A few podcasts to listen to..

Focus on my time on Alone:

https://www.samexplores.com/podcast-1/2019/10/16/how-to-thrive-in-the-arctic-with-jordan-jonas-episode-5

Focus on my family's history:

https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-rd7pw-c3547a

Focus on my personal history:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/436141/1450051

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Resilience

Resilience is key and can be unpacked almost indefinitely. What makes a person tough, resilient? Certainly experience - having a guiding ethos beyond "the pursuit of happiness/comfort" will take a person on a journey that leads down unforseen paths. Witnessing resilience in its deepest form can also foster it in oneself. Whether that be by watching a loved one (my father) lose his legs, his ability to use his arms, and endure excruciating pain all while managing to maintain a joyful soul and a loving countenance. Or by hearing and drinking in the deep suffering our grandparents went through in a genocide - while still managing to come through as loving, happy people who raised a large beautiful family. Wisdom also can be gained through an openness to learning from figures of the past, in my case the chapter “Ascent” from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago impacted me in a way that has been with me since. When suffering is encountered and come to terms with in a way that leaves the soul intact, a person can then face it in a manner that maintains a deep peace. This peace, far from the bliss of naivety, can hold space in a person’s soul for a deep joy that is necessary to move in a positive direction through the most difficult situations. A positive attitude nurtured from the deep. This allows for one to be alone with their thoughts for an extended time and not be ravaged by them.

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Adaptability

Adaptability...The nature of the Alone show is particularly unpredictable. You have countless ideas of what you are going to do; however, you are then dropped into an unfamiliar environment that blows up plans A-Z. Plans can be made, but to thrive they must be held loosely and adaptations made on the fly.

Were you going to put out set lines for fishing? Too windy and shallow. Where you going to collect berries and hunt grouse? A forest fire destroyed the berries and grouse habitat. Where you going to attempt to bait a bear? No signs of them before hibernation. Where you going to hunt at night? The driving nightly wind blows right through your clothing. Etc etc.. Developing new strategies and releasing those that are no longer relevant is key to flourishing, as hanging on too long to those preconceived ideas can be crippling.

Be free to adapt and flow with the situation.

One good example was fishing. I figured fishing both active and passive would be key. Unfortunately, early on I met with only failure. I adjusted my strategy to rabbits and land game, both of which required adaptations of their own. However, as the situation progressed and those goals played out or where achieved I revisited fishing, adjusting my locations and techniques, applying trial and error, and finally after many long days figured it out...catching in the end 13 (some very large fish) using nets, set lines, and a rod.

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Ingenuity

Ingenuity is practical creativity and is one of three core traits necessary to survive. Art, being also a creative expression is closely related. Our ancestors refined their creative abilities as they devised ingenious ways to survive and thrive, and often expressed those in art.

How to build a shelter that is warm and smoke free, how to outthink and successfully harvest game, or how to confront the ravaging predator - these are just some of the conundrums that tested my/our ingenuity from time immemorial. My creative juices flow most freely when I am in a simple hunter-gathering setting, and Alone was no different. Perhaps in this most basic sense I can consider myself creative and those solutions - my expressions of art? In those moments I may be able to relate to an ancient ancestor and his art...

That said, his relief beat mine 😂

Alone Season 6, Ep 11 Photo Recap

My portion of the the Finale started with a realization that I had left the ladder up the night before. Never one to miss an opportunity, the wolverine struck and scattered all my fish and food. They aren’t huge animals, and they dont eat a ton - but what they do go for is the good stuff…fish bellies, skin, fat. I had a lot of success fishing in mid-late October before the freeze up (having struck out in September). But upon revisiting fishing post-moose and using the meat as bait, I started to catch a bunch. Some of the most fun fishing I have ever done. All in all I caught 11 fish on my pole and 13 in total: 1 greyling, 11 trout, and one northern pike.. Some of them were large - up to 25 lbs - and therefore I wasn’t eating them all but trying to store up for the future months when I knew it would be nearly impossible to fish through thick ice. These are the fish the wolverine pillaged.

