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  1. #21
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    The Richard Proenneke PBS documentary is one of my favorites.
    I have always longed to live like he did.
    I too was amazed with the hinges, lock and spoon.
    He was so good with a saw and knife.
    I often think (daydream) about doing something like he did. But I'm not really sure I would enjoy quite THAT much isolation. And then I think maybe a bit closer to civilization, perhaps in a more temperate climate region, with easier to work building materials, and an internet connection . . . [sigh] I probably don't have the heart for it.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I often think (daydream) about doing something like he did. But I'm not really sure I would enjoy quite THAT much isolation. And then I think maybe a bit closer to civilization, perhaps in a more temperate climate region, with easier to work building materials, and an internet connection . . . [sigh] I probably don't have the heart for it.
    I think I was most impressed with the fact he made his own fireplace.
    Those things can be tricky to get the correct draft.

  3. #23
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I don't think he had a death wish, nor an attention wish. He got in over his head skills wise and then couldn't bail out due to the nature of the place. Just the over-enthusiastic wide-eyed type that wasn't patient or grounded enough to put in the homework and preparation needed to gain the experience to succeed at what he tried.

    Carine McCandless, Chris' sister, recently published an expose about their family life and why Chris was driven to sever ties with everyone. Perhaps it all could just be a moneymaking ruse, but it was an interesting read:
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Wild-Truth.../dp/0062325140

    There's also a short documentary on PBS about it: http://www.pbs.org/program/return-to-the-wild/
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  4. #24

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    That PBS documentary delving into the bizarre family situation with McCandless explains a lot more than did Krakauer's book because it offers a plausible rationale for the Why, which I suppose Krakauer didn't know at the time.

    What is weird about Krakauer is his protracted obsession with proving that poisonous plants eaten by McCandless were the proximate cause of his death when — one way or the other — it was simple starvation, sooner or later.
    Last edited by cmoulder; 01-19-2016 at 16:03.

  5. #25
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    What is weird about Krakauer is his protracted obsession with proving that poisonous plants eaten by McCandless were the proximate cause of his death when — one way or the other — it was simple starvation, sooner or later.


    that is true, but i think it's because Krakauer lost some of his credibility with his other book "into thin air"......

    a few people on everest that year didnt necessarily agree with his version of what happened and called him out on it.....

    my guess (and just a guess), is that he wanted to establish that he was "right" about what happened to mccandless..........or something like that.....or at least, gain some credibility back with better research.....

  6. #26
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Still, after everything is said and done regarding why he went off on his own, you're left with a very intelligent, educated young man who made a conscious decision to go off into the wilderness unprepared to survive. He was offered advice, extra supplies/gear, etc., by locals before he walked in. He pretty much refused to heed/respect advice from others who had his best interests in mind. And after 100 days or so he came to his senses and realized that he had failed and tried to walk out. But the river he had crossed was now too deep and strong. He didn't even have the map that would have showed a hand tram across the river less than a mile away, a map that would have saved his life. Arrogant? Foolhardy? Reckless? Naive? Romantic dreamer? A bit of all?
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  7. #27
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    ... Arrogant? Foolhardy? Reckless? Naive? Romantic dreamer? A bit of all?
    In other words, an early 20's year old guy? I was precisely that way. How about you? From one 59 year old to another....

  8. #28
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    I think Rob and 4Eyed are both correct. As Rob was alluding to, many of us were more lucky than good.

    I know I did my share of stupid things, that were harmful, when I was in my early 20s.

    Granted, Chris' level of fool hardiness was far higher and/or he was less lucky. Which is what I think 4Eyed was getting to...

    (In my 40s, my stupid things are more likely to make me sleep on the couch than to get killed. But that's another thread... )
    Last edited by Mags; 01-19-2016 at 17:26.
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  9. #29
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    I wrote this almost ten years ago here on WB when the movie first came out..think it still applies...it was before the movie was seen.

    What kid hasn't tried to grab the Big One and nearly died trying?

    What makes me worried about the movie is that it makes him look to be some action-adventure star.

    McCandless' story struck a chord with many people because it did reflect a certain segment of society: Young people who are a bit idealistic and romantic who yearn for the big adventure. Like many young people, he was ill prepared and in over his head. Unlike many people who did stupid things in their early 20s (God knows I did!), his luck came up badly. "There but for the grace of God go I..."

    If things were just a bit different, he probably would have survived. He would probably be one of these people you meet who talk about the crazy stuff he did in his early 20s. At the end of the book, McCandless displayed signs that he was ready to move on. Ready to enter a different stage of life.

    INTO THE WILD is a good book because it does explore this pull many people have felt at some point in their life (and still feel). That is why many people related to it.

    Having said that, Chris did some stupid things. No map. Not the right gear. Dying in an area that would not be considered wilderness by western US standards...much less Alaskan standards. As I said, things could have turned out much differently for him and his family.

    My fear of the movie is that it will make him something he is not. And, in my opinion, the power of the book will be lost. A flawed, bright and idealistic guy he was perhaps more romantic than prepared. (like many of us at some point in our lives). An eco-adventure-warrior-poet (as the trailer seemed to show), he was not.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  10. #30
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    In other words, an early 20's year old guy? I was precisely that way. How about you? From one 59 year old to another....
    Quote Originally Posted by Mags View Post
    I think Rob and 4Eyed are both correct. As Rob was alluding to, many of us were more lucky than good.

    I know I did my share of stupid things, that were harmful, when I was in my early 20s.

    Granted, Chris' level of fool hardiness was far higher and/or he was less lucky. Which is what I think 4Eyed was getting to...

