The Early Years         

Chris McCandless growing up


Walt and Bille McCandless have sent me some pictures and information that they would like to share. This is not the entire collection of course, there will be many more in thew new book coming out soon...


We were dedicated to making sure there were frequent and seamless interactions with Walt’s children from his first marriage and our children. So Sam, Stacy, Shawn, Shelly, Shannon, Quinn, Chris and Carine were together in some permutation, every summer and on other special occasions.

These photographs show some of the locales and special times that they shared. Camping and hiking were affordable and healthy activities for such a large family. On special occasions the family went to popular places such as Williamsburg, Amusement Parks and Disneyland. Vacations with the family included renting a cottage at the beach, camping and skiing in the mountains and going to various National Parks - including Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah and Mesa Verde. Special occasions included being together in the summer of 1978, living near the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California while Walt made the final preparations for the launch of Seasat-1, NASA’s first oceanographic satellite, at nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

All of this was driven by a desire to make sure that all felt as one and that hopefully they would continue that fellowship through the rest of their lives.

Walt and Billie McCandless

Chris's first backpacking experience. Climbing the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with McCandless friend Don Montgomery in 1976. Another friend, Al Robinson took the picture. Chris carried his own pack. Chris and Walt did this climb every year until he was 16.

Vacation in 1977 on the Atlantic Ocean at Rehobeth Beach, Delaware. Left to right are Shannon, Chris, Shelly, Quinn, Walt, Carine, and Billie.

A family vacation week in 1979 with just the guys and Dad. Our goal was to drive over and camp on the primitive, summer only, roads over mountain passes in Colorado. This road is now closed. Moffat was the early 1900's pass that the railroad went over. My paternal grandfather and his brother were day laborers on this project.. There is the remains of a 2 mile long snow shed at the summit. Left to Right in the picture is Chris's oldest brother, son Sam then Chris, family dog Buckley, and brothers Quinn and Shannon.

Christopher McCandless early years

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