Visit to Bus 142..


When I just out of high school (in the early 1990s, darn I feel old!) I remember reading about a trip I think Roman Dial did in Denali NP, when they bike in the park road, floated down the Toklat, and hiked/pushed their out the stampede trail past bus 142. I think this was just around the time Into the Wild came out, but well before I was aware of it, and my first exposure to the McCandless story. I remember being in awe of the adventure the two bikers had, I have always been nonplussed by all the interest into Christopher McCandless’s life, but I was eventually convinced by Tom to bike out there with him.

Tom has never been excited about winter camping, so the plan was to do it as a long day trip, riding in and out of the bus on fat bikes. We were anticipating a fairly long day, and so spent Friday night in the Nord Haven (a great place, highly recomended!), and headed out early-ish in the morning to ride to the bus.


The start of the trip was uneventful, we quickly found the road was in much better shape than we expected, though I did park earlier than I could have. The bike in was fast and fun. In places there was an amazingly firm wind crust that was stout enough to ride on. I had come prepared with maps of the route, but it wasn’t really necessary – there were a few side trails, but it was clear where the main trail was. I briefly caught a glimpse of a wolf (or possible a large feral dog) that took off at warp speed once it saw me, then several large groups of caribou. The trail in was fairly scenic, but nothing spectacular.


Tom is hoping to write up the visit for publication, so there was lots and lots of photo taking.


Eventually we reached the bus, and we poked around for a bit. The bus was, at least for me, fairly depressing. It is clear it has deep meaning for a lot of people, judging from the things left there, the writing in the various log books, and the graffiti left on the walls.




Perhaps it is almost a religious experience for them – a search for meaning in modern life. I find it sad that it appears people are finding it here..

The bus is in fairly bad shape and is missing lots of windows.





The wood stove was intact, but it isn’t going to keep that thing warm. There were a couple of pretty odd items there, including a huge spiked club, which I had fun waving around and pretending to be insane – good classy fun.


Tom enjoying poking around the bus, and getting some classy poses in as well..


The ride out was uneventful, and we stopped at Clear Sky Lodge on way back, enjoying their fantastic burgers.


Hope everyone is enjoying winter!

A Map:

(more details here:)

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2 Responses to “Visit to Bus 142..”

  1. Iris says:

    Thanks for your post and a great idea to make it a day trip on a bike.
    What time a year dis you go?

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