On last night’s episode of “Life Below Zero,” those who live near the Arctic Circle experience different lifestyles, but nonetheless, they all love their lifestyles and are happy in this extreme environment.
This episode titled “The Bottom Line” begins as Sue Aikens, who lives in Kavik, Alaska, 197 miles north of the Arctic Circle looks over her Kavik River Camp. She is expecting several people tomorrow and has no idea if she can supply them with electricity because her generator has not been running for the four months she was away recovering from surgery. She went up to check the area for predators and spotted a bear about a mile away. Fortunately, the wind was blowing in a different direction, so it would not smell anything in her camp. She tried a few times to start the generator, and it finally started up.
In Kiwalik, 37 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Chip and Agnes Hailstone and their five daughters love to hunt and fish and become nomadic and set up their camp wherever the animals are. They will spend the summer in Kiwalik, harvesting the resources available to them, in order to survive the harsh winter. Chip chops firewood for warmth but also needs to make a meat rack to hang meat so it dries out and remains safe to eat for winter.
In Nenana, 138 miles from the Arctic Circle, Jesse Holmes is lucky to live the way he does, but he must sharpen his chainsaw and prepare to build a smokehouse for the fish he will catch to feed his forty dogs. He loves working for himself without someone telling him what to do. He knows what must be done and does it. He goes downriver to find good posts for his smokehouse. He must be extremely careful in the Nenana River. He found some good wood to take back to camp.
In Chandalar, 65 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Glenn Villeneuve knows that a man who lived nearby was not returning to his cabin again. He is going there to see if there is anything he can salvage and bring back to use. It may be difficult to find the cabin, but no map or trail exists, so he uses what he remembers to find it. When he comes upon a river, he is sure he is in the area and soon finds the cache the trapper left behind. He found an axe in a tree, traps, and a piece of aluminum used to print a newspaper dated July 24, 1982. Now that he knows where the cache is, he should be able to find the cabin.
The Hailstone women are skinning and butchering the caribou while Chip makes a meat rack for the caribou meat and any other fish or meat they acquire.
Jesse is carefully loading the logs in his boat. He must make sure he does not puncture this older boat. As he finds a good place to build the fish rack, he knows he must also clear the brush away so he does not fall over it.
Glenn found the cabin and although it was falling down, he found a few things he was able to salvage. He found several boxes of ammunition that was the size he uses. Back in the day it was $12.80 a box, and now he pays about $40 for the same size box. Three decades of chopped firewood that will not go to waste and several tools and a file to sharpen them, are a welcome find.
The Hailstones are taking a boat ride downriver and spot several birds that are nesting. From that stop, they collected a number of eggs that should hold them for a while until they head back to Noorvik.
Jesse’s smokehouse if looking good, but he has one heavy piece to bring up high. On the first attempt, he dropped it, but the next one was good. Doing a two-man job is not easy for one man.
Back in Kavik, Sue is readying the place for 33 visitors. It cost her $300,000 by being laid up from her accident and hopes she heals further, or it could be the end of Kavik for her. She hears the plane coming and alerts the pilot that the runway has not been done, so to be careful. It is her friend Dirk, who is in need of fuel, Sue’s first sale since she returned.
The Hailstones feasted on hard-boiled eggs for their dinner and dried caribou. Jesse brings some of his dogs to the boat and gets them ready to be trained. They love the exercise and good food they get on this episode of “Life Below Zero.”