After from some delicious R&D for the chocolate industry, my next segment was the highlight of the month for me up to this point. I was trying my hardest to build more and more food reserves, determined to take advantage of what was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and figured if I could get through January I could win - noone would likely last through the extreme cold, dark, and barren month. But that was proving hard, especially with the occasional backwards step of losing food to a wolverine. There were points at which the stress of realizing February was out of reach really nagged at me - and when I accessed my food and fat reserved I would lament the fact that I just didn’t have enough to get there. Being naturally thin I felt pressure not just to produce, but to produce MORE than anyone else to stay even. Not knowing what degree of sustainability others were finding I assumed they were killing it. Honestly, I did not even consider the show to have “started” yet - not even allowing myself to entertain the thought that I was doing well until day 90. However, when I caught the fish - completely oblivious to the fact that I had already won - I finally allowed myself to have the joy of recognizing: “you know what? Im doing pretty well out here!!” No longer would I convince myself that nothing was enough, and assume the worst - I was finally free to now just enjoy the fact that I had 60lbs of fish on had, 200 lbs of moose left, a handful of smoked rabbits, a squirrel, a wolverine, and several cans of rendered fat. Its not that I wasn’t enjoying it before, just that I wasn’t allowing myself to think I was doing well. If I had the thought “Ive been here 70 days” I would immediately counter with “Pshhh - two months? Whats two months?? Big deal, in that short bit of time nothing has even changed back home”.

Perhaps spending years in Russia away from loved ones gave some perspective to the time period I had been gone for…two months is still not a year, and after a year in Russia I would return to America and still be connected to the ones I love. So no big deal…But i still didn’t want to miss Christmas in a month and dreaded the thought.

I heard the Helicopter for the med check, and though I was just a few pounds under my NORMAL weight, I had lost 30 pounds from my beginning weight. Given the fact that I had lost most of that pre-moose, was now keto, and I had since leveled out I was confident I was fine. But I didn’t know if they agreed so I was going to do everything I could to assure them - including offering to share my fish soup hahah.

As I was explaining all this, and because I was so determined to convince them of my vigor, ha, I was completely oblivious to Janahlee walking up behind me…I may of heard her, but just assumed it was a crew member. Then I turned around and…WOW!!! I couldn’t believe it! It hadn’t even occurred to me as a possibility yet - Janahlee was there! Woooowww….unbelievable. I filled her in on the last 77 day’s occurrences and was so excited to show her around a place that I knew she would love! She had spent time with me in Siberia so I knew it would be not only nostalgic, but also another big part of my life that she could now share in more tangibly than just through stories. We ran around, I showed her everything from my meat cache to my skis and big fish… it was a blast! what an amazing episode and what an ending to a wonderful 77 days!!! It was so fun to watch and relive!!

Post-Finale Thank You to All

I have so many things to say I cant fit it all in one post! So stay tuned hahah…. But let me just say thank you to everyone who has watched and reached out and had such positive things to say!   Its such a unique opportunity to share my experiences with you all, and the fact that you appreciate it is very humbling!!!

Season 6 had some amazing contestants on it, great crew members, and it was an honor to have that shared experience with all of those people and you.

I may of lasted the longest, but that was only made possible by an enormous list of people whose sacrifices and quiet, unsung heroism brought me to a position to do so.

First on the list is my beautiful wife, who more than anyone, took on the day to day grind of having her husband gone for an unknown amount of time while she dealt with two toddlers and the gauntlet of issues that arose in my absence. Trusting her strength allowed me to stay worry free as long as necessary. My family, brothers, sister, mom, and many close friends and supportive community were there so I knew I could focus on the task before me without anxiety.

Also constantly with me out there was the thought of my dad, who though he passed years ago, showed me through example how to bear indescribable hardships with an air of joy and gratitude that is a lesson impossible to teach except through example. We all will face suffering on some level, but having been shown how to navigate that with steadfastness and a constantly developing character is invaluable.

