Chapter 4 is tinged with sadness as the reader realises that Chris was destroying himself as he embarked deeper into his adventure into the wild. He is physically deteriorating due to his inadequate diet and his inability to sustain himself properly, despite his earnest attempts to collect berries following a plant guidebook. His journal entry from this time poignantly sums up this decline:
Over 25 pounds lost. But his spirit is soaring.
There is an irony in the account of the finding of Chris’ Datsun, abandoned after a flash flood. He made great attempts to conceal its whereabouts, and was probably exasperated that his beloved vehicle had given up on him. The vehicle was recovered by park rangers and was used as their undercover car to carry out drug busts. Chris had flattened the battery in trying to start it again, but the car was perfectly sound despite this-
“A freebie from the road gods – “
It is ironic in that Chris was generous with his possessions, but his beloved car being used as a law enforcement vehicle may not have sat well with Chris’ free-thinking ideals.