NFR: Into the Wild, Matthew Wilson gone missing

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

  1. CovingtonFly

    CovingtonFly B.O.H.I.C.A. bend over here it comes again

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    My first thought was that this guy was not very outdoorsy when I read that his list of items purchase included charcoal and matches. I'd check all the state parks from his starting point to Alaska and look for a short guy with red hair BBQing hot dogs.
    I don't mean to make light of the situation and I feel for his family, but what kinda trouble is this guy gonna get in if all he has are matches and some charcoal? If this guy buys a 4 season one man tent, a rifle, 5 pound bag of rice and technical climbing gear, then I would be concerned.
     
  2. Citori

    Citori Piscatorial Engineer

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    Boot,

    I am intrigued with this thread, and its genesis...

    My dad had an uncle, Marion, who had one arm, and lived my himself in a cabin somewhere around Meacham. Dad tracked him down one year when we were returning from vacation. He came to Idaho, to visit within the next year, and stayed long enough to exceed the family's comfort level. As you might imagine after living alone for many years, both hygiene and social graces suffered and waned. He died shortly thereafter, of natural and unremarkable causes.

    My hypothesis, one of them anyway, is that people fit where they fit. Some people find their fit, others spend a lifetime searching where they fit. Others find they fit for a while then things change, and they no longer fit there, and must find a new fit.

    In my few forays into Alaska, my own personal observation is that the state is filled with people who don't fit in close proximity to other people and the trappings that go along with other people. With some, it is complexity, with others, it is ego. Or, it might just be simplicity - you can interpret "simplicity" how you will. Which is to say that for some, being alone is all they can or want to handle. With others, being alone is a celebration of being "away" from that which competes.

    Life as we know it, while lacking the demands of sheltering, feeding and clothing ourselves, is replete with other challenges and demands. Living and working in a world moving at light speed, technology, credit, ad infinitum. How great would it be to come home at the end of the day with nothing more to worry about than fixing something to eat, washing the dish, and reading or writing until the light fades? While there is an appeal to that, it doesn't take long to realize that there will always be other things to worry about.

    Not unlike committing to living in the wilderness, or committing to floating a hundred miles of river through wilderness, once you are committed, there is no turning back. Once one finds they no longer "fit" , or decide there never was a fit, the psyche morphs as well, and might well buckle. At that point, the outcome is less a matter of what, than when. Having known some people who dabbled at "breaking free", and found that "free" wasn't exactly free, I see less complexity, and a glorious failure of preparation for the reality by being deluded by the anticipation of something that was never going to happen.

    We should also consider the vast majority of cases we never hear about - the few who actually can anticipate and prepare for the reality, and find they fit - the ones who fail miserably, but escape relatively whole - and finally the ones who make Darwin each year but without the notoriety and fame afforded by Krakauer et al.

    I guess what I see when I ponder your questions is more an embrace of simplicity, which allows one to commit fully and wholly, when in reality if the whole picture was seen or known, that same commitment would not be made. Which is to say, if you knew what you need to know to prepare adequately to do what you are thinking of doing, you probably wouldn't do it. It is that which you don't know, and don't know that you don't know, that allows you do to attempt to do that which shouldn't be done. An axiom of that would be that if you knew what you need to know, and prepared adequately, it likely would no longer be remarkable. If you watch Proenneke, you know that he was prepared, and found nothing remarkable about what he did. In fact, watching him do what he did seemed pretty unremarkable, except for the realization that there is no way in God's green earth that I could do it.

    Of course, I could be wrong.
     
  3. jasmillo

    jasmillo Member

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    I think someone else mentioned this but I believe the final verdict was that it was a moose. It was reported in the original magazine article written that it was actually a caribou but the author based that off investigators original assumptions based on examination of the skeleton. In the book, I believe Krakauer says he made a mistake and mentiones that the camera they found with the body actually has a picture of the small moose he shot.

    As far as whether or not he was mentally ill- I don't know, I'm no professional. My first thought was that he was adventerous, very smart, and a little too confident in himself- a trait he seemed to have picked up from the father he resented so much. He almost did it though-one small mistake seemed to have cost him his life.
     
  4. John Hicks

    John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

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    Just saw a two hour program on Timothy Treadwell. Man that guy was an interesting cat. I think he has to be added to this thread.
     
  5. Tim Lockhart

    Tim Lockhart Active Member

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    Only way the Treadwell film made it was the use of his actual footage. Fine he was a bit warped but he completely lost me with bear-scat worshipping...not cool. :hmmm:
     
  6. John Hicks

    John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

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    Ford,
    we aren't talking about these guys being cool. None of them were "cool". They were all pretty out there. Beyond the pale of our social graces.
     
  7. hendersonbaylocal

    hendersonbaylocal Member

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    Agreed.

    I went to see Grizzly Man with a couple buddies. Two of us walked out of the theater and said "yeah, that was a great movie". The other hated it. Absolutely hated it. Could not stand it. Cool footage of bears at least. Interesting guy.
     
  8. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

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    Just finished watching Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog’s documentary about Timothy Treadwell. I had seen the film before but, I watched with a different awareness after following this thread. One of the things that really struck me about Treadwell, as portrayed in the movie, was the apparent conflict between his desire to be a “rockstar” type celebrity and his desire to escape from normal civilization.

