I first saw Into The Wild when I was living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and I felt so captivated by Emile Hirsch’s performance as doomed nomad Christopher McCandless (one of my good friends in Arkansas went to the same college, Atlanta’s Emory University, that McCandless graduated from).
I kept thinking about how much I wished I could just travel around, meet interesting people and basically live a simple existence. I’m still figuring out how to do that in my life, and clearly others have tried to channel their inner Chris, including visiting the abandoned Fairbanks school bus he spent his fateful days in Alaska before his passing in 1992. Of course, the remote location everyone wanted to try and reach resulted in multiple pilgrims getting lost – sometimes suffering fatal accidents – and putting rescuers in danger as well. An outcry to remove the bus grew over time, and now the “Magic Bus” has been removed from the bush.
The Alaska departments of transportation, natural resources and military and veterans’ affairs were all involved in the operation, which came at the request of the Denali Borough, said Mayor Clay Walker. The bus had been abandoned since the 1960s, he said.
“I know it’s the right thing for public safety in the area, removing the perilous attraction,” he said. “At the same time, it’s always a little bittersweet when a piece of your history gets pulled out.”