Place: Fairfax County, Virginia, U.S.
Details: McCandless graduated from W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1986. He excelled academically, although a number of teachers and fellow students observed that he "marched to the beat of a different drummer." McCandless also served as captain of the cross-country team, where he would urge teammates to treat running as a spiritual exercise in which they were "running against the forces of darkness ... all the evil in the world, all the hatred."