40+ Best Into the Wild Quotes by Jon Krakauer

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Chapter One (THE ALASKA INTERIOR)

“People from Outside, they’ll pick up a copy of Alaska magazine, thumb through it, get to thinkin’ ‘Hey, I’m goin’ to get on up there, live off the land, go claim me a piece of the good life. “

“A year ago down in Mexico, he told Gallien, I was out on the ocean in a canoe, and I almost drowned when a storm came up. There was just no talking the guy out of it, Gallien remembers. “

“Ten miles from the highway, worried that he’d get stuck if he drove farther, Gallien stopped his rig on the crest of a low rise. The icy summits of the highest mountain range in North America gleamed on the southwestern horizon. “

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Chapter Two (THE STAMPEDE TRAIL)

“The trail was blazed in the 1930s by a legendary Alaska miner named Earl Pilgrim; it led to antimony claims he’d staked on Stampede Creek, above the Clearwater Fork of the Toklat River. “

“We are lost in the woods. “

“I stood on a stump, reached through a back window, and gave the bag a shake. There was definitely something in it, but whatever it was didn’t weigh much. It wasn’t until I walked around to the other side and saw a head sticking out that I knew for certain what it was. “

Chapter Three (CARTHAGE)

“Stately rows of cottonwoods shade a grid of streets seldom disturbed by moving vehicles. “

“I’ve given jobs to lots of hitchhikers over the years, most of them weren’t much good, didn’t really want to work. It was a different story with Alex. He was the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. “

“McCandless quickly became enamored of Carthage. He liked the community’s stasis, its plebeian virtues and unassuming mien. The place was a back eddy, a pool of jetsam beyond the pull of the main current, and that suited him just fine. “

“Gradewise things went pretty well and I ended up with a high cumulative average. “

“It was the last anyone in Chris’s family would ever hear from him. “

Chapter Four (DETRITAL WASH)

“A. californica grows only in gypsum soil of a sort that occurs in abundance along the south shore of Lake Mead, so that is where Walsh led his team of rangers to conduct the botanical survey. “

“We’re still getting a lot of mileage out of that old car even now, Walsh proudly reports two and a half years after finding the Datsun. Put a few bucks of gas in the thing, and it will go all day. Real reliable. “

“He could simply abandon the Datsun and resume his odyssey on foot. “

“He was a nice kid. Said his name was Alex. And he was big-time hungry. Hungry, hungry, hungry. But real happy. Said he’d been surviving on edible plants he identified from the book. “

“The hitchhiking ticket just didn’t make any sense. He loved that Datsun so much it was mind-boggling to me that he would ever abandon it and travel on foot. “

“Alex looks quickly around for signs of trouble, his journal records. But his entry of Mexico is either unnoticed or ignored. Alexander is jubilant!Alex looks quickly around for signs of trouble, his journal records. “

“A very fateful day. In great frustration, he screams and beats canoe with oar. He had not seen or talked to another soul in thirty-six days. “

“Can this be the same Alex that set out in July, 1990. Malnutrition and the road have taken their toll on his body. Over 25 pounds lost. But his spirit is soaring. “

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Chapter Five (BULLHEAD CITY)

“It’s a good place to spend the winter and I might finally settle down and abandon my tramping life, for good. “

“I was walking down the street, and I saw a mobile home that was for sale. I went in and asked the owner if I could rent it for a few days. He said yes, and I moved in. “

“I’m so excited to hear that you will be coming to see me, you’re welcome any time. “

“He helped me a lot, Burres acknowledges. He watched the table when I needed to leave, categorized all the books, made a lot of sales. He seemed to get a real kick out of it. “

“He had a good time when he was around people, a real good time. At the swap meet he’d talk and talk and talk to everybody who came by. He must have met six or seven dozen people in Niland, and he was friendly with every one of them. “

“He eventually took it to shut me up, she laughs, but the day after he left, I found most of it in the van. He was smart. “

Chapter Six (ANZA-BORREGO)

“Ron Franz, who was eighty years old when their paths intersected in January 1992. “

“He seemed extremely intelligent. I thought he was too nice a kid to be living by that hot springs with those nudists and drunks and dope smokers. I couldn’t get the young man out of my mind. “

