NFR: Into the Wild, Matthew Wilson gone missing

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by wadin' boot, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    I'm sure I could manage to find something to eat ;).

    To get back to topic. I had a buddie who spend 6 months in the rockies alone. Relativly stable minded guy, liked people, loved the woods even more. He did fine with a 7mm rifle, a hundred feet of parachord, a small fishing kit(that he never used) and a good leatherman with a blade stone. He lost a bit of weight. I wish I could have gone but ended up in boot camp instead. :(
     
  2. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    It can be done in a pinch, but it probably wasn't pretty. It wasn't really a moose though. He thought it was a moose, but it was actually a caribou (the movie left out this detail and showed an actual moose). Since caribou are generally pretty stupid and approachable, I'd venture a guess that it was taken down at short range with several shots. You'd think that by the time he got to Alaska that he would have seen enough moose and caribou along the highway to know the difference, which further adds to my opinion that the guy was an idiot.
     
  3. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

    I recall reading My Side of The Mountain as a kid and being disappointed by the ending when the main character's whole family moves to the mountain and starts building a house.

    JonB
     
  4. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Definatly an idiot. A caribou carcas can provide enough protiene to last a lot longer than 100+ days.
     
  5. John Hicks

    John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    This all reminds me of a guy I went to high school with. When we were in school Ben was your run of the mill 90210 guy. He wore the silk shirts, bolo ties. His hair was always in that perfect Brandon gallon of gel order. Some time after graduation Ben just disappeared. No one heard from him or saw him for three years. Then out of the blue he came back.

    My friend Brandi was at home and heard a knock at the door. When she answered, in front of her stood a tall gaunt bearded man. He was wearing a stocking cap, tattered and patched wool coat, and some jeans with holes in the knees. From behind his dirty beard he told Brandi that it was Ben. She didn't believe him at first but realized this man was who he said he was when he removed the stocking cap.

    That night all of us friends gathered at our friends Derek and Kasey's house to welcome Ben home. All of us bewildered and shocked at seeing Ben in this state. He kept us hanging on his every word as he told story after story of his travels. It seems that Ben had gotten into some trouble shortly after high school and instead of hanging around he decided to ride the rails. He sold everything he had and bought a backpack. Him and his friend Greg jumped a rail car in Tacoma and didn't look back for three long years. In those years him and Greg went there separate ways and Ben visited every state in the lower 48 with the exception of Florida. He had been chased by rail yard boss's in Chicago. He had been stuck on one side of a tunnel in Colorado for three days. Being caught on a tanker ship heading to Hawaii out of Oakland didn't deter him either. After almost four hours and many rolled cigarettes Ben was done.

    Ben was nothing like the kid we knew in school. He was different. He was quiet and thoughtful. His demeanor was that of an old man with a pipe sitting in front of a fire, puffing out stories for his enthralled grandkids. Ben was....well he was Benjamin.

    Ben would disappear and come back several times in the following years. The last time that he showed up at Brandi's door was four years ago. He bought her old blue dodge caravan for $300 dollars and promptly disappears again. He showed back up three days later with a white crash helmet driving the van. He had taken a saws-all and cutt all of the windows out of the van. With wood screws he had taken three-quarters inch plywood and nailed them in the holes with slits like those of a German pill-box. It was clear this time that Ben wasn't Benjamin but Ben was someone else. The last thing he told Brandi was that he was heading to Alaska to help build houses in Fairbanks.

    Just in case you are wondering this is a very true story. It is amazing how truth is so many times stranger than fiction.
     
  6. Smooth

    Smooth Guest

    My Side of the Mountain was a great book. You won't learn much in the way of survival skills (ok, a few) but this book was inspirational to me when I was a kid.

    Let's hope this kid in Texas planned ahead. I feel for the parents and family.
     
  7. wadin' boot

    wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

    I forgot to post a picture of the Matthew Wilson, see below, 5'7 and 135 pounds with bright red hair and pale skin- not exactly a kid that is invisible should you run into him. If I was him, with that skin, and i had a notion for wilderness, I'd head North and West, to this part of the world. To the coast. $25,000 reward.