    He had moved to L.A. after losing a college scholarship, tried his hand at acting, and reportedly was crushed when he didn’t land a role in “Cheers”. He went through a period of intense substance abuse and reinvented himself as an orphan from the Australian outback complete with bad accent and silly hat.

    He was obsessive about his appearance and several friends said the he was never without a comb and a mirror. He constantly made references to his hair in his own film takes. He seems to have been obsessed with his appearance which makes me wonder if he didn’t derive a great deal of his self worth from the opinions of others.

    So, after failing as a diver (his scholarship sport), failing at college, failing as an actor, and failing to kill himself with heroin and cocaine, he winds up casting himself as a hero in his own film work which is all about saving grizzly bears from the perceived threat of poaching in a National Park.

    For over a decade he spends his summers secluded in the Alaskan wilderness camping with the bears. He brings several successive female companions with him but only one of them was ever referred to in the film because he had taken great pains to give the impression that he was alone in his struggle to “protect the bears”.

    The other women who accompanied him on earlier trips were spared the notoriety of inclusion in Herzog’s film and, in fact, there are only 2 video shots of Amie Huguenard, his last girlfriend, in all of Treadwell’s work.

    Treadwell was warned repeatedly by the parks dept. about his interaction with the bears which they characterized as harassment. He was also cited on several occasions for failing to take sufficient basic precautions with food storage and other housekeeping measures commonly practiced to avoid confrontation with bears.

    Herzog’s film left me with the impression that Treadwell was an egomaniac who would go to great lengths to achieve fame. I think the saddest part is that he got his girlfriend killed in the process.

    JonB
     
  9. Citori

    Citori Piscatorial Engineer

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    But, in the true spirit of sustainability, he did recycle himself to the benefit of the bears....
     
  10. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

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    Boot, I checked out the "intersting thread" mentioned before and also visited this link:http://visionandpsychosis.net/ that was posted on the Wilson family board by a guy suggesting that Subliminal Peripheral Vision Psychosis (SPVP) might be involved.
    That was some wierd stuff!!
    Check it out!

    JonB
     
  11. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    'Tis a fine and shifty line betwixt madness and genius.

    Who, of any of us, are to judge?
     
  12. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    It's worth remembering that Wilson was a computer science major, and thus presumably spent quite some time online world (as do many of us here!)

    There's a rerun of a wonderful Frontline documentary at 10pm tonight (Thursday) on KCTS 9, the main Seattle PBS station, titled 'Growing Up Online' that's well worth watching, even for those here without children.

    The story line is how today's teens and young college students have grown up in a world in which computers, the Internet, cell phones and text messaging have always existed. The wired 'community' this technology has created is as much an intoxicant for young people as it is an alternative for the 'real' world of face-to-face social interactions and experiences enjoyed by earlier generations.

    As one academic explains, this 'substitute' socialization can frequently result in a disconnect between the way some people perceive the real world and the virtual world they frequently spend the entire day connected to.

    After listening to the often amazing gulf between these young people and their elders, it's not surprising that many of them view the world in a way that bears little resemblance to the one the rest of us inhabit. It's easy to understand how someone might underestimate the actual process of living in the wild (or on the run) having simply 'experienced' it online and second- or third-hand.

    K
     
  13. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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  14. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I have myself a four season one man tent, a ton of backcountry gear, a 20 pound bag of rice and some climbing gear. I've been looking at rifles and contemplating just the right one. I have recently been to Montana and frequently, espeically in winter, go off and disappear for a few days in the snow covered mountains of the OP or Cascades. Maybe I should schedule some sofa time with my fishing pal the psychiatrist. And based on another thread about "fly fishing through a mid life crisis" I probably fit that profile too.
     
  15. Brett Angel

    Brett Angel Member

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    Dick Proenneke is a man to be admired. He did what he did because that's who he was.
     
  16. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    Berkeley, huh? Well that's not nearly as interesting as the Alaskan wilds, or at least, not in the same way... I'm going to take a wild ass guess here: going to Rice, dosed vitamin-A with his friends a few too many times, decided being a tech professional was giving into the man and decided to "tune in, turn on and drop out."
     
  17. wadin' boot

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

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    Berkeley is North and West....I deserve a piece of that 25k...

    It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds now..
     
  18. Coach Duff

    Coach Duff Banned or Parked

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    As an old Spec Ops guy, I throw the original book Rambo in the mix. Now once you all are done laughing to death, let me say the original book is nothing like any movie. It gives a pretty good picture of severe PTSD and the alienation of a Nam warrior who is off on a walkabout (checked out) and butts heads with a tough but fair cop (Korean War Ranger and Silver Star Winner). In the movie the cop is a jack ass in the book he is every bit as trained and talented in the field as Rambo, just a bit longer in the tooth. The war of the minds and souls is a war between two complete generations, not just man against man. A different view, a sad commentary on the results of war view, but I think very viable and not too far out of this spectrum. Coach
     
  19. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Great point Coach, and unfortunately we read too much news these days about those returning from harms way with PTSD. Generally not until after they have gutted their cheating wives, boyfriends, neighbors or someone. We need more flyrods and more fishing buddies.
     
  20. Tony Mull

    Tony Mull Member

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    Alaskans reaction at the time was why would someone think they could do that? and why would someone starve 20 miles from the road?

    In fact humans are not suited to surviving alone in the wilderness. Our natural social order is that of hunter gatherers working within a small group. No one, not even the best survival expert, spends very much time alone out in the bush without losing weight if they are truly living off the land.