Canadian Hiker Rescued from Stampede Trail near ‘Magic Bus’

The "Magic Bus" as it appeared in 2009. Image-Cropped image of Erik Halfacre photo. (Creative Commons)

The “Magic Bus” as it appeared in 2009. Image-Cropped image of Erik Halfacre photo. (Creative Commons)

Once again, another person was rescued from the location of the “Magic Bus” on the Stampede Trail 20 miles from the Parks Highway, troopers reported on Thursday.

It was reported on the trooper dispatch that a call came in at 6 am reporting the activation of a personal locator beacon registered to 22-year-old Matthew Sharp of Manitoba, Canada. Troopers responded to the area via helicopter and located Sharp, who had suffered only minor injuries.

It was reported that recent heavy rains in the area had caused the rivers to swell, making them virtually impassable. 

Sharp was transported by helicopter to Fairbanks, where he can seek medical treatment for his injuries.

Earlier this year, in June, two hikers were were reported lost in the area of the rusted out remains of the old Fairbanks transit bus, dubbed the “Magic Bus.” They, like many that attempt the trek into the area made famous by the 2007 film, “Into the Wild,” ran into trouble trying to cross the Teklanika River swollen to chest-deep levels.

Those hikers were located after 24 people and a helicopter searched for, and eventually located them near the 1946 International Harvester K-5 bus that served as a transit system bus in Fairbanks before being brought into service by the Yutan Construction Company to haul construction crew in the area.

Hikers have been drawn to the area after a 1993 article, was published in the Outside Magazine and later evolved into a book and a movie, that described the death of Chrisopher McCandless who had hiked into the area in 1992. McCandless had the intention of living off the land, but would starve to death in the abandoned bus within four months.

Another hiker on the “Magic Bus” pilgrimage, a Swiss tourist named Claire Jane Ackerman, in August of 2010, met her end as she tried to cross the swollen Teklanika River only to drown after falling into the river. Her safety line, which was intended to keep her from being swept down the river, grew taut and kept her from being able to regain her footing. 

Many in the area would like to see the rusted away hulk removed from the area, but through the years it has been utilized as an emergency shelter for mushers, hunters and fishermen, and so it remains. 

But, as the years pass by, the old bus will eventually disappear into its surroundings as slowly but surely tourists pick it apart piece by piece and pack it off as mementos of their trek to the “Magic Bus,” and rust takes claim to the rest.