Oh, Chris McCandless, what hast thou wrought on the people of Alaska? With tons of people making pilgrimages to your death site not far from Denali, I suppose it was only a matter of time before one of them needed rescue.
Don Carroll, a 19-year-old culinary student from Illinois working as a line cook for the summer just outside Denali, decided to strike out for the famed bus described in “Into The Wild.” He and a companion took off with clothing, sleeping bags, a tent, and a lighter but no food or water. They stashed the pack, crossed a river, and promptly got lost. After three days of freezing nights, eating berries, and drinking river water, a helicopter rescued the pair on Monday.
It gets worse: Back in June, Carroll needed rescue from the decidedly front-country Mount Healy after he got soaked and disoriented while hiking in a hoody and jeans. He directed rescuers to his location with (of course) text messages.
“If police see me (hiking) in the woods, they’re going to arrest me,” a rueful Carroll said during a cell phone interview Tuesday. “The chief ranger said he’s not going to come looking for me anymore.”
I’d say that’s a fair assessment of the situation. No wonder Alaskans sigh every time they see a bus of Lower 48ers pull into town.