“God, he was a smart kid, the old man rasps in a barely audible voice. He directed his gaze at a patch of sand between his feet as he makes this declaration; then he stops talking. Bending stiffly from the waist, he wipes some imaginary dirt from his pant leg. “

“It was like sunshine after a month of rain. It was a pleasant, if hurried trip. Even when he was sleeping, I was happy just knowing he was there. “

“I am sorry to say that I am leaving the country. I am going to Europe. I am sorry to leave you, but I am not sorry to leave the country. “

“That sure could of been true, says the clerk at the Salton City store, but most people think they bulldozed ‘em ‘cause the springs was starting to attract too many hippies and drifters and scum like that. “

“I prayed. I asked God to keep his finger on the shoulder of that one; I told him that boy was special. But he let Alex die. So on December 26, when I learned what happened, I renounced the Lord. I withdrew my church membership and became an atheist. “

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Chapter Seven (CARTHAGE)

“Hand me that goddamn wrench, will you. an angry, muffled voice demands from deep within the machine’s innards. Or are you guys too busy standing around with your hands in your goddamn pockets to be of any use. “

“I had Alex over to the house for supper just about every night, Borah continues. He was a big eater. Never left any food on his plate. Never. He was a good cook, too. “

“It was clear to Borah, too, that McCandless hadn’t spent much time cruising singles bars. “

“Alex struck me as much older than twenty-four. Everything I said, he’d demand to know more about what I meant, about why I thought this way or that. He was hungry to learn about things. “

“We talked for hours about books; there aren’t that many people in Carthage who like to talk about books. He went on and on about Mark Twain. Gosh, he was fun to visit with; I didn’t want the night to end. “

Chapter Eight (ALASKA)

“Krakauer is a kook if he doesn’t think Chris ‘Alexander Supertramp’ McCandless was a kook, opined a man from North Pole, Alaska. “

“The prevailing Alaska wisdom held that McCandless was simply one more dreamy half-cocked greenhorn who went into the country expecting to find answers to all his problems and instead found only mosquitoes and a lonely death. “

“He became convinced that humans had devolved into progressively inferior beings, McKinney explains, and it was his goal to return to a natural state. He was forever experimenting with different eras—Roman times, the Iron Age, the Bronze Age. “

“At the age of forty-nine, he cheerfully announced that he had recast his goals and next intended to walk around the world, living out of my backpack. I want to cover 18 to 27 miles a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. “

“John was very self-critical, always analyzing himself. “

“He was wearing a cheap one-piece snowmobile suit and wasn’t even carrying a sleeping bag. All he had in the way of food was a bunch of flour, some sugar, and a big can of Crisco. “

“Carl was a friendly, extremely popular, down-home sort of guy, and he seemed like a smart guy. But there was a side to him that was a little bit dreamy, a little bit out of touch with reality. He was flamboyant. He liked to party hard. “

“I keep thinking of all the shotgun shells I threw away about two months ago, he wrote. Had five boxes and when I kept seeing them sitting there I felt rather silly for having brought so many. (Felt like a war monger. )… real bright. “

“For instance, Stoppel continues, Carl didn’t want to fly into the bush alone. His big dream, originally, was to go off and live in the woods with some beautiful woman. “

“Some insight into the tragedy of Chris McCandless can be gained by studying predecessors cut from the same exotic cloth. And in order to do that, one must look beyond Alaska, to the bald-rock canyons of southern Utah. “

Chapter Nine (DAVIS GULCH)

“Davis Gulch is a small watershed by any measure, but a lovely one, and travelers through this dry, hard country have for centuries relied on the oasis that exists at the bottom of the slotlike defile. “

“Deliberately he punished his body, strained his endurance, tested his capacity for strenuousness. “

“I had some terrific experiences in the wilderness since I wrote you last—overpowering, overwhelming, he gushed to his friend Cornel Tengel. But then I am always being overwhelmed. I require it to sustain life. Quote: I am always being overwhelmed. “

“I’ve decided that I’m going to live this life for some time to come. The freedom and simple beauty of it is just too good to pass up. I have had a few narrow escapes from rattlers and crumbling cliffs. “

“Nemo 1934 carved into a stone slab. “

“Waldo thinks Everett was murdered, but I don’t think so. I lived in Escalante for two years. I’ve talked with the folks who are accused of killing him, and I just don’t think they did it. But who knows. “