And before him, my family’s history is full of the stories of those who struggled and overcame. Could I complain about discomfort when my Assyrian grandmother watched 6 of her 7 siblings die in a genocide in the desert, or when my grandfather watched his village be burned to the ground with his father trapped inside? Could I freak out at some small misfortune when those two endured so much but were not defined by it, but instead developed into joyful, life giving people? They remained focused upwards and proactively worked to make life better for their descendants…. Gifting my dad and 10 other beloved aunts and uncles a life defined by love, hope, and faith…and by doing so granting me the same gift.   

Our responsibility lies much deeper than winning, our foundations must be built on much more than strength and pride. So it is with gratitude and humility I accept all your kind words, well wishes, and praises. I am honored to have the opportunity to share with you all a bit of my experience, and glad that for some it has been, if nothing else, a fun way to vicariously experience, learn, and empathize with people in extreme situations.

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My Short Term (Under a year) Shelter Thoughts

There has been a lot of questions and discussions of shelters. Mine has not featured prominently, nor was it my focus; however, there was a lot of thought behind what I did have and how I achieved the vital features of warmth, smokelessness  … Here they are:

I decided to go for a small (easier to heat) a frame shelter with a few important features. As you can see, it was logs chinked with moss. The roof was my tarp, but reinforced more that you might think. Why? (Well for one, to hold meat while it smoked) But also so that as snow fell I could slowly bury my relatively small shelter - snow is an excellent insulator and that seemed the most calorie efficient way to go about insulating. As more snow accumulated, it would be buried (a process you could speed up by shoveling some snow on, which I did). I also made my door out of tarp, as it was very important to seal the shelter and the door is the leakiest area. I would eventually fur line the door to really make a nice seal. Thirdly, I made a collapsible hood vent.  This was very effective at catching and funneling out smoke, and importantly when the fire was low at night I could close and seal my chimney making my shelter nearly draft free with no holes open to the outside world. I also stone lined the area around my fire for safety -both the roof and the wall - and made an air tube out of cans to feed air into my fire.

The different between a SEALED tipi or simple shelter and an actually WARM cabin is countless thousands of calories and hours. And anything short of a GOOD cabin (not leaky and probably with a wood stove) will be inevitably cold...because as long as air is free to come in, it will be about the same temperature inside as out. I.E.: Four insulated warm walls + one open window, or a bad door will mean the inside temp is nearly same as outside. However, a sealed (leakproof) shelter will at keep air movement at bay which is key to allow some warmth at least while the fire is going. This required no extra hauled logs, and no extra chopping. The key factor here being this: outside of a herculean effort – any makeshift shelter built in this climate will be cold come November and beyond. It won’t “hold heat” very long once the fire is out, and the key is to stop air movement and get calories to keep your body able to produce heat.

Heating a cabin with a campfire would be difficult as even if the smoke issue is solved, and an open fire is not hot enough (without burning your shelter down) to accumulate much thermal mass...an external fireplace/chimney is very inefficient and in Arctic conditions will not be adequate.

So your choices as I saw them are to have a leaky/frigid shelter, a sealed shelter (warmth when needed and no air movement), or an elaborate cabin WITH a nice door and an indoor fireplace (which until finished will remain “cold” just like option B.

Ultimately, I decided that all the time and calories that would be spent building an elaborate shelter is time that I must be getting food…whether by fishing, hunting, or crafting (nets, poles, traps, etc). Not only would I burn calories expending the effort needed to build something more robust, but also I would lose all potential calories I could be acquiring while hunting/fishing at that same time.   I have spent multiple winter’s in tipis in weather as cold as -58…it is doable. What isn’t doable is spending even one winter without adequate food. It IS possible to live in the north, to overwinter, and to even thrive. But your priorities must be in order.   Food is my top priority.

So far this proved effective, as cold hasn’t been an issue for me, and in fact, I had more of an sweating while fishing than freezing - you may of noticed I have yet to even wear my fur parka (Aside from my boots... My feet would get cold, making me stop what I was doing to warm them regularly. Rubber boots sweat, and sweat means cold feet. I gravely missed my reindeer fur boots I have in Russia but couldn’t get mailed back in time for the show.) But with hot rocks wrapped in a shirt at the base of my bag and my down mittens over my feet, i was rarely cold at night either. (especially with the moose/sheepskin parka/rabbit vest mattress)

(These are only my personal thoughts, and not meant to be a critique of anyone else’s methods - some of which are very impressive)

Alone S6 E10: Photo Review!


