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Oklahoma Teen Disappears After Taking Movie-Inspired Wilderness Trek in Oregon

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April 19, 2013

Oklahoma Teen Disappears After Taking Movie-Inspired Wilderness Trek in Oregon

By Chad Love

An Oklahoma teen who trekked into the Oregon wilderness after being inspired by the film "Into The Wild" is now missing.

From this story on abcnews.com:
The vehicle belonging to an Oklahoma teenager who disappeared last month in a remote region of southeastern Oregon after viewing the movie "Into the Wild" was found this week. Search crews are waiting out the harsh weather to continue the search for the young man. Dustin Self, 19, left his hometown of Piedmont, Okla., in mid-March for the Klamath Falls-Ashland area of Oregon, where he planned "to see if he could live in the wild," The Associated Press reported. According to the Harney County Sheriff's Office in Oregon, Self also planned to join the Church of the Holy Light of the Queen, a South American religion that uses hallucinogenic tea as a sacrament.

According to the story, Self's parents tried to dissuade him from going, but Self was determined. On March 16, Self's father called Oregon authorities after receiving a phone call from his son, who said he was lost and needed help. The area where Self disappeared is described as particularly harsh, with 15-20 foot snow drifts. The search has been hampered by storms and high winds. Self's mother described him as a vegetarian with no interest in eating animals, and that he had planned on eating berries to stay alive.

It should be noted (and hopefully without any foreshadowing) that Chris McCandless, the subject of the excellent-but-harrowing Jon Krakauer book and subsequent movie "Into the Wild", and the alleged inspiration for Self's journey, died of starvation in Alaska in 1992 after attempting basically the same thing. Thoughts?

Comments (17)

Top Rated
All Comments
from NJAngler wrote 52 weeks 4 hours ago

My thought is that this kid isn't too bright, and now important resources are going to have to be used to search and rescue him.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 52 weeks 3 hours ago

Not quite the same thing. Chris had no qualms about eating meat. Living off berries in the spring? He didn't read that book very well! Or maybe not at all. I suspect they will find him holed up somewhere in front of a TV enjoying all the media coverage. We have seen this before.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Trapper Vic wrote 52 weeks 2 hours ago

Can't cure dum bass!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 52 weeks 2 hours ago

Does anyone else see the irony of a vegetarian being eaten by wild animals?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 52 weeks 1 hour ago

Darwinism.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 52 weeks 10 min ago

Stupid.... and sad for his mother and father. How helpless they must feel.

But mostly just stupid.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

Id venture to say there really aren't that many people who have the common sense to do such a journey that don't at the very least understand what a northern winter can feel like. Once again being a vegetarin is good in theory for people living near a grocery store but not practical in real life. Especially in this case you need large amounts of protein to survive a week exposed to the elements that oregon has been having this year. Adventure is great but you should probably read more than a few books and spend some more limited time in the harsh environments...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bioguy01 wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

This is the exact reason why outdoor education is needed at schools. Kids crave the wilderness, but know absolutely nothing about it. They don't know what plants are good to eat...they think all meat comes from the grocery store...they are not aware of the dangers that being alone in the wilderness entails. Instead, society has decided to shield children from nature, which in my opinion, is one of the biggest mistakes anybody can make. We should be doing what we can to prepare our children for a worst case scenario, because we have no idea what the future may have in store for them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from allegnmtn wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

McCandless was the poster child for how to do wilderness wrong...a book's worth of mistakes. This kid barely deserves this blog. He was doomed from the day he thought this up. Native Americans called early spring "the starving time" for good reason but I'm guessing he'll see "the freezing time" before that. I'd like to hope he comes out but...

I hope the people searching for him stay safe...thoughts and prayers for you.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jacobmcdougall wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

I don't want to sink to the depths of others and insult this kid's intelligence. Though stupid, moron, and idiot would all be fitting,i refuse to do such a thing. Stories such as this serve a dual purpose to us outdoorsmen. It fish reminds us that patch of Wilderness, no matter how domestic or remote is no place for the fool hardy. Secondly, it should make us a little more serious about our crafts. Treating every cast, every shot, every fire starting, whether is in the back yard or in the field as the one that makes or breaks us. Not that we can't relax and enjoy it but to remain conscious of our actions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Leslie Hawkinson wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

Blue Ox said it correctly, or if you're religious, it is God's way of weeding out the feeble. I went out for two weeks while stationed in Alaska, but I had a Chevy Blazer, tent, sleeping bag, cooler (full of food), drinking water, boat w/trailer and a Ruger 44 along to ensure my safe return.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pathfinder1 wrote 51 weeks 5 days ago

Hi...

Based only on the "information" given, I would categorize him as a fruitcake at worst, and extremely ignorant at best.

If he's not hiding out somewhere in comfort, I hope that he's found alive somehow.

I wish him, the searchers and his family the very best.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nathan.wyatt23 wrote 51 weeks 4 days ago

I second the above Darwinism comment

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kansasjeff wrote 51 weeks 4 days ago

TO paraphrase one Alaskan official "to go into the wilderness without any basic gear or even a map was insane in my opinion Chris Mcandies committed suicide." I hope the do find this young man alive. and then bill him for the costs associated with his rescue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattM37 wrote 51 weeks 3 days ago

Even Jeremiah Johnson had a pretty rough time of it, before he met up with Bear Claw Lapp and learned a few things.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scout79 wrote 51 weeks 1 day ago