“Everett was strange, Sleight concedes. Kind of different. But him and McCandless, at least they tried to follow their dream. That’s what was great about them. They tried. Not many do. “

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Chapter Ten (FAIRBANKS)

“Exit Fairbanks. Sitting Galliean. Rabbit Day. “

“The few sketchy details made the anonymous hiker sound distressingly like his friend. The fact that he’d gone to Alaska, that he’d gone off by himself—it all added up. “

“It was an eight-by-ten enlargement, Sam recalls, a head shot. His hair was long, and he had a beard. Chris almost always had short hair and was clean-shaven. And the face in the picture was extremely gaunt. “

Chapter Eleven (CHESAPEAKE BEACH)

“How is it, he wonders aloud as he gazes blankly across Chesapeake Bay, that a kid with so much compassion could cause his parents so much pain. “

“Walt grew up in Greeley, Colorado, an agricultural town on the high, windswept plains up near the Wyoming line. “

“At the age of two, he got up in the middle of the night, found his way outside without waking his parents, and entered a house down the street to plunder a neighbor’s candy drawer. “

“He was always raising wildlife, Billie says, he’d find some animal in a trap, take it home, amputate the injured limb, heal it, and then let it go again. “

“He was a high achiever in almost everything that caught his fancy. “

“Chris had so much natural talent, Walt continues, but if you tried to coach him, to polish his skill, to bring out that final ten percent, a wall went up. He resisted instruction of any kind. “

“Chris didn’t understand how people could possibly be allowed to go hungry, especially in this country, says Billie. He would rave about that kind of thing for hours. “

“Toward the end of the evening, Chris asked me how much money I had. I said five dollars. He had ten. ‘OK, you buy the gas,’ he told me; ‘I’m going to get some food. “

“Chris was always an entrepreneur. “

Chapter Twelve (ANNANDALE)

“Chris, says Billie, thought we were idiots for worrying about him. “

“Chris was just being Chris, but it infuriated me. He would have made a great CIA agent—I’m serious; I know guys who work for the CIA. He told us what he thought we needed to know and nothing more. He was that way about everything. “

“Chris was the sort of person who brooded about things, Carine observes. If something bothered him, he wouldn’t come right out and say it. He’d keep it to himself, harboring his resentment, letting the bad feelings build and build. “

“Chris kept careful score. And over time he worked himself into a choler of self-righteous indignation that was impossible to keep bottled up. Chris Morris, the editor of the paper, remembers McCandless as intense. “

“Chris was smitten by the vastness of the land, by the ghostly hue of the glaciers, by the pellucid subarctic sky. “

“There’s no question in my mind, he says. If we’d had any idea where to look—OK—I would have gone there in a flash, gotten a lock on his whereabouts, and brought our boy home. “

Chapter Thirteen (VIRGINIA BEACH)

“Chris was crazy about Buck, Carine says. That summer he disappeared he’d wanted to take Buck with him. “

“I was always getting on Mom and Dad’s case because they worked all the time and were never around, she reflects with a self-mocking laugh, and now look at me: I’m doing the same thing. “

“I was mad. Then I thought, ‘Chris wouldn’t care. He’d think it was funny. “

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Chapter Fourteen (THE STIKINE ICE CAP)

“If this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again I want you to know you’re a great man. I now walk into the wild. “

“The Ocean Queen was a stout, no-nonsense workboat built from thick planks of Alaska yellow cedar, rigged for long-lining and purse seining. “

“I shared a ride with some tree planters to the head of Thomas Bay, where I was put ashore on a gravel beach. After three or four miles I came to the snow line and there exchanged crampons for skis. “

“I had planned on spending between three Weeks and a month on the Stikine Ice Cap. I had paid a bush pilot in Petersburg $150—the last of my cash—to have six cardboard cartons of supplies dropped from an airplane when I reached the foot of the Thumb. “

“I realized that I was sobbing. Embarrassed, I halted the blubbering by screaming obscenities until I grew hoarse. “

“The whole enterprise is held together with little more than chutzpah, not the most reliable adhesive. “

Chapter Fifteen (THE STIKINE ICE CAP)