The period shown in episode 10 was an interesting time! November struck and the ice/cold came with it! I had imagined the lake freezing over over the course of a couple weeks - but much to my surprise it took about two days for it to go from open water to frozen completely. That was a big surprise and a wake up call to get my net finished!
I thought about bringing a net as an item, but I decided I would be better off taking paracord with which I could fashion not only a net, but also traps, trip wires, fishing lines, etc...but it would cost that time to make - I thought the freeze up time would be perfect for that.
The process of making the net was tedious, and it took troubleshooting a particular knot to get one that wouldn't come untied or slip (paracord strands are strangely difficult to keep tied). In fact, I had been working on my net for two days when I realized the knots began to loosen up and I would have to come up with something else. But after a couple hours I had it down.
Its hard for me to idly sit still for long periods of time out there, so it was a nice job to pass those early November days before the Ice became thick enough to walk on. Weaving kept me busy doing something productive, but not calorie intensive. It was cold, but i would take regular breaks to warm my feet and heat rocks to put in my pockets as hand warmers while i worked. I had long stopped snaring rabbits, as I was in no need of protein (only fat), and in fact still had several on my cache. But as November progressed I began to get bothered that I was eating more food, especially fat, than I was bringing in - and cringed at the idea of my supplies dwindling. I badly wanted to get out on the ice ASAP and catch some fish.
I had made the snow skis in the first week I was there so they would have time to dry (lighten up) before deep snow. That time had not come yet, but they worked great for going out on questionable ice. I did so as soon as possible and got my net under the ice. I actually made the mistake of floating it, and almost lost my net as the next day it was frozen into the rapidly thickening ice (inch a day), but I chopped it out, removed the floats, and sunk in back in.
I, almost jokingly, said a prayer - "Lord, let me catch a fish in this net, it would be one of the great joys left out here for me to achieve!" (after all that work, no other game animals aside from absent musk ox available to hunt, it was my big hope for the future). And when I found a fish in there I was overjoyed! It changed my perspective from one of "Ahh I’m eating more than I am catching" to "Man, you know what? I got something going here!”
Amazing what a perspective shift can do for you, and with the positive boost i began having fun again!

Moose Processing Time Lapse in Siberia

he Evenki live in one of the most remote places on Earth, with people who are as deeply connected to and dependant on the natural world as any.

It's quite surreal spending days riding reindeer through vast, untouched norther forests...Here, after shooting a moose while out hunting, Andrei made his day long trip back to camp to gather help (Alik and myself), round up a dozen or so reindeer, and we journey back to the site of the kill on reindeer-back. Crossing rivers and swamps, weaving our way through the taiga, we eventually came upon the young moose (a feat of navigation in an of itself) he had killed. We processed it, loaded the meat onto the reindeer and journeyed back. Perhaps we were the only people to have been to that spot, and perhaps noone will return there.

Here is the time lapse of the process.

Alone S6 E8: A few words on Fishing

A few words on fishing in my area (shown on ep 8):

Just to own up to the embarrassment right away, hahah, I absolutely knew I should of made a 
dip net immediately....but as it goes, on day one I just figured I'd try fishing...then that bled into 
day two, three, four....basically I fished for many days early on without even a bite or fish sighting 
while also losing hooks on the ever shallow shoreline surrounding my base - so I began to focus more on land game...Hunting/trapping took me all over and from the mountains the deep points were more visible. I hit the fishing again after I had the moose knowing I should make a net, but wanting even more to find an actual fishing spot that wasn’t shallow. So I finally caught one, andwas of course bummed it got off .. but if you look close I was smiling too, because I knew how dumb it was of me to ignore my better judgment and go w/o a net... Ha...but I was also happy just to of finally found a spot where fish were! I did lose my last J hook, which are Superior to circle hooks when on a lure and every hook counts.. thus the face...

