On tonight’s sneak peek episode of “Life Below Zero,” gives a glimpse into life for those who live near the Arctic Circle. The new season begins next week, and this episode prepares fans for what they can expect. They must hunt and fish for survival, chop wood to stay warm, and when emergencies occur, either they take care of themselves or travel miles to the nearest medical facility to be treated. This episode is titled “Land of Extremes.” Most of the featured Alaskans live miles from civilization; without the necessary means to eat and keep warm, and they will not survive again unless they are well prepared.
Sue Aikens lives in Kavik, Alaska, 197 miles north of the Arctic Circle and runs the Kavik River Camp that serves as a fueling station for bush pilots passing through the unforgiving landscape. Sue constantly battles menacing winds and punishing cold to survive. She must lay lines to save herself from freezing to death during a blinding snowstorm. If she does not have a line to find her way back home, she is going to die. The camp is a weather station, refueling station and a search & rescue station. It can never shut down; she takes care of the generators and all the equipment to keep it running. The weather is telling her to get out of there; however, Sue tells it “make me!”
In Chandalar, 65 miles north of the Arctic Circle high in the Brooks Range, Glenn Villeneuve lives a subsistence lifestyle relying only on the resources from the mountain terrain that surrounds him. He must heat his cabin and collect vital drinking water to survive the ruthless cold. He hunts and gathers most of his food, while living close to the land. Fire is his main resource. He heats his cabin, water and food on a wood stove. It is thirteen below zero outside and inside his cabin. He must warm up his cabin. He uses a piece of wood and string to start the fire. He melted a pan of snow to get a drink of water before he became too dehydrated because it was his first drink of the day.
In Wiseman, Alaska, 62 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Erik Salitan and wife Martha Mae use the frozen waterways around their camp as their personal highways for hunting and trapping. But ice can have sudden detours, as they found on a spot of the river where the ice collapsed causing a huge hole that could be fatal.
In Kavik, Chip and Agnes Hailstone are teaching their five daughters to fish through holes in the ice. They use fish tails for bait and suddenly the ice shifts and scares the children. Chip is used to the sound it made, but the children are not.
Erik Salitan has gone to Kodiak Island alone to search for mountain goats. On his first shot, he gets one and must stay with it to butcher this beautiful animal. On an expedition, the Hailstones are searching for caribou. Agnes, an avid hunter lived in Alaska all her life. She skinned and butchered it and was grateful for meat to sustain her family. Glen has no snow machine, so he must travel on foot to scout for animals to sustain him. He found wolf tracks and hopes to find the wolf that made them. He enjoys being alone and not having to answer to anyone.
As things are thawing, Sue’s shack is starting to flood, and electricity and water are not a good mix. She got a pump and eliminated much of the water to keep the camp in operation. The Hailstone girls chase after a caribou that was wounded by the oldest daughter. They do not want a wounded animal to be in pain and hunted it down to kill it. They have respect for the animals that supply them with food and are grateful that they sustain them.
Erik and Martha Mae found a fox, and Martha Mae shot it. The Hailstones found a lot of trees that fell down and are bringing them back to their home by boat. The wood floats, and they tied them together and will have more natural resources to get them through the winter.
Glen is trying to catch fish in his bare feet in the freezing water. He is trying to spear the fish but without a boat, it is difficult. He finally puts out a net and fortunately, brings in a nice sized pike. Sue is going fishing in the pond near her camp and her line broke as soon as a fish was on the line. She caught a few more and can enjoy a meal that she truly missed.
Glen is hunting moose and hopes to find one. He spots one and shoots a big bull with one shot. Erik and Martha Mae are out looking for firewood. As they bring back one load, Martha Mae went in their home to start cooking, while Erik returns for the rest of the wood. On another expedition, they found a caribou and the couple always fight over the caribou tongue.
Sue went on a camping trip to go hunting and relax. She put up her tent and found the peace she was seeking in this “Land of Extremes” on this episode of “Life Below Zero.”