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Whether their goal is the next town or the next mountain, they purposefully distract their focus from the present. Progress becomes the primary goal.
It is up to you to define yourself, not your background. Ashley followed Tyler into a life of trapping with some hesitancy. They underwent a lot of trial and error to learn what they were doing out on the refuge. But most of the people who are truly passionate about what they do are not born into it — they find it on their own and teach themselves. Turn off your phone. Today, though, people can browse Facebook in their tents. With all of the new technology, we have gained a lot of conveniences while hiking.
Certainly there is additional safety in communication. But what, if anything, have we lost? You just kind of become more in tune with the world around you. Waking with the sun, sleeping with the darkness, we become part of the experience. But if we refuse to sacrifice our technology, are we taking part in nature or only observing it?
Tyler and Ashley have certainly received their fair share of criticism — or just plain confusion — from people in Fairbanks and back home. We escaped from the wilderness, we conquered it — why would you want to live that way without modern conveniences?
Certainly the natural beauty is part of it, but the implicit challenge is also crucial.
What living in the great outdoors gives them, the Seldens explain, is a sense of purpose and belonging. It is a daily challenge that life did not foist upon them, but that they chose themselves.
And I have to admit, I feel a lot better after completing a trail than I do after finishing a Netflix series. The woods are a great way to test your relationship Part of the charm of the Seldens is how close they are to each other.
Their concern for each other is evident on the show, even though they seem uncomfortable being emotional for an audience.
When Tyler goes to look for the bear that has been taking their food, Ashley calmly watches him walk away, stoic in front of the camera. The Seldens are simultaneously independent and incredibly devoted to each other, but they keep a great sense of humor about it, even when it comes to the great divider among trail couples: The isolation and challenges implicit in the wilderness will test the strength of a relationship.
Not to mention that watching your spouse leave to confront a bear really puts petty grievances into perspective. The camaraderie and community you get from fellow backpackers is crucial. Other trappers from the refuge also appearing on the show. Despite the hundred-mile buffer between them and their closest neighbors, the Seldens are not hermits.
A few times a year, they get together for dinner and a bonfire with other trappers in the area. We were desperate to get out of there but we were broke too. At that point in our life we were just flailing around looking for a way out.
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We moved to Hope after that and that was basically a disaster. We ended up working for some really weird people.
CC You must have some pretty good stories from that. TS Oh, jeez, man. We thought we better get out of there.
CC There was no hope in Hope. We loaded up our possessions and our dog in our truck and worked with developmentally disabled people.
In the course of that time we met some people who really steered us onto the course of our current lifestyle. But our experiences the first three years we had in Alaska were probably pretty typical of a lot of people who had that vision when they move up here. We were committed to try and make it work.
It took longer than we would have liked and it was a lot of work, and it still is hard work to live this way. We were optimistic it was going to work out and we met these folks in Fairbanks who got us a foot in the door and our luck changed.
"The Last Alaskans" Hit the Ground Hunting (TV Episode ) - Frequently Asked Questions - IMDb
The Seldens looking out over the landscape. CC I understand that. But I really enjoy living that way and we experience some lows every once in a while.
Has it been a positive experience for you and Ashley? I would give these guys credit for trying to not impose their way of thinking. They understand well enough to try and give an honest depiction on television. So far our experience has been positive. CC There was a moment from this season that I saw and affected me. You harvested a huge moose, and while a big part of what our magazine does is appeal to Lower 48ers who want to hunt big game on an adventure, for you that moose will feed your family.
How satisfying is that? TS It makes you feel good. It changes the experiences to be able to eat well out there. You can get by without a moose because we live in pretty rich country out there. We can snare rabbits and catch beavers. Do you and Ashley allow for anything like that? We bring stuff in from town, though not in ridiculous quantities.
We raise a huge garden in town and dehydrate vegetables, so we end up bringing a ton of vegetables. A lot of people who get back in town after a winter in the bush just want to eat a salad.
8 Things Alaskan Trappers can teach you before you Thru-Hike – Interview with ‘The Last Alaskans’
We never feel that way because we eat a lot of vegetables and eat really healthy. Is it a helpless feeling? It just plods ahead like a juggernaut to anything that gets in its way. CC Does the finality of the government eventually taking the cabin back make you emotional and think about that often? And why would they want to do that. Why would we want to destroy that link with our past? For more on The Last Alaskans, go to discovery.
New episodes can be seen on Tuesdays on the Discovery Channel.