracy :( ....
  • Ronald Franz

    Ronald Franz
    Chris met an 80 year old man named Russel Fritz (pseudonamed Ronald Franz). After leaving Salton City, he traveled to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. He camped out near "Oh-My-God Hot Springs (he invented that name, by the way). They spent the next few weeks together. Chris would do his laundy and barbecue seaks at Franz's apartment. He also learned how to work leather. He left an impression on the man,changing his life forever by telling him to travel. Franz treated him and loved him like a son
  • Goodbye Franz!

    Goodbye Franz!
    Chris leaves Franz and heads off to San Diego
  • Dear Jan...

    Dear Jan...
    Jan Burres receives a letter from Chris where he describes his difficulties in finding a job in San Diego. He was living in the streets and was tired of it, so he planned on leaving for Alaska on May 1st.
  • Jumping Trains

    Jumping Trains
    Chris sent a letter to Jan describing his recent encounters, including the time when he was threatened by a buill in L.A. He arrived to Seattle on the same train where he was almost killed.
  • Franzy's Back!

    Franzy's Back!
    McCandless is in Coachella, California, and asks Ronald Franz if he can pick him up. He'd been jumping freight trains from the Northwest. In Colton, California, he was discovered by a bull and thrown in jail. After his release, he hitchhiked to Coachella.
  • Carthage Once More

    Carthage Once More
    Chris returns to Carthage to work for Westerberg for a while. He again demonstrated his love for challenges. He planned on leaving on April 15.
  • Canadian Border

    Canadian Border
    Chris crossed the Canadian border at Roosvile, British Columbia, three days after departing from Carthage.
  • Canada

    Chris arrives at Liard River Hotsprings, in the Yukon territory. He met Gaylord Stuckey! He got a ride from Mr. Studkey all the way to Fairbanks.
  • Goodbye

    Chris writes to Wayne Westerberg and Jan Burres. In his letters, he explains that he is ready to walk into the wild. It is the last communication they receive from him.
  • Gallien

    Gallien gave Chris a ride to the beginning of the Stampede Trail. He provided him with some supplies that were found with Chris's dead body later on.
  • Magic Bus Day

    Magic Bus Day
    Chris discoveres an abandoned bus. Fairbanks bus 142 would be his camp site as well as the place where he dies.
  • Period: to


    McCandless attempted to continue down the Stampede Trail, but it was impassible.
    Throughout June, McCandless had successfuly hunted many woodland critters, including a Moose on June 9. Unfortunately, the meat became useless after maggots claimed its juiciness.
    Chris tried crossing the Teklanika River, but alas, it had flooded and swollen from the melting ice and the rain. He returns to the bus.
  • Back to the Magic Bus

    Back to the Magic Bus
    Chris returns to the Magic bus where he would have several weeks of good hunting. He didn't seem too concerned about getting out of the trail, as long as he had food. Little by little, however, his food failed to sustain him.
  • Extremely Weak

    Extremely Weak
    On July 30th, Chris wrote this in his journal: "EXTREMELY WEAK, FAULT OF POT. SEED. MUCH TROUBLE JUST TO STAND UP. STARVING. GREAT JEOPARDY." It is believed that Chris ingested a toxic fungus called Rhizoctonia leguminicola, an alkaloid that grew in the seeds he ate (and he'd eaten a particularly great amount two weeks prior to this). Whatever it was, it was killing him. His physcial state was declining quickly.
  • Day 100!!!

    Day 100!!!
    Chris celebrates his 100th day in Alaska with a journal entry. In it, he admits the following: "...IN WEAKEST CONDITION OF LIFE. DEATH LOOMS AS SERIOUS THREAT. TOO WEAK TO WALK OUT, HAVE LITERALLY BECOME TRAPPED IN THE WILD.-----NO GAME."
  • S.O.S

    After a few days of decent hunting, Chris went to search for some berries. He left a desperate note for anyone who might visit the bus in his absence...."...INJURED, NEAR DEATH, AND TOO WEAK TO HIKE OUT OF HERE..." On this day, he also wrote his last words: "Beautiful blueberries".
  • His Final Farewell

    His Final Farewell
    He tore a page from Louis L'Amour's memoir, Education of a Wandering Man, On the back, he wrote his official "goodbye" to the world. "I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!"
    He cozied up in his blue sleeping bag. He probably died on August 18, 1992, 112 days after walking INTO THE WILD! He was found 19 days later.