“I couldn’t stand it any longer: the lumps of frozen snow poking me in the back, the clammy nylon walls brushing against my face, the incredible smell drifting up from the depths of my sleeping bag. “

“My father was a volatile, extremely complicated person, possessed of a brash demeanor that masked deep insecurities. A kind and generous man, Lewis Krakauer loved his five children deeply, in the autocratic way of fathers, but his worldview was colored by a relentlessly competitive nature. “

“I saw that I had been selfish and unbending and a giant pain in the ass. “

“I knew that people sometimes died climbing mountains. But at the age of twenty-three, personal mortality—the idea of my own death—was still largely outside my conceptual grasp. “

“I saw, finally, that nothing was. “

“I didn’t have a watch, but in what seemed like a very short time, I was on the distinctive final ice field. By now the entire sky was smeared with clouds. It looked easier to keep angling to the left but quicker to go straight for the top. “

“I lay down in the rear of the old truck for a while but couldn’t sleep, so I got up and walked to a bar called Kito’s Kave. “

“In my case—and, I believe, in the case of Chris McCandless—that was a very different thing from wanting to die. “

Chapter Sixteen (THE ALASKA INTERIOR)

“On April 21, just six days out of Carthage, he arrived at Liard River Hotsprings, at the threshold of the Yukon Territory. “

“He was a dandy kid. Real courteous, and he didn’t cuss or use a lot of that there slang. You could tell he came from a nice family. Mostly he talked about his sister. “

“He was, at long last, about to be alone in the vast Alaska wilds. “

“I am free. “

“Weakness, Snowed in, Disaster (pg. 3)CLIMB MOUNTAIN! (pg. 4)4th day famine (pg. 4)I might walk all the way to the Bering Sea. (pg. “

“In the end the Sushana River site was sufficiently remote to cost him his life. “

“The repugnance to animal food is not the effect of experience, but is an instinct. It appeared more beautiful to live low and fare hard in many respects; and though I never did so, I went far enough to please my imagination. “

“Then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps—what more can the heart of a man desire. “

“If he could reach the far shore, the remainder of the hike to the highway would be easy, but to get there he would have to negotiate a channel some one hundred feet wide. “

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Chapter Seventeen (THE STAMPEDE TRAIL)

“I, too, hope to cross the river. Unlike McCandless, however, I have in my backpack a 1:63,360-scale topographic map (that is, a map on which one inch represents one mile). “

“He was looking for more adventure and freedom than today’s society gives people. “

“It was definitely a caribou, when I read in the paper that he thought he’d shot a moose, that told me right there he wasn’t no Alaskan. “

“The boy made some mistakes on the Stampede Trail, but confusing a caribou with a moose wasn’t among them. “

“Two years he walks the earth, no phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. “

“He had a need to test himself in ways, as he was fond of saying, that mattered. He possessed grand—some would say grandiose—spiritual ambitions. “

“The entries in McCandless’s journal contain few abstractions about wilderness or, for that matter, few ruminations of any kind. There is scant mention of the surrounding scenery. “

“But the meaning he wrested from existence lay beyond the comfortable path: McCandless distrusted the value of things that came easily. To the contrary: His life hummed with meaning and purpose. “

“I guess I just can’t help identifying with the guy, Roman allows as he pokes the coals with a stick. I hate to admit it, but not so many years ago it could easily have been me in the same kind of predicament. “

Chapter Eighteen (THE STAMPEDE TRAIL)

“NATURE/PURITY, he printed in bold characters at the top of the page. “

“EXTREMLY WEAK, FAULT OF POT. SEED. MUCH TROUBLE JUST TO STAND UP. STARVING. GREAT JEOPARDY. I saw no evidence of a garden in the vicinity of the bus. “

“On July 30, the entry in his journal reads, EXTREMELY WEAK. FAULT OF POT. SEED…. “

“What happens with a lot of legumes, explains John Bryant, a chemical ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, is that the plants concentrate alkaloids in the seed coats in late summer, to discourage animals from eating their seeds. “

“He had begun to gather and eat large quantities of wild potato seeds on July 14, during an extended period of rainy weather. The literature of veterinary medicine is rife with cases of animals stricken by swainsonine poisoning after grazing on forage contaminated with R. leguminicola. “

“I am in the bus. “

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