Friday, April 15, 2011

Supertramp, Stampede & Swag

If you've ever read the book (by Jon Krakauer) or watched the movie (directed by Sean Penn), "Into the Wild", about the hauntingly tragic story of Christopher McCandless aka Alexander Supertramp and his final adventure into the Alaskan wilderness; then you may be compelled to make the pilgrimage to where he spent his final days in the wilds of Alaska at the abandoned bus on Stampede Trail (about 25 miles west of Healy, Alaska). He called it "Magic Bus" and it has become a sort of shrine to McCandless, dedicated to the powerful account of his life’s journeys. I strongly suggest if you don't want the fate of Chris McCandless to be your own, you best be well prepared for your trek! And of course, pick-up a couple geocaches along the way. ✿◕‿◕✿
R.I.P. "Alex"!
For lots of helpful info about the trail to the Magic Bus, go to:
Hiking The Stampede Trail (with video) -by / Last Frontier Adventure Club /Erik Halfacre
[Photos * Resources * Trail Reports * Articles * Forum * Contact * The List]

"If you are planning to hike the Stampede Trail, or have already done so and want to share your experiences, this is the place!
Here you can find out about the challenges of the trail such as bears, rivers, mosquitoes, and blisters. You can also find out what you'll need to bring, and read about the experiences of others who have gone before you."

What to Know Before You Go
Site Administrater, Erik Halfacre, talks about the Stampede Trail. In this article you'll find out everything you need to know, from items to bring, to challenges to expect. The Teklanika River crossing is discussed in detail, as well as other things you might not expect like the constantly wet trail conditions. Read this, and your chances of getting to Bus 142 will greatly improve. More importantly, your chances of getting back do also! read more -->
Stampede Trail Disclaimer
Stampede Trail
by ErikHalfacre on Jun 20, 2010
Healy, Alaska, United States
Backpacking | 18.6 miles
For more information about hiking the Stampede Trail check out my site:'s a lot of great information and resources available there.
Geocaches on the way to the bus on Stampede Trail Road and
near Healy, AK:

FYI, geocaching term... SWAG = An acronym often referred to as standing for "Stuff We All Get." It includes the trade items left in caches by geocachers.

1. Stampede Stash (GC227AJ), Traditional cache {Stampede Road}
N 63° 53.466 W 149° 04.885
UTM: 6V E 397811 N 7086546
size: small
Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Terrain: ★★☆☆☆
Date Hidden: 12/21/2009
Details: A short walk through the willows to a cottonwood grove off of Stampede Road. Cached on Winter Solstice 09.

2. Solstice Sunrise (GC2AGFP), Traditional cache {Stampede Road}
N 63° 52.614 W 149° 13.533
UTM: 6V E 390681 N 7085203
size: small
Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Terrain: ★★★☆☆
Date Hidden: 6/20/2010
Details: Off of Stampede Rd. Three mile drive past end of pavement. May not be accessible in winter with vehicle. To the Northwest is Eight Mile lake. To the Northeast is where sunrise is on Summer Solstice at around 2:55 a.m. Good spot to camp and walk dogs. Be aware of Jeep & ATV tours in summer and Dog Sled tours in winter on Stampede Rd.

3. Denali Otto Lake (GCK2K6), Traditional cache {Otto Lake Road, Healy}
N 63° 50.831 W 149° 02.352
UTM: 6V E 399726 N 7081587
size: regular
Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Terrain: ★★☆☆☆
Date Hidden: 7/19/2004
Details: Scenic Otto Lake park near Denali National Park in Healy, Alaska. NOTE: It was previously reported that the cache had drifted from the posted coordinates above. Through the efforts of several geocachers, including Vinyl Slider and Sly Dog, all recent reports indicate the cache has been returned to its original coordinates. If you note a problem with the coordinates, please indicate the problem in your log.
This traditional cache is an ammo case in the city park at Otto Lake in Healy, just north of Denali National Park. One of very few caches between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the ammo case includes a log book and assorted souvenirs. Start from Otto Lake Road at the Parks Highway in Healy. Watch for muggles!
This cache is located OUTSIDE of Denali National Park.
There are no nearby geocachers to help maintain this cache, so it exists as a "community cache," depending on the charity of the world geocaching community. The cache has been vandalized on occasion, so take care to treat only the ammo case as the cache and ignore any other items that might be lingering in the area. Big thank yous to mousewoman for monitoring the cache, to PedalPushin for replacing and relocating the cache, and to El Treko and Team Soiled Sloth for their help in the past!

4. Otto Grotto (GC1V1AF), Traditional cache {Otto Lake, Healy}
N 63° 50.500 W 149° 02.091
UTM: 6V E 399921 N 7080966
size: regular
Difficulty: ★★★☆☆
Terrain: ★★★★☆
Date Hidden: 6/21/2009
Details: A traditional cache on an island accessible only by boat or when the lake is frozen.
This traditional cache is located in a 'grotto' amongst an Aspen grove on the banks of an unnamed island in Otto Lake. It is accessible only by boat (available for rent nearby) or by foot, ski or skate when the lake is frozen. The cache is a plastic jar. It was placed 6/21/09 with a log, pencil, a patch, and the Otto Grotto travel bug.

cache info from
Visit The Bus

Into the Wild to visit the Bus?

Since the release of Sean Penn's movie "Into the Wild," there have been many more inquiries about the infamous bus on the Stampede Trail.

Please use caution if you are planning to travel to the the bus and dress appropriately. Some of the windows in the bus are broken and there is no way to use the bus to stay warm. Remember, you will be in a backcountry situation.

If you do Not know what kind of gear you need or have this equipment to travel safely into the Bush, then you probably have no business trying to do so.

For example:
If you had decided to carry 10 pounds of food with you, a 10 pound bag of rice is probably the wrong choice.

The Alaska bush IS NOT the Cascades or Rockies.

Death is always a possibility.

There are no provisions or supplies at the bus.

You might also want to read this article from ABC News:
'Into the Wild' Inspires Adventurers, but at What Cost?
Pilgrims Brave the Alaskan Bush on Trail of Chris McCandless, Who Died on a Lonely Bus

For those of you not wanting to take as much of a risk by hiking the long and treacherous Stampede Road/Trail on your own, check out this Jeep® day tour: 2012 Denali Jeep® Backcountry Safari "A Wilderness Jeep® Adventure." from Alaska Travel Adventures, (Not sure if the tour includes visiting the famous "Magic Bus" site.)

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