Chris McCandless' note on the outside of the bus was probably not the last item he penned. From the last page of Krakauer's account:
"From August 13 through 18 his journal records nothing beyond a tally of the days. At some point during this week, he tore the final page from Louis L'Amour's memoir, Education of a Wandering Man
. On one side were some lines that L'Amour had quoted from Robinson Jeffers's poem 'Wise Men
in Their Bad Hours':
Death's a fierce meadowlark: but to die having made
Something more equal to the centuries
Than muscle and bone, is mostly to shed weakness.
On the other side of the page, which was blank, McCandless penned a brief adios: 'I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!' "
Krakauer, having essentially painted McCandless as a naive dreamer in his original magazine account, re-visited the question as he expanded the material into the subsequent book. He acknowledged that McCandless was much better prepared for the ordeal than his original account had put forward, and that McCandless had survived for so long because he was well-educated on the necessities for survival. In the end, it was the simple mistake of eating a quantity of poisonous wild sweet pea seeds that rendered him too weak to save himself.
He had been living off wild potato seeds, but the wild sweet pea grows alongside the wild potato, and their seeds are virtually identical. He had been successfully living off the wild potato for a month to that point.
Krakauer seemed particular contrite for having made McCandless seem less prepared for wilderness survival than he actually was. If memory serves, that was in an epilogue to the book Krakauer had written following the original publication of his article on McCandless in Outside
Perhaps the originator of this thread is also more prepared to single-hand a 40' ketch
through the Panama Canal
and all the way to the Society Islands than I felt his post indicated. It is my opinion that a man or woman is free to do whatever he/she wants to do, but I was particularly concerned that an innocent dog and bird might pay a heavy price
for their owner's actions if he was as ill-equipped for the voyage as I had concluded he was.
After fighting the wearying battle to save Snickers and Gulliver, I found that especially appalling.