Friday, July 18, 2008

Wilderness

Reading a post by Twinville about an old parked bus got me to thinking about the movie, INTO The Wild and the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. It is the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who went to live in the Alaskan wilderness and died there a few months later. Why did he get rid of everything he owned (22,000 dollars!!) before he set off into the wilderness? Was he comitting suicide? Was he looking for one more adventure even though he was so ill prepared? Did he really think he was invincible? Was he just ignorant? I have thought about it a lot since reading the book a few years back and I have come to the conclusion that it was purely an accident. He was fortunate enough all his life to weather all kinds of adventures and he just didn't realize the magnitude of risk involved at this particular time and place. Chris had a huge desire to be a free spirit. Many young twenty-something men are like this; anti-establishment and seeking adventures at the risk of their own death. Chris's mistakes were
  1. going alone and not telling anyone
  2. not prepared/lack of knowledge (equipment, clothes, training, maps, food, first aid)

Either of these reasons could be enough to get anyone killed.

The book is definitely worth reading, as are all Krakauer's books. Into Thin Air, for example, is about the Mount Everest climbing fiasco a few years ago.

One of my very favorite bands, The Arcade Fire sings a song about Chris McCandless AKA Alexander Supertramp called Neigborhood #2 (Laika). This video was created using scenes from last year's movie. Enjoy! Lyrics follow video.




Alexander, our older brother,
set out for a great adventure.
He tore our images out of his pictures,'
he scratched our names out of all his letters.
Our mother shoulda just named you Laika!
Come on Alex, you can do it.
Come on Alex, there's nothin' to it.
If you want somethin' don't ask for nothin,
if you want nothin' don't ask for somethin'!
Our mother shoulda just named you Laika!
It's for your own good,
it's for the neighborhood!
For the neighborhood
Our older brother bit by a Vampire!
For a year we caught his tears in a cup.
And now we're gonna make him drink it.
Come on Alex don't die or dry up!
Our mother shoulda just named you Laika!
It's for your own good,
it's for the neighborhood!
When daddy comes home you always start a fight,
so the neighbors can dance in the police disco lights.
The police disco lights.
Now the neighbors can dance! (x4)

3 comments:

Twinville said...

I like that you linked up to my post and mention about McCandless, because I was transfixed with him and his story for the longest time, trying to figure out why he had to die so needlessly, all because of one simple mistake in plant identification. But that's how the extreme wilderness is....just one mistake can lead to tragedy.

I started with my fascination with McCandless and Jon Krakauer's book following my obsession for a number of years of Mt Everest and all of the other fourteeners (8,000meter peaks). And as you know, Jon Krakauer wrote his Into Thin Air from his own experience on Mt. Everest during that tragedy on 'Chomalungma'.

This website is a really great place to look up the fourteeners and all the cool facts about them. (Just copy and paste into your browser)
http://www.peakbagger.com/list.aspx?lid=200)

I'm still awed and very interested in extreme climbing, hiking, and outdoor adventure.
And I went through a phase where I read every single mountaineering book from the library that I could find. And I watched every video and documentary, too. I was and still am fascinated with stories of humans challenging Mother Nature.

I'm not too crazy about that song, but I was glad to be reminded of that movie. I was afriad that after reading Job Krakauer's book I wouldn't like the movie, but I really did. The movie had a very 'lonely' feel to it and the actor played McCandless really well, I think.

IamRockinHorse said...

thanks for answering, yes I wasn't sure the movie would be any good but I did enjoy it enough to buy it for my sons. If Chris had known the area better he could have walked out a different way. Maybe he was hoping to get better. Such a shame that the hikers found him just a few weeks too late.
I have never wanted to climb Everest or any other mountain in the "dead zone" (thank you very much) although I love backpacking in the mountains.

IamRockinHorse said...

LOL, I definitely have DIFFERENT musical tastes!!