Picture: Pacific Crest Trail In The Sierra Nevada Mountains Near Lake Tahoe, Nevada July 17, 1990
TREK 1 begins on the 4th of July, 1990 in Arizona at the Detrital Wash, near Lake Mead. Chris drives his Yellow Datsun deep into the wash where a flash flood disabled the car during the night causing him to proceed on foot. The extreme heat drives him to the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Pacific Crest Trail. He hikes the trail until he nears the Pacific Ocean in Northern California where he befriends Jan Burres and her companion Bob. He moves on after a few days until he reaches Seattle, Washington where this part of his journey ends on the 8th of September, 1990.
Picture: Wayne’s New House Carthage, South Dakota. October 22, 1990
TREK 2 finds Chris travelling east on September 9, 1990 using his new persona, ‘Alexander Supertramp’ or ‘Alex’.. Now as a leather tramp he hitches his way across the states of Washington, Idaho, and into Montana. At Cut Bank Montana, Alex meets Wayne Westerberg who is harvesting wheat nearby. He spends a few days with Wayne and his crew then heads off on his own again, crossing Montana and Wyoming until he reconnects with Wayne at his home and headquarters in Madison, South Dakota. He works at Wayne’s Grain Elevator and paints Wayne’s house in the nearby town of Carthage. At the first sign of snow he decides to head south for the winter on October 24, 1990.
Picture: River To The Sea Colorado River South of Topock, Arizona. Nov 2, 1990
TREK 3 begins in Carthage, South Dakota on the 25th of October with Alex rapidly hitching his way back to the Colorado River Basin, landing near the town of Topock, Arizona. He spots a canoe in the window of a secondhand shop that instantly sparks an impulsive adventure. His decides to paddle the Colorado River south until he reaches the Sea of Cortex in Mexico. His adventure continues until the New Year when on January 15, 1991 he leaves his canoe on a sand dune on the shore of the Sea of Cortez, south of the small fishing village of El Golfo, and heads north to re-cross the border to return to the United States.
Picture: Where It All Began Detrital Wash, North West Corner or Arizona Near Lake Mead February 24, 1991
TREK 4 begins with Alex’s return to the United States on the 16th of January, 1991. This border crossing is not as easy as his leaving. He is caught, jailed and released, minus his Colt Python revolver. The next few weeks are marked by footloose attempts to discover a new adventure. His travels take him as far west as San Diego and Los Angeles and as far east as Dallas, Texas. Ultimately he returns to where it all began at the Detrital Wash. The Datsun is gone but on the 8th of February, 1991 he ends this phase of his journey when he digs up the license plate he had buried seven months earlier.
Picture: Picture Post Card To Jan Burres Pacific Ocean Beaches In Oregon
TREK 5 marks a photographic blackout period from 8 February to mid December, 1991. We know little except for a post card that Alex writes from Oregon in June to Jan Burres announcing that he worked for a time in an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada then headed north to cooler climes during the hot summer months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to the beaches in Northern California and Oregon. By November. Alex returns to the desert and the Colorado River where he sends a Thanksgiving card to Wayne Westerberg from Bullhead City, Arizona.
Picture: Jan Burres At Slab City Slab City Near Niland, California Dec 19, 1991
TREK 6 marks Alex’s return to photo journalism with a new Camera. As Christmas 1991 approaches he makes his way to reunite with Jan Burres and her companion Bob. They are camped at their winter home in Slab City near Niland, California on the eastern shore of the Salton Sea. Alex eagerly shares his newly formed plan for an adventure to Alaska. He stays with Jan and Bob over Christmas and New Year’s then takes his leave and heads west to find work in San Diego. He stops at Salton City on the way to pick up his final wages from a stint flipping burgers at McDonalds in Bullhead City, Arizona. Jan Burres gives him a lift to the Salton City Post Office where she drops him off on the 10th of January, 1992.
