How Christopher McCandless lost his way in the wilds. “James Gallien had driven five miles out of Fairbanks when he spotted the hitchhiker standing in the snow beside the road, thumb raised high, shivering in the gray Alaskan dawn. A rifle protruded from the young man’s pack, but he looked friendly enough; a hitchhiker with a Remington semiautomatic isn’t the sort of thing that gives motorists pause in the 49th state. Gallien steered his four-by-four onto the shoulder and told him to climb in. The hitchhiker introduced himself as Alex. ‘Alex?’ Gallien responded, fishing for a last name. ‘Just Alex,’ the young man replied, pointedly rejecting the bait. He explained that he wanted a ride as far as the edge of Denali National Park, where he intended to walk deep into the bush and ‘live off the land for a few months.’”
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