A newlywed woman from Belarus died in Alaska while attempting to hike to a bus that has been made famous from Jon Krakauer’s book, “Into the Wild.”
Inspired by the works of Jack London, 24-year-old Christopher McCandless donated all of his savings to charity and entered untamed land in Alaska in 1992 to prove that he could live off the land.
During his journey, McCandless stumbled upon an old service bus that workers who were building the trail used as a mobile shelter.
Bus 142 became his base as he continued his journey on the Stampede Trail. According to the Smithsonian, by the time he reached the bus he only had a couple of books, 10 pounds of rice, a gun and 400 rounds of ammunition.
He would leave the bus to search for food and test how far he could go into the wilderness without needing to come back.
Two months after McCandless set out on his journey, his food sources became more scarce and he decided that he needed to start the trek back to civilization. When he reached the Teklanika River, however, the snowmelt had raised the levels too much for him to cross which left him stranded at Bus 142.
It only took a few weeks for his food supply to begin dwindling and his strength along with it. The cause of his tragic death is still up for debate — whether he died from starvation or from poisonous potato seeds — but his last journal entry said, “I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all.”
His body was found four months later by a moose hunter.
McCandless’ story later inspired American adventure writer Jon Krakauer to write (Amazon affiliate link) “Into the Wild” — which was published four years after his death.
The book was eventually also adapted to a film in 2007, which won two Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song and Best Original Score in 2008.
Since his story has been shared through various mediums, many people have been determined to make the same treacherous trek that McCandless set out to take in 1992, resulting in several fatalities.
Most recently, a young, newlywed woman from Belarus lost her life on the way to the infamous bus; she and her husband, both just 24, had only been married for a month, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Veranika Nikanava and Piotr Markielau were crossing the Teklanika River on July 25, 2019, just before midnight when Nikanava lost her grip on the rope and was swept away by the powerful current.
Troopers said that Markielau found his wife’s body on the river bank 75 to 100 feet downriver.
Tragic stories like Nikanava’s have led to a local debate on whether or not the bus should be removed from its current home, but for now the bus remains, tempting others inspired by McCandless’ story to come and test their survivalist skills.
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