Before I left for my Yukon trip, I’d been following Ed Wardle’s considerably more dangerous Yukon adventure “Alone In The Wild” on Twitter. Ed received training in wilderness survival, medical emergencies, and firearms handling, then he was dropped into the Yukon wilderness with a load of supplies to carry on his back and expected to survive on his own for three months. He had a video camera that he used to film his daily dispatches from the wild, and these dispatches were collected and edited to make a reality TV show on the National Geographic Channel. He ended up lasting 50 days instead of the expected 90, and had to be emergency airlifted out of there. You can watch some of his videos here, and you can see him get progressively thinner as the weeks go by and he had to collect, catch or shoot his own food to survive.
I didn’t realized until I returned that my trip covered some of the same general area as Wardle’s, but my experience could hardly have been more different. Instead of shivering in a tent, I lived in a series of rather luxurious heated cabins. Instead of carrying all my gear on my back, I simply zipped my suitcase and it was magically transported by boat, car or floatplane to my next destination. And instead of having to shoot my own food, I got to enjoy delicious cuisine expertly prepared and served in a rustic (but warm) dining room. But even in my comfortable surroundings, I was reminded of how dangerous the Yukon really is. We learned a hunter had died of hypothermia the day before we arrived at one of our cabins, and our guides had to carry guns to be ready for charging bears. Wardle may not have survived the full 90 days, but frankly, I’m impressed he made it as long as he did.
- Nat Geo Expeditions