    (In my 40s, my stupid things are more likely to make me sleep on the couch than to get killed. But that's another thread... )
    Re: Rob's reply - No, honestly, I was not that way - not in the sense nor degree that Chris was. Going off into the woods of Alaska armed with a .22 and a bag of rice and no map? Nope. Not a chance. Sure, we all possess(ed) the referenced traits in varying degrees, and I certainly took more risks in my youth, but they were definitely more measured. I was more grounded and conservative in that sense probably due to having been hiking and hunting since age 12 or so. By 18, I had hiked a lot in the Whites, GSMNP, and other parts of the eastern mountains in all 4 seasons for many years, planned and led BSA hikes, did a little climbing - opportunities for which I am eternally grateful to others and their efforts in passing on their wisdom to me. And I was lucky as well several times to be sure. By Chris's age, 24, I was working full-time and traveling a lot as a service/field engineer, which proved to be a different type of survival adventure at times. And like Mags notes, my more recent over-estimation of my abilities tend to result in long soaks in a hot tub and copious amounts of Ibuprofen to remedy.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    .........................What is weird about Krakauer is his protracted obsession with proving that poisonous plants eaten by McCandless were the proximate cause of his death when — one way or the other — it was simple starvation, sooner or later.
    IMHO the author identified with his subject and wanted to believe that the young man's death was due to more than just basic stupidity. I know that sounds harsh but what McCandless did was extremely foolish and dumb. It is very sad that he paid for his recklessness with his life and I feel sorry for him and his family.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  12. #32
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I was gobsmacked when I got near the end of the book and learned how easily the rescue team crossed the river.
    It's true. "You can't fix stupid."

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    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
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  13. #33
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    And like Mags notes, my more recent over-estimation of my abilities tend to result in long soaks in a hot tub and copious amounts of Ibuprofen to remedy.
    First, my stupid stuff involved beer and "HERE! WATCH THIS!" ... Not proud of it..but how many early 20s males DON'T do something like that at least once or twice. Arguably just as dangerous, if more prosaic. You may not have been like that..highly unusual. Heck, just look at the climbing accidents in the neck wood where Rob and I live. Not ALWAYS, but often, young males in their 20s.

    Now, what I was alluding to was the one-of-many stupid things I say to my wife. I often get hot tongue and cold shoulder!
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  14. #34

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    >>>Re: Rob's reply - No, honestly, I was not that way - not in the sense nor degree that Chris was. Going off into the woods of Alaska armed with a .22 and a bag of rice and no map? Nope. Not a chance. Sure, we all possess(ed) the referenced traits in varying degrees, and I certainly took more risks in my youth, but they were definitely more measured. I was more grounded and conservative in that sense

    Same here... I guess I missed that phase. I had my chance in the Adirondacks when I was 28 and realized very quickly I was going to kill myself if I persisted. Decided to "regroup" and think about it some more... there was no internet then so I went back to Colin Fletcher's book and re-read those chapters on winter backpacking. Best thing I had at the time.

  15. #35
    Registered User Penn-J's Avatar
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    I loved the book and the movie. I only wish I had the "go nads" to shed everything and live with only what I can carry on my back. Did he fly a little to close to the sun so to speak? Did he choke on that bone he was sucking he marrow out of?

    Perhaps, but I can't help but love his wide eyed romanticism.

    Isn't that what most backpackers, thru hikers think at times when out on the trails?

    "What if I just kept going, do I really need that job, car, bills, wife, husband, etc...Is the beauty of this amazing planet and adventure enough to sustain me for good?

    I must think that on every hike I do; but alas, I always come back to that society I love to hate. (And have a little greater appreciation for the basic comforts)

    I also loved that Eddie Vedder did the soundtrack! I applaud Sean Penn for a great choice.

    A venturesome minority will always be eager to set off on their own, and no obstacles should be placed in their path; let them take risks, for god sake, let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches - that is the right and privilege of any free American.”
    ― Edward Abbey
    "The wind that blows, is all that anybody knows"
    Thoreau

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  16. #36

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    >>>>Perhaps, but I can't help but love his wide eyed romanticism.

    One of the last pages of his journal... not very romantic.

    mccandless sos.gif

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    that is true, but i think it's because Krakauer lost some of his credibility with his other book "into thin air"......

    a few people on everest that year didnt necessarily agree with his version of what happened and called him out on it.....

    my guess (and just a guess), is that he wanted to establish that he was "right" about what happened to mccandless..........or something like that.....or at least, gain some credibility back with better research.....

    Into the Wild
    was published well before Into Thin Air.

  18. #38
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uriah View Post

    Into the Wild
    was published well before Into Thin Air.
    Right, but Krakauer's updated theory/research into McCandless' true cause of death occurred well after the "Into Thin Air" debacle.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  19. #39
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Krakauer does, indeed, seem to invoke some controversy after his books come out. Not sure if its because he is so blunt, or because he frequently has bad info. I found it interesting that the latest "Everest" movie kinda disses Krakauer's role/part in the 1996 tragedy.

    In any case, his books are indeed interesting. Check out some of his others, like "Under the Banner of Heaven" (about Mormons) or "Three Cups of Deceit" (about that Pakistan charity fraud).

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Krakauer does, indeed, seem to invoke some controversy after his books come out. Not sure if its because he is so blunt, or because he frequently has bad info............
    NOVA the science show on PBS had an episode where a group of climbers when to Antarctica to climb Mt. Vinson. In the group was Krakauer and Conrad Anker who is a renowned mountaineer and was the team leader. Krakauer came off as a person who had a hard time seeing other people's point of view once he had made his mind up about something. A hard head you might say.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

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