My rod worked great. It was a long pole with wire eyelets and a cross stick and a wire spool as a 
reel. With a heavy rock on the end of my line I could cast as far as I wanted (40+ yards), usually the amount 
of line I put on my reel was the only thing holding it back as, occasionally, while the reel was 
spinning on a cast the line would snag on your finger or something and BAM! A huge tangle that 
would take a very long time to unwind. Those hiccups aside, it was incredibly effective, and 
functionally works the same way as many of the old Soviet reels I used before in Russia. 
Most of the fishing to be done lies ahead, as due to my poor success in the beginning I turned to 
the more productive mammal business until after I had some security.

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Alone S6 E7: Night Raider details: Wolverine!

After I got the moose the next few days were full of smoking, cutting strips, drying, hanging, etc...to be honest, though I have heard much about the notorious wolverine, I never encountered one even in my years in Siberia. For that reason, in my planning they were not in the forefront of my mind. Most of my preparations were to prevent wolves, foxes, mice, and bears from causing a major problem.

For that reason, I did not immediately build a cache and that came back to bite me. The first night I was unexpectedly visited by the predator was when he did the most damage. As stated in the show I had found a plastic gallon jug and packed it with pure kidney fat. I set it on my shelf that night out of the reach of the usual critters and planned to render it. The next morning I came out and to my surprise it looked like a stampede of wolverines came through camp. Seening fresh wolf tracks was a normal part of my mornings by now and not particularly concerning, but this was new! Somehow I hadn't woke up during the commotion and It slowly dawned on me that my jug was missing. It was a nauseating feeling to know what was stolen, (especially after eating a small portion of the delicious the cracklins and fat I made prior and knowing how good it was, ha). Of course, being the thinnest guy there, and assuming someone else may also get game or find sustainability, it felt like tens of thousands of calories could be a difference maker. My next steps were to set warning systems around camp so I wouldn’t sleep through another attack. I covered my meat with branches and set cans on the branches so they would clang when they fell, I set trip lines, etc etc… Almost every night a can would clank and I would run out and make noise to try and scare the intruder off. Finally, one night (on the show) I exited my tent only to find the wolverine within ten yards of me – his eyes glowing behind a bush! I readied my bow and waited – he would have to leave the cover of the bush at some point…strangely enough, after a long wait he vanished… I never saw him leave the bush, but he was gone… Our chess match would continue.

The following day I was scraping the moose hide when I heard a rustle in the bushes – I turned to see the wolverine scurrying along the ground heading towards my meat supply. I couldn’t believe it! I thought they were nocturnal – not only that but here he was in broad daylight running by to swipe some meat right in front of me as I was making noise and talking to the camera! I ran over, grabbed my bow but he scurried away. I knew at that point we were going to have a confrontation – and soon! He knew where the food was and wasn’t afraid of me. As he had been by every night for the last several, I knew he would be back. I adjusted all my early warning systems and waited. Sure enough, just at dusk, the familiar clank. I grabbed my camera, left the shelter and looked in the direction of his well-trodden path. As soon as he trotted into range, always moving at a slow running pace, I took the shot – he was behind a bush, but I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as I did last night and wait for the perfect shot.

The arrow slashed through the bush, through his leg and into the frozen ground behind him! Because it was wedged on both sides and he couldn’t immediately get free and spun and twisted, that’s when I saw he was pinned and didn’t think twice - this was my chance! I turned and grabbed my nearby axe and ran to him – he was chewing at his leg and spun around snarling to meet me, but I swung fast, and my first strike hit him in the gut, my second in the neck, and third and fourth ones followed as fast as I could swing. It was over before I had a chance to think.

It was quite surreal, and I felt like I froze for several long moments as I processed what just happened – but in watching the show I see hardly any time passed at all! I cheered, more in relief than anything. Was it really over? Was this the only one? (we were allowed to take only one)… Could it be that I would now have the feeling of being constantly under assault lifted? Did I really just kill a wolverine with an axe? Can I sleep now? These were a few of the thoughts rushing through my head in those moments after the kill.

