In April of 1992, Chris McCandless hitchhiked from Carthage, South Dakota, to Fairbanks, Alaska, riding the last thousand miles with Gaylord Stuckey, a driver who was transporting a motor home to a Fairbanks RV dealer. Stuckey dropped Chris off at the University of Alaska, where the young man spent a few days researching edible plants before he began his hike west into the wild.
Chris McCandless entered the wilderness with only ten pounds of rice and a backpack half-filled with books. From his journal, it is known that he reached the Teklanika River on his second day out, and was able to ford the half-frozen water by wading across. The next day, he found the abandoned construction company bus, and was "elated" to set up camp there. Because of his inexperience, Chris at first had trouble catching game, but by mid-May became much more successful. He once managed to kill a moose, but did not know how to effectively preserve the meat. Chris had intended to remain "on the move" in the bush, but soon discovered that the summer terrain was difficult to navigate, and never ventured more "than fifteen miles beyond the bus". Ironically, his camp was relatively close to civilization, but Chris didn't know that. In early July, he decided to come out of the wild, but discovered that the Teklanika River was now a raging torrent. Trapped, he returned to the safety of the bus (Chapter 16).