On last night’s episode of “Life Below Zero,” an Alaskan winter is rough for those who live near the Arctic Circle. 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 “Emergency Cache,” which is always a good thing to have, especially for the Hailstones with so many mouths to feed. Most of the featured Alaskans live miles from civilization; without the necessary means to eat and keep warm, they will not survive to see the sun rise again unless they are well prepared.
Sue Aikens is home in Kavik, Alaska, 197 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Today it is minus thirty degrees, and Sue has to clear snow during a lull in the storm. The predators are much more abundant during this time of the year, and she must clear the snow. Sue does not pay attention to the clock in such a difficult climate. There are long periods of time without sunlight and ones with no darkness, so she relies on her body to tell her when to eat and when to sleep.
In Eagle, Alaska, 122 miles south of the Arctic Circle, it is minus twenty degrees, and Andy is out with just three dogs pulling his sled to set his muskrat traps. He loves the taste of muskrat and claims it is the veal of the beaver family. In Noorvik, Alaska, nineteen miles north of the Arctic Circle, last week, they made a teepee for protection against the elements.
In Wiseman, Alaska, 62 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Erik Salitan and his wife Martha Mae are getting firewood, as their supply is running dangerously low. As they gather some wood, and head back to their cabin, Erik scales an uneven snow drift, and his lumber falls off and overturns the snow machine and decides to walk home and deal with it tomorrow.
Andy’s traps did not produce any results he was looking for. So he tried a different type of trap and hopes tomorrow’s results will be better. Chip & Agnes Hailstone are storing caches of supplies along their hunting route. They use a tripod shape for the storage and find it is easily recognized when hit by snowdrifts. Sue is now moving snow with the Bobcat to assist her in her operation. She is attempting to repair her water pipe and must climb up to do this job. A few years ago, she did the job and broke her leg in three places. This time the job was done correctly with no casualties.
Andy goes to retrieve the muskrat traps and finds the rats were pretty smart, except for three that he trapped; now he had food and skins. Erik and Martha Mae went to get the snow machine. They loaded it on the sled and left the firewood to come back for later. They will have to put the machine back in alignment to see if it works.
Chip took his daughter Tinmiaq on his next expedition to save a cache. She melted snow to make coffee as they left behind another cache and then headed back to Noorvik. Andy took the muskrats home, skinned them and made a hearty soup that gave him the protein he needed to sustain him on this episode of “Life Below Zero.”