Not knowing the answer to any of these questions I decided to build a cache. I have built several in Siberia, and in fact, it was one of the first things the Evenki had me help them with – they were so pleased with the results that I was recruited to build one almost every time I visited hahah.. Finding a spot for one is more difficult than you might think, and the trees I did find were the only suitable spot in my area. I felled the surrounding trees (all except one – so that you can lean your ladder against it - good energy saving idea), built scaffolding, fell the four poles about 12 feet high, and added the beam floor. After skinning the logs to make climbing more difficult, I built a ladder. I was proud of my ladder design as it was dove tailed on one side to make the rungs strong and twist proof, but just notched and tied on the other to make the ladder quick to build. Proved to be an excellent, nail free design.

During this period I kept fishing, ate religiously, improved my shelter, and made more things to benefit my survival...

And so we move forward….

The depressed look when 35000 calories get stolen.

The depressed look when 35000 calories get stolen.

There he is…

There he is…

Some meat and skis

Some meat and skis

Cutting tree (wedged branch applying pressure to fall the tree the right way)

Cutting tree (wedged branch applying pressure to fall the tree the right way)

Project complete in a day

Project complete in a day

Dovetail ladder

Dovetail ladder

Yikes!

Yikes!

Alone Season 6 Episode 5: The Kill details

With all thats at stake, the day shown on episode 5 of Alone was one of the most intense I have had. Here is the detailed description of what went down.

After last week's miss I built the reindeer fence. Early warning systems adjusted to have lighter breakpoints (to avoid startling the moose like the last one) had been placed around to give me a heads up. While checking my traps I heard a commotion in the area (my face in this moment was captured in episode 4 ). I quickly snuck over to my bush located at the mouth of the fence. After a short wait the young bull appeared quartering towards me and moving along the fence. I may of been able to wait and get a full broadside shot, but he was within 20 yards and often waiting means you will get no shot, so I took my shot! It felt like a great shot and as it struck him he spun around in a circle not immediately running away and not knowing what happened. I stared in awe at him for a second then thought "what an idiot shoot another arrow!". Just as I tried he trotted off, my second arrow sailed into the Moss.

But the shot felt good! I wish it had been a few inches to the left which would of guaranteed a double lung hit, but I had been encouraged by a moose cough and a bubbly splatter of blood. The next hour felt like an eternity, but from prior experience I know it's best to wait an hour or so before beginning your search.

I found a good trail of blood but it slowly dried up....and soon I could find no tracks or blood. Knowing I hit him in the lung, and that running uphill would be the last thing he would want to do I followed the shoreline. All the thoughts of "oh man, did it get away?" Swarming around in my head. Then I spotted some brown - and saw him move! I couldn't believe it, I was so excited to see him lying up there, but that was just the beginning. I immediately I ducked down behind a log. You want the animal to be calm, to not know what happened, and to slowly bleed out without fear and adrenaline. O felt bad for him, but if he were to see me he would of gotten an energy burst and could well of ran off or charged. I really couldn't risk it. I wanted so badly to finish it off, but the risk of me losing the animal completely and leaving it die in vain was too great. Finally (on video) it stood up, I gasped, he fell over, and died. I walked up to it and confirmed it. That was pure joy.

So intense.

The skinning and hauling never felt like too much of a burden...problems I was more than happy to take on! Of course it's exhausting, and that is why, in a short lapse in judgement, I got careless with my blade reaching in there. I was foolishly trying to avoid rolling him into his back again to open up his chest cavity (which I ended up doing anyway).

I then had it back at camp where I hung the main quarters in my shelter to smoke as I sat there and cut other strips off the neck and such to smoke in small pieces also (get as much smoke on as much meat as possible to get it to freezing temps). Other parts I hung up in trees to keep away from predators, though not high enough to keep out of the reach of bears. I figured if one came he would go for that lower hanging meat before he went for the smoky human scented shelter meat, and that I may even get a chance at him! But all that is for the future, we'll see how it goes down.