"Vegetarian" humans are NOT natural and are particularly not adapted in any way to "live in the wild." Vegetarian humans are domesticated. They do OK where their needs are met by Whole Foods or Trader Joe's but in an actual survival situation they will be doomed, unless they are willing to start consuming animal protein. If they have been vegetarian for a long time, this will pose a system-shocking problem as you can imagine.
There's a reason why the robust Austalopithecines went extinct and the gracile gave rise to bigger, better things.
I read the book and anyone with the cranial capacity of Lucy could understand how foolish that kid was. The dramatic picture of him sitting atop the bus....that's the bus where they found his horrifically emaciated body...where the fluids from his body stained the mattress. That's where he died. His death was brought about by a combination of bravado, inexperience, overconfidence and a grossly distorted and romanticized view of "how things should be."
Any desire to emulate that is plain idiocy and stupidity is a killer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OldPhart wrote 49 weeks 1 day ago

Let me see if I understand why this article is being published by Field & Stream . . . the magazine has decided to switch from publishing stories about outdoor sports to publishing articles about idiots who drink drug laced tea of interest to Pelosi's constituents when they get tired of grousing because they can't marry their goat!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 52 weeks 2 hours ago

Does anyone else see the irony of a vegetarian being eaten by wild animals?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 52 weeks 1 hour ago

Darwinism.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 52 weeks 3 hours ago

Not quite the same thing. Chris had no qualms about eating meat. Living off berries in the spring? He didn't read that book very well! Or maybe not at all. I suspect they will find him holed up somewhere in front of a TV enjoying all the media coverage. We have seen this before.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 52 weeks 10 min ago

Stupid.... and sad for his mother and father. How helpless they must feel.

But mostly just stupid.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bioguy01 wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

This is the exact reason why outdoor education is needed at schools. Kids crave the wilderness, but know absolutely nothing about it. They don't know what plants are good to eat...they think all meat comes from the grocery store...they are not aware of the dangers that being alone in the wilderness entails. Instead, society has decided to shield children from nature, which in my opinion, is one of the biggest mistakes anybody can make. We should be doing what we can to prepare our children for a worst case scenario, because we have no idea what the future may have in store for them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NJAngler wrote 52 weeks 4 hours ago

My thought is that this kid isn't too bright, and now important resources are going to have to be used to search and rescue him.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Trapper Vic wrote 52 weeks 2 hours ago

Can't cure dum bass!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

Id venture to say there really aren't that many people who have the common sense to do such a journey that don't at the very least understand what a northern winter can feel like. Once again being a vegetarin is good in theory for people living near a grocery store but not practical in real life. Especially in this case you need large amounts of protein to survive a week exposed to the elements that oregon has been having this year. Adventure is great but you should probably read more than a few books and spend some more limited time in the harsh environments...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattM37 wrote 51 weeks 3 days ago

Even Jeremiah Johnson had a pretty rough time of it, before he met up with Bear Claw Lapp and learned a few things.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from allegnmtn wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

McCandless was the poster child for how to do wilderness wrong...a book's worth of mistakes. This kid barely deserves this blog. He was doomed from the day he thought this up. Native Americans called early spring "the starving time" for good reason but I'm guessing he'll see "the freezing time" before that. I'd like to hope he comes out but...

I hope the people searching for him stay safe...thoughts and prayers for you.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jacobmcdougall wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

I don't want to sink to the depths of others and insult this kid's intelligence. Though stupid, moron, and idiot would all be fitting,i refuse to do such a thing. Stories such as this serve a dual purpose to us outdoorsmen. It fish reminds us that patch of Wilderness, no matter how domestic or remote is no place for the fool hardy. Secondly, it should make us a little more serious about our crafts. Treating every cast, every shot, every fire starting, whether is in the back yard or in the field as the one that makes or breaks us. Not that we can't relax and enjoy it but to remain conscious of our actions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Leslie Hawkinson wrote 51 weeks 6 days ago

Blue Ox said it correctly, or if you're religious, it is God's way of weeding out the feeble. I went out for two weeks while stationed in Alaska, but I had a Chevy Blazer, tent, sleeping bag, cooler (full of food), drinking water, boat w/trailer and a Ruger 44 along to ensure my safe return.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pathfinder1 wrote 51 weeks 5 days ago

Hi...

Based only on the "information" given, I would categorize him as a fruitcake at worst, and extremely ignorant at best.

If he's not hiding out somewhere in comfort, I hope that he's found alive somehow.

I wish him, the searchers and his family the very best.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nathan.wyatt23 wrote 51 weeks 4 days ago

I second the above Darwinism comment

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kansasjeff wrote 51 weeks 4 days ago

TO paraphrase one Alaskan official "to go into the wilderness without any basic gear or even a map was insane in my opinion Chris Mcandies committed suicide." I hope the do find this young man alive. and then bill him for the costs associated with his rescue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scout79 wrote 51 weeks 1 day ago

"Vegetarian" humans are NOT natural and are particularly not adapted in any way to "live in the wild." Vegetarian humans are domesticated. They do OK where their needs are met by Whole Foods or Trader Joe's but in an actual survival situation they will be doomed, unless they are willing to start consuming animal protein. If they have been vegetarian for a long time, this will pose a system-shocking problem as you can imagine.
There's a reason why the robust Austalopithecines went extinct and the gracile gave rise to bigger, better things.
I read the book and anyone with the cranial capacity of Lucy could understand how foolish that kid was. The dramatic picture of him sitting atop the bus....that's the bus where they found his horrifically emaciated body...where the fluids from his body stained the mattress. That's where he died. His death was brought about by a combination of bravado, inexperience, overconfidence and a grossly distorted and romanticized view of "how things should be."
Any desire to emulate that is plain idiocy and stupidity is a killer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OldPhart wrote 49 weeks 1 day ago

Let me see if I understand why this article is being published by Field & Stream . . . the magazine has decided to switch from publishing stories about outdoor sports to publishing articles about idiots who drink drug laced tea of interest to Pelosi's constituents when they get tired of grousing because they can't marry their goat!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment