Despite the protagonist's fate, the story inspired Dustin Self, and he began planning a monthslong camping trip in Oregon.
“He planned it for about a month,” Tammy Self said. “He had the best of everything. He planned for really cold weather. He has supplies.”
Dustin Self camped often with his family as a boy but was not an experienced outdoorsman, his mother said. He was a vegetarian and took supplies of fruit and protein bars with him when he left.
Self also hoped to visit two churches in Oregon that practice a South American religion that uses a hallucinogenic tea as a sacrament, Tammy Self said.
Self's parents didn't like the idea. Tammy Self said she was worried from the start, and the lack of communication from her son has been excruciating.
“I did everything I could to talk him out of it, but he's a man now,” she said. “He was leaving no matter what.”
She said the search for her son obviously has her worried, but she is hopeful he is merely living out the plan he spent so much time designing.
“I think he is fine,” she said. “We knew he wasn't going to be able to call. I think he just hiked off into the wilderness and is camping somewhere.”
The Associated Press
I did everything I could to talk him out of it, but he's a man now. He was leaving no matter what.”
Mother of missing Piedmont man