A sunset dipped in rust. A solitary peregrine falcon in the dimming sky. The bird’s outstretched wingspan mimics that of the man below, his arms raised to the ending day. In his Stampede Trail poster for Nautilus Art Prints, UK-based illustrator Paul Blow captures the triumph of traversing the almost nineteen mile hike through Alaska’s rough terrain that ends at the site of the Fairbanks City Transit System Bus 142, better known as the legendary Magic Bus.
Blow’s Stampede Trail illustration is part of Nautilus Art Print’s series of travel-like posters based on some of cinema’s most note-worthy locations. The Stampede Trail gained notoriety after author Jon Krakauer’s article Death of an Innocent and subsequent book Into the Wild told the story of young nomadic adventurer Christopher McCandless‘s hike across the Alaskan wilderness that ended at the Magic Bus, where the body of McCandless was found, dead from either starvation or poisoned after eating toxic seeds foraged from the land.
Blow’s illustration shows the joy found at the end of the trail — the release of societal living and expectations coupled with the thrill of attaining a completely nomadic and off the grid existence. There is a palpable sense of relief and serenity in the piece. Within the colors and twin solitude of man and bird, lays the dangers native to the Alaskan wilderness. Blow’s poster focuses on the solitude and remoteness of that lone bus and the true magic it takes to reach it, the magic that has inspired many to follow McCandless’s path, and with many of the adventurers meeting the same fate as the figure who’s journey they aspired to emulate.