Three overdue hikers have been found safe on the Stampede Trail, according to the Alaska State Troopers. On Monday morning, State Troopers and paramedics from the Tri-Valley Fire Department received a report that Jensen Green of Talkeetna, Nate Perkins of Utah, and Kia Bridges of Utah had begun a hike down the Stampede Trail west of Healy on Saturday and were expected to return Sunday.
The Stampede Trail is a difficult twenty mile trip each way. It begins at the end of a mining road, and passes through often swampy terrain and across the Teklanika (TEK-la-NEE-ka) River. Today, it is primarily used by hikers attempting to reach the former Fairbanks Transit bus at the center of the book and film Into the Wild. In 1992, Christopher McCandless died in the bus after becoming stranded by the rising Teklanika (TEK-la-NEE-ka).
The Troopers and paramedics reached the hikers, who were safe an uninjured. They said they had decided to spend an extra night on the trail because the hike was more tiring than anticipated. Megan Peters, spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers, says that any trip into the Alaskan backcountry requires preparedness. She says knowing the difficulty of the hike, and having an emergency plan and proper gear are critical. Peters did not confirm that the hikers were visiting the bus, but says that it is probable.
This is the third time that a search or rescue operation has been conducted for hikers on the Stampede Trail this year. On May 27th, three German hikers were rescued by State Troopers, and on June 25th, an Army helicopter on a training mission happened upon three hikers who had been stranded by the rising river and run out of food, much like McCandless himself. The three hikers from this week’s search and rescue planned to continue walking out.