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As fall approaches I am reminded, as I always am at this time of the year, that a new season is arriving, and bringing with it, big changes. For myself this is a time of reflection, a time to enjoy the memories and experiences that I have been so blessed to have. One of these experiences is my participating in the filming of the Last Alaskans. As the show’s end has become public and certain, I have the opportunity to consider what it meant for me, and my life’s narrative.
Although I was very hesitant to open up part of my life to a production company, and later, the viewers, I do not have any regrets. At the time of my first shoot I was 20 years old and was used to living a secluded life. Much of my upbringing was spent on the trap line or working in a guide camp. Most of my formal education was through a homeschooling program and my parent’s countless hours of teaching. It was not until high school that I attended a public school for the first time.I am always surprised when people comment on my experiences in the bush, with bears, hunting, isolation, ect., as scary things. I found attending a high school to be far scarier than any of the above. But, I’m always thankful for the compliment. After graduating, my “college” education consisted of working as a packer, then later, as an guide for various outfitters. All this to say, my early life experiences did very little to prepare me for appearing on a reality TV show.
Over the past few years of filming I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with some incredible photographers and producers. These guys earned my respect in so many ways. When a guy from LA is willing to snowshoe to the top of the canyon, schlepping a 40 pound camera at -40, just to get a different angle on that sunset shot, you have to tip your hat off to them. It is largely thanks to the respectful manner of the crews filming that made sharing my life on TV enjoyable.
Along with the filming also came the airing of the show. As I had been assured, my life has not drastically changed from my moment on screen. It has been humbling for lack of better words to have gotten so much kind, encouraging feed back from fans of the show. I must thank all that have been so enthusiastic and supportive. I have been very fortunate to be able to share the land and life style that I love. Not many people receive such public accolades for pursuing their passion, and I am very lucky.
Well with reflection comes dreaming of the future. As the first crisp signs of fall materials I look forward to the start of another hunting season. In my mind a band of caribou break the first crust of snow on a wind swept ridge. Another season is calling me back home.