Into The Wild Timeline

  • May 12, 1990

    Chris graduates from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He had been a columnist for, and editor of, the student newspaper, The Emory Wheel, and distinguished himself as a history and anthropology major with a 3.72 gpa.
  • July 6-10, 1990

    Chris arrives in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. He completely ignores the posted warnings that off-road driving is strictly forbidden, and steers his Datsun off the pavement. A flash flood occurs, which caused the engine to get wet and not work. Because of the many undesirable questions he would face if he notified the park ranger, he decided to leave the car, burn his money, and continue to hike around Lake Mead. Shows how much he didn't care about rules, and how he wanted to be alone.
  • Beginning of August, 1990

    Chris's parents had not heard anything about him ever since they received his grades in the mail(end of June,) so they decided to go to Atlanta to visit him. There they found that his apartment was empty since the end of June, and that it had a FOR RENT sign on it. When they returned home, they find all the letters they'd sent Chris had been returned in a bundle in order for them to not know anything.
  • End Of July, 1990

    Chris accepts a ride from a man who called himself Crazy Ernie and offered McCandless a job on a ranch in northern California. After working there for 11 days, he realized that Ernie had no intention of ever paying him, so he stole a red ten-speed bicycle, went to Chico, and left the bike in a mall parking lot. He continued through Red Bluff, Weaverville, and Willow Creek. Shows he is not one to stay at one place.
  • August 10, 1990

    Chris gets a ticket for hitchhiking near Willow Creek. He gave the officer his parents' Annandale address, and the unpaid ticket appeared in Walt and Billie's mailbox at the end of August. This made them even more frantic about hid disappearance.
  • September 10, 1990

    Wayne Westerberg picks up Chris. He decided to let him sleep in his trailer overnight when it started to rain. McCandless stayed for three days. Westerberg then told McCandless to come to South Dakota for a job whenever he needed. McCandless arrived a few weeks later, and Westerberg gave him a place to stay and a job on one of his grain elevators.
  • October 23, 1990

    Because Westerberg had to leave to serve a short sentence following a felony conviction for pirating television signals, and because there is no more work in the grain elevator, Chris leaves.
  • October 28, 1990

    Chris catches a ride to Needles, California. He then walked through the desert, 12 miles, until he reached Topock, Arizona, where he bought a secondhand aluminum canoe.
  • End Of November, 1990

    Chris paddled through Yuma, where he stopped long enough to replenish his provisions, and send a postcard to Westerberg
  • December 2, 1990

    Chris reaches the Morelos Dam and the Mexican border. Worried that he would be denied entry because he had no identification, he sneaked into Mexico by paddling below.
  • December 14-January 5, 1990-1991

    Tired of paddling, he hauled the canoe far up the beach, climbed a sandstone bluff, and set up camp on the edge of a desolate plateau. He stayed there for 10 days, until high winds forced him to seek refuge in a cave midway up the precipitous face of the bluff, where he remained for another 10 days.
  • January 11, 1991

    Chris gets back in his canoe, but encounters a violent storm that leads him to decide to abandon his canoe and return north. Shows how even though he has faced many obstacles, he is firm and will not go back until he has accomplished what he wants.
  • January 16-18, 1991

    Chris leaves and the canoe on a hummock of dune grass southeast of El Golfo de Santa Clara and started walking north up the deserted beach. He was at the U.S. border on Jan 18. Caught by immigration authorities trying to slip in the country without ID, he spends a night in jail.
  • January- February, 1991

    Chris spends six weeks on the move across the Southwest, traveling as far west as the Pacific coast.
  • February 3, 1991

    Chris goes to Los Angeles to get an ID and a job, but he feels extremely uncomfortable being in society, so he hits the road immediately. This shows how much being alone for such a long time has changed him even more. Though he was not the biggest social person ever, he had some friends, but now he feels weird being around people.
  • February 9, 1991

    He camped at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with Thomas and Karin, a young German couple who had given him a ride. In his journal, he writes that even though he had lost over 25 pounds, his spirit is soaring.
  • February 24-27, 1991

    Chris returns to Detrital Wash. He digs up his old VA plates, and a few belongings he had buried there. He then hitchhiked to Las Vegas , buried his backpack, and found a job at an Italian restaurant. Chris is forced to work in order to keep on living on the road. From past experiences, we know that it is going to be a big change, and that he'll have to get used to it. It also makes us wonder how long he will stay there before once again, hitting the road.
  • May, 1991

    Chis leaves Las Vegas.
  • July-August, 1991

    McCandless spends those two months on the Oregon coast, complaining about the terrible fog and rain.
  • September-October, 1991

    Chris hitchhiked down U.S. Highway 101 into California, then headed east into the desert again. In early Oct he landed in Bullhead City, Arizona,worked in a McDonald's, and stayed there for more than 2 months in an RV, which was quite long because ever since he had started his journey, he hadn't stayed in one place for that long.
  • December 13, 1991

    Chris appears at Burres's campsite at The Slabs campground in Niland.
  • January, 1992

    Chris meets Ronald Franz while hitchhiking near California's Salton Sea. Franz develops a very strong relationship with Chris and looks at him as a son. He really wants Chris to accept his help, but Chris refuses because he doesn't really like much interaction.
  • February, 1992

    Franz drops Chris in the San Diego waterfront. He mails Jan Burres, saying that he has been living on the streets in San Diego for a week.
  • March 5, 1992

    Chris send postcards to both Franz and Burres from Seattle.
  • March 12-14, 1992

    Chris calls Franz from Coachella, California, and asks him to pick him up. He spends one night at Franz's house. Franz then drives Chris to Grand Junction, Colorado.
  • March, 1992

    Chris works in Wayne Westerberg's grain elevator in Carthage, South Dakota, then leaves for Alaska. Even though some time has passed since he set out for his journey, he really wants to accomplish his goal.
  • April 13-15, 1992

    McCandless stops at Liard Hot Springs in British Columbia, Canada, where he is stuck for two days before catching a ride.
  • April 28, 1992

    While Chris is walking down the highway, he is picked up by Jim Gallien.
  • August 5, 1992

    Chris writes that it is his 100th day, and that he made it, but he was in a very weak condition, and that he could possibly die soon. He sort of accepts his death in the journal, but doesn't really want to go yet because he had not fulfilled his journey.
  • August 12, 1992

    Chris writes an S.O.S note and goes out to collect berries. In the note, he asks for help because he knows he can't get out of there by himself. He says that it is not a joke, but unfortunately, he dies and his body is found later on. Many people who read about him think he was an idiot because he went there unprepared, and didn't want any help from anyone. Others think he was very brave for venturing out there by himself. In his last moments, he realized that he depended on people in some way.