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Skinned with a Leatherman only! (1st for humanity?).

Skinned with a Leatherman only! (1st for humanity?).

Alone Season 6 Episode 4: Details!

Lots of people wish they saw more of the technical side out there so I figured I'd give a more detailed explanation of what happened in episode 4. Rabbits were still coming and I was putting out many many snares and covering much ground (several shots of me in my shelter show squirrel hides and rabbits hanging in the back for the keen eye), but the lack of fat made getting other food imperative. As shown, some nights before I heard a moose nearby but was unable to quietly get out of my bag. I didn't want to scare it and blow up my spot, so I stayed quietly in my bag, knowing I was more likely to get another chance if I remained unnoticed.

I spent time picking berries and blowing my moose call, and it proved quite effective - the moose in this episode showed up the night/morning after I had called them.

To increase the likelyhood I would hear the next moose before it was so close that I couldn't get out of my bag, I put the can-trip wires up. I tried to place it across the path in such a way that it wouldn't clank too much across rocks and scare the moose into running away.

The setup worked as well as I could of hoped! One morning I heard the clank and a bull moose huffing and puffing - I jumped out of bed (in my long johns ha), grabbed my bow and an arrow in one hand and my camera in he other (as opposed to my quiver of arrows - turned out to be a major faux paux, but in the rush that's what happened).... I snuck barefoot over the rocks and couldnt believe my eyes! The largest moose I've ever seen alive was standing right out in the middle of the mud flat that connected my island to the mainland (I had moved there on day 1 to make less of a noticable impact on the mainland, as the island was not my initial drop off location).

It walked through the cans, got startled, ran out towards my island, and turned around - back to me - to face the cans.... I snuck out and had what looked to be a perfect opportunity!

Only one problem - he was huge, and he was standing in a mud flat with no trees or anything around to help me gauge distance. I could only sneak to the edge of the bare ground and had to take my shot. I estimated he was 30 yards away, but due to his size and lack of anything to go by I was way off...he was 40+ . My arrow dropped between his legs...he looked around and I realized I had only grabbed one arrow. He then trotted off (that is when I got the video of him shown in the episode).

I was disappointed, but also felt so excited to have seen what was such an awesome animal! I felt like I had seen a dinosaur...just huge. The disappointment was actually more than neutralized by my awe.

I tracked the moose and observed most the moose traffic was between two rocks forming about a 300 yard channel. That is where I built the "funneling" reindeer style fence. When you take on an active survival strategy, you have to keep working to create opportunities, not every one will go your way!

LESSONS LEARNED

Among the litany of foolish things I have done in life, digging this well in sandy soil in my early 20's is right up there. It was miraculous the walls didn't cave in. -

Also, while I was hunched over digging, my friend accidentally dropped a full bucket of wet sand he was lifting out. Somehow it whizzed right past my head, ripping my watch off my arm before burying itself into the ground with a thud. You can see how little space there was, and how bizarre it is that the bucket missed crippling or killing me. -

Live and learn. I had to learn to sacrifice a bit of speed/productivity for saftey, which was a lesson learned through years of trial and error. 
In one week I put my life's varied lessons into practice once again on #AloneonHistory

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NEWS AND ADVANCE ARTICLE

https://www.newsadvance.com/entertainment/features/lynchburg-man-to-appear-on-history-s-alone/article_a22f3b26-8700-11e9-8f8d-43f79caabf0b.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR2bIwVkb-VDvhCnFflh4fSNk64fZ7rCJ4kLBIuL3A2Unuu81x4BZ_sv5q4

TEN CONTESTANTS

The 10 participants in this season of Alone. It was a pleasure to meet each of them as we all have a unique story and set of skills that we will get to share with the world. It takes courage just to put yourself out there and we have a lot we can all learn from one another. I am excited to see how their experiences unfold! I only wish the show was longer so I could see more...

Watch us put our skills, ingenuity, and resilience to the test on television's premier survival challenge @HISTORY, June 6 at 10/9c

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