Picture: Oh Mi God Hot Springs Anza Borrego Desert West of The Salton Sea January 15, 1992
TREK 7 begins the 2nd week of January,1991 and finds Alex camping at “Oh Mi God” hot springs in the Anza Borrego desert. He meets Russell Fritz, an 80 year old man who takes a liking to him. Russ, a skilled leather craftsman, teaches Alex how to work with leather. Under his guidance Alex designs and crafts a biographical belt. Russ drops him off in San Diego to find work. Alex strikes out looking for a job and decides to ride the rails as far North as Seattle still looking for work. With no luck, he calls Wayne Westerberg and finds work with him once again in Carthage, South Dakota. He rides the rails south to Salton City, reunites with Russ, and picks up his belongings. Russ takes him as far as Grand Junction, Colorado where Alex hitches his way North to Carthage, arriving there on the 14th of March, 1992
Picture: Wayne Westerberg, Rod Wolf, Alex and Wayne’s Dog Bud Wayne’s Grain Elevator in Carthage, South Dakota March 15, 1992
TREK8 begins with Alex returning to Carthage, South Dakota on the 15th of March, 1992 to work for Wayne Westerberg. He has a great time with old and new friends there, and works hard for Wayne at the grain elevator in Carthage. But Alaska is beckoning him and true to his plan he leaves Carthage on the 16th of April, 1992.
Picture: To Alaska By Rail In A Boxcar travelling west from Enderlin, North Dakota to Whitefish, Montana April 16, 1992
TREK 9 begins with one of Wayne’s crew delivering Alex and a load of sunflower seeds to Enderlin, North Dakota. Alex hops a freight train going west as far as Whitefish, Montana where he then turns north, crossing the border into Canada. He has great success catching rides with truckers until he experiences a short dry spell in Liard River Hot Springs, British Columbia. After two days Alex meets Gaylord Stuckey, and convinces him to give him a lift to Fairbanks. Stuckey is heading there to deliver a new Recreational Vehicle. They arrive there on the 28th of April 1992, and Stuckey drops Alex off at The University Of Alaska Fairbanks campus.
Picture: All My Belongings On The Stampede Trail The First Day Out Apr 28, 1992
TREK 10 finds Alex hitching a ride with James Gallien on the morning of April 28th , 1992. Gallien picks Alex up on the outskirts of Fairbanks and they head south on the George Parks Highway to the Stampede Trailhead. The Stampede Trail meanders westward from the highway along a narrow strip of land surrounded by Denali National Park. The trek ends with Alex discovering Fairbanks Bus 142, or the “Magic Bus” as he calls it, on May 1st, 1992.
Picture: Vistas On A Mountain Top West Of Bus 142 May 23, 1992
TREK 11 begins on the 1st of May with Alex living in Bus 142. Things go well for a time. There is plenty of game and even a Moose. But as summer marches on Alex decides to return to civilization in the first week in July. When he reaches the Teklanika River, which he crossed on his way in, he encounters an entirely different challenge. The river, swollen with runoff, is now impassable. Alex feels he had no option but to return to the bus so he turns and heads back on the 5th of July, 1992.
Picture: Sunset By The Sushana At Bus 142 August 1, 1992
TREK 12 covers Alex’s final days. Until the end, he continues to read, make notes, and take photographs. His final messages contain his signature and true identity, Chris McCandless. In minimal language, it speaks to Chris’ final reflection about the richness of his life. From his log entries, August 18th, 1992 marks his passing from this life.
Christopher McCandless and his amazing story of self-discovery and exploration have touched the lives of millions of people around the world.
Christopher made and continues to make a profound impact on those who knew and loved him, as well as countless others who feel a strong connection to his story. “Back To The Wild: The Photographs And Writings Of Christopher McCandless” is a collection of over 270 photographs taken by Chris from 1990-1992. From his initial transcontinental drive across to Lake Mead from Atlanta, Georgia in 1990, until the culmination of his odyssey and his passing in the Alaskan wilderness in August 1992.
Chris was a true documentarian, and this book will chronicle that journey with photographs and writings. These writings include correspondence between Chris and Wayne Westerberg, Jan Burres, Russell Fritz and other friends whose lives he touched deeply, even for a short time. The photographs of his odyssey are taken by Chris and are a powerful work of art. They are visual symbols of a life lived passionately and courageously. Chris’s vision has at long last been brought to light for the world to see.
In the slideshow at the top of the page, you will see the summary of each chapter - or 'Trek' as it is called and a picture pertaining to each. You can use the arrows to navigate to and from each picture.
The book is available to purchase from Amazon and paypal for small orders and we also have a special form for bulk orders.