    Dave- no problem about hijacking,doesn't bother me, unllike WT from Shrimp Shack thread from a while back.:)


    I gave some more thought to the whole thing, thought of some new sources:


    Cormac McCarthy- The Road
    And an old madness + solitude + adventure chestnut:
    The Strange Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall.
     
  8. Nick Riggs

    Nick Riggs I've been known to fish from time to time...

  9. David Prutsman

    David Prutsman All men are equal before fish

    You're absolutely right, allow me to offer this...I have nearly 18 months of ice time in Antarctica. When I am done with my second contract I will have had over 24 months under my belt, 16 of which will have occured through the winter darkness. That said, I feel I am more familiar than most in regards to the severe harshness offered up on behalf of the highest, driest, coldest, windiest, emptiest continent on the planet.

    The men on the Endurance never should have been in the predicament they were. The only reason they were forced to fight for their lives in the most cruel of enviroments is due to the fact that one man, Shakelton, was too lustful for fame and glory to consider anything elsd. He failed to hede the warnings of the experienced whalers on South Georgia Island, putting his men in peril. Though a truly amazing story of survival, the fact that all his men did make it home can be attributed to luck.

    That said, Shakelton was a jackass! British explorer Robert Falcon Scott who killed his entire crew attempting to be the first to the South Pole, was a jackass! If you want someone who is a badass, look to Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first man to the South Pole. The guy made it to pole faster than he came back. Before embarking on his journey, he knew what day he would slaughter his sled dogs for food on his return trip. Amundsen was a badass!
     
  10. wadin' boot

    wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...



    Crew, badass and jackass are not mutually exclusive. Surely you have some resources down there in the deep polar nights that make your analysis of the Ice explorers less black and white, a little less anachronistic? Turn of the 20th century Arctic and Antarctic explorers were motivated in ways that perhaps we no longer understand- knighthood, prizes, titles, medals, nationalism, imperialism, propriety, election to the Royal Society or its equivalent, and the chance to pen a monograph that might cement international fame.

    Take a look at the conflicted world of Sven Hedin for instance.

    Or the mediocrity of Burke and Wills in comparison to that of Lewis and Clark

    These guys were motivated in ways we may no longer appreciate. Or maybe we can. Don't you have to be somewhat of a Jackass to be a Captain, be it of the Endurance, the Bounty or Enron? What's ironic about your statement is the list of guys in the original thread that failed to be condemned as jackasses- Treadwell, McCandless, Bligh....

    Maybe the tougher question is what explorers were NOT jackasses as viewed from our age? Top of my list?

    James Cook.


    So we ought to add, even though its a little spendy, Beaglehole's works on James Cook to the list of required reading:

    Boot
     
  11. David Prutsman

    David Prutsman All men are equal before fish

    You make an extremely valid point, difficult to disagree with, well done. I guess what irks me is when leaders fail to consider the well being of the men following them, such as Shakelton and Scott. Amundsens first priority was the safety of his men.
     
  12. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

    Knud Rasmussen was no slouch either.

    JonB
     
  13. My girlfriend bought me the documentary "Deep Water" for Christmas - good film about Crowhurst and the 68 Golden Globe. Really interesting. Having spent a few weeks on a small boat in the middle of the ocean, I feel for the guy. Not hard to imagine how you could go mad out there with just your thoughts... especially with the pressure he was under.
     
  14. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    So Boot,

    I’ve been watching this thread since you started it and finally stopped using the speed reading method and reread it correctly to uncover which way you were going on this. I’m assuming you’re intrigued by the idea of just cutting oneself off from society and bailing out for the wilderness. It would seem Matthew, and the others mentioned, found it necessary to leave for whatever reason. With what goes on in schools regarding peer backlash or the overwhelming burden of becoming a productive member in society when faced with the fact that only the one percent of the richest people will get richer while the rest of us peck out some modicum of a living, it’s a wonder that more people don’t cut and run for the woods. Knowing that Dick Cheney is the only one really in charge at the white house, is enough to scare anyone.

    In my case, I remember getting my own copy of The Other Side of The Mountain as a kid and as an adult, I’ve had to face the reality of giving 1/3 of my income to support my kids (via a divorce) which only enhances the lure of living alone in the wilderness. I just can’t stand the thought of leaving my kids or my meager job as a nurse. In other words, the young and the very old depend on me, but everyone in between can go fick themselves. So on I trudge. But I do fantasize about living alone in AK. Eight years in the Army (not health care) and growing up in the outdoors would certainly prepare me a bit more. Find an old mining tunnel or some other shelter. I like eating so a .22 is out of the question, besides one might run out of ammo. Dig a big pit with pongee sticks and drive mammals into it. Forget the fly rod, I’m gill netting. I wouldn’t leave a digital trail of ATM withdraws right up to the pacific crest. I’d probably hike hand tools up to a staging area cuz I like fires. Maybe use packhorses to bring what I would need and then eat the horses when I wintered over. I’d have to do the research on edibles. Screw medical supplies cuz I’d accept death up there in any form. I mean, if you were to check out of society, you might as well accept checking out all the way if you didn’t have the skills. But I’d miss my kids. I just couldn’t do it. Doesn’t mean I don’t think about it though.

    Don’t have any personal stories, but I’ll bet there are people up there now. It might be kind of cool to find them and write their stories. I imagine he or they would be kind of gamy smelling all covered in animal hides cuz all the clothes would have rotted away. To some extent, they would be a lot freer than any of us. It wouldn’t be a bad way to go.
     
  15. MarkM

    MarkM New Member

    You mentioned Survivorman earlier in this thread. That's an awesome show and has many really useful tips for survival. Not sure if you saw the show where he's based in Alaska on a kayak and he eats a rotten fish that some eagle dropped. I think my favorite tip is how to make a prison match with tissue, lint from a sock and a spark.
     
  16. tahuyamg

    tahuyamg tahuyamg

    Into The Wild was one of the first books I read when I first started crabbing in the Bering Sea of AK. It was recommended by my engineer as a book I should read. I read it on my first trip crossing the Gulf of Alaska. Not a fun crossing in a 108 ft Marco boat in average sea's of 25ft a crossing that takes about 10 days. I myself had that calling to go up to AL by myself and my adventure was fishing for red king crab, opilio (snow crab) and brown king crab. While I didn't just wander out into the wilderness, I did embark on some wild times. Being in the Bering Sea I've never been so scared in my life and yet felt so alive in the same moment. Taking shift in 30 ft plus waves in the dark, looking out one tiny window that was heated, while all others were covered in snow and/or frozen. Watching the swells under the sodium lights start to break then engulfing the whole bow making a huge rumbling and washing back on the very window I was looking out. It was an addiction for me at the time. When I got home I swore I'd never go back and when it got close to going I would get so excited it was hard to sleep at night. Crab fishing wasn't just a job it was a life style. Working on deck wasn't like work it was more like a game of how far you could go mentally and physically. There were times I just didn't think I could go on anymore and yet some how you seen to be able to reach down and gather inner strength to keep going. My engineer gave me other books to read as well. I think his point in this was to show me how one could go and test themselves to the extreme and survive to fight another day.
     
  17. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

    With all due respect, that is absolutely pathetic. We, as a society, are currently enjoying the highest standard of living in human history. Our life expectancy is increasing. The number of choices and opportunities available to people today is staggering in its enormity. We have comfort and free time our ancestors couldn't even dream about.

    I sometimes wonder if we are more challenged by the ease with which we float through our lives than any of the numerous difficulties we choose to focus on. Perhaps this is why we are so fascinated by stories of people who have braved the forces of nature and succeeded in the face of natural adversity.

    It's so much easier to fantasize about conquering nature than it is to face the drudgery of this cushy existence. I would opine that a person who is unable to carve out a good living in this world where we are almost totally insulated form discomfort, is singularly unfit to survive in the wilderness.

    If one employed, in this world, even half of the courage, determination and strength it would take to survive in the wilderness this person would easily rise above the crowd of drones who complain about their lousy lot in life.

    Reach for your bootstraps, Matt, and start pulling!

    JonB
     
  18. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    With all the respect you deserve, my bootstraps are fine right where they are. I make a good living doing something that helps my fellow man instead of taking from it and I’m happy. Very few people can say that. We may think we are enjoying a better standard of living, but the reality is that there are more homeless and starving people in America. It’s so competitive out there, the panhandlers with better hooks on their cardboard signs, like ‘my wife had a better lawyer” get more money tossed at them. If we were really living in a better world, we wouldn’t be seeing more and more incidents of children killing their classmates with guns. “Going postal” is no longer used because disgruntled employees blow away their coworkers on a routine basis at any type of workplace, not just the P.O. Try telling the kids in the central district this is the land of opportunity, but don’t wear anything red or blue. When I was growing up, my folks didn’t have to warn me about sexual predators released into society who wanted to sodomize my asshole. I didn’t have to walk through metal detectors when I went to school. You could walk around the pike place market with money hanging out your pocket. Now, there are people who lean up against walls staring at the tourists, but they are not looking at them as much as the camera equipment around their necks and adding up how much they could get for it from the meth dealer. Deregulation has enabled the lower class to pay 25% in taxes while the upper classes only pays 17% via legal loopholes. Jobs are going overseas and on and on it goes. People like Matthew and others with issues that make it impossible to deal with society are slipping through the cracks everyday and the number is growing. Why? Because it isn’t profitable to correct these problems. What is pathetic is that people believe the preprogrammed news media and what they hear at the young republican meetings. How can what is happening to Britney Spears be more important than the children dying overseas for OUR oil and diamonds? Still, I’d rather be an American hoping we get it right someday and I’ll stand right behind you backing up your right to your opinion with my shotgun.
     
  19. wadin' boot

    wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

    Matt, you hit the nail on the head. (I'm gamey smelling this morning, not mountain-man or fat bastard gamey though) The idea of going out into the wild is in many cultures- Aboriginals with the Walkabout, the Iniut with Vision quests there are probably a bunch more terms but I don't know them. I'd argue it's cross cultural because it hardwires an adolescent's realization of how hard it is to procure food, day after day, and how it's easier when you're on a team. That realization would be the first milestone of adulthood.

    In this age, that milestone and its implications are unfortunately very small. Food is cheap and the time gained not procuring is abundant. Filling in that extra time, that's the tough part. It becomes the seond milestone: How do you improve your society in a way that is meaningful and that sustains your mind and its stability?

    So the public McCandless story, and maybe Matthew Wilson's too, has some fundamental draw to it, they are or were on the threshold of that first milestone, and McCandless at least, made it the original hard question it ought to be. And the second question, well I would argue you can't answer that in three months, that's a lifelong one and one that is not well approached in our schools.

    There's a million angles. How will it turn out, do these guys remain free or do they reconnect with society? Are they self-absorbed jerks or heroes? Are we emphasizing rote memory skills and standardized test-taking and "the building of self-esteem" without building fundamental skills of self reliance and independence? How is it that some engineering undergrads don't know a nut from a bolt? Why are applications for hunting, fishing or even small plane licenses falling? Should kids still be booted into the wild and be made to find proverbial food? How do you get a kid to realize their "Myspace" is an ether world? Are there perpetual adolescents and how can we shoot them? Do you get wisdom or can it be taught? How do you unlearn a set of rotten assumptions your family might come with? Why do adults wear sweatshirts with Disney characters on them? How do you get someone to pose a good, original question and then answer it in a way that improves us all?

    Matt- you got Mark Graham's Crab boat story, B Jofus G's friend in the Rockies, Hick's pal Ben, Hartman's three day adventure- these are all variants on this story, but I bet you are right, there are probably some guys out there in the way back (or downtown)...and I bet the only thing we could say for sure about them... they aren't fat....
     
  20. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

    Matt,
    I read your post, then I went back and re-read my post, then your post again. The juxtaposition of our 2 world views is striking. You seem to have identified very much of what is wrong with the world as you see it. I choose, for myself, to focus on what is right with the world and build on that. Thank you for your service to our country and bless you for being a caregiver.
    Best wishes!

    JonB
     

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