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Overdue hiker on trek to ‘Into the Wild’ bus found alive

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: September 12, 2016
  • Published September 12, 2016

A hiker from Mexico reported overdue in Denali National Park and Preserve over the weekend was found in good health Monday, ending at least the third search of the year for hikers headed to the abandoned bus made famous in "Into the Wild."

Carlos Castrejon, 45, had last been seen at 2 p.m. Wednesday, headed for the bus in which the body of Christopher McCandless was discovered in 1992, park staff wrote Monday morning. Castrejon was found Monday "unharmed and in good condition," park staff said in an email.

"Castrejon, according to his companion, was heading for the abandoned Fairbanks Transit bus that is parked in a clearing along the Stampede Trail near Denali National Park on state land," park staff wrote.

The tale of McCandless' doomed trip to the bus was popularized by Jon Krakauer's book "Into the Wild." The story was made into a film in 2007.

Park spokeswoman Katherine Belcher said a ground search for Castrejon, launched Monday along the Teklanika and Sushana rivers after park officials were informed he was missing, involved 20 people split into two teams.

Castrejon's companion had been camping with him at the Riley Creek campground, near Denali National Park's visitor center, but didn't accompany him on the hike.

Belcher said Castrejon, an experienced backcountry hiker, was expected back on Saturday, but when he hadn't returned by Sunday, his friend notified park officials that he was overdue.

"Prior to his departure on September 7, Castrejon was advised by Denali's backcountry information staff that he was not allowing sufficient time for his planned hike," park staff wrote. "Castrejon's route from the park to the bus was approximately 15 miles, one way, over difficult terrain."

At least three other hikers traveling to the bus have been rescued this year in two separate incidents. Michael Trigg, 25, and Theodore "Ted" Aslund were rescued in June after reaching the bus but becoming stranded when they couldn't cross the fast-moving Teklanika, and 22-year-old Michael Sharp was rescued in August after suffering minor injuries during his